How to Install a Split Rail Fence

how to install a split rail fence

Split rail fences offer a bucolic design element to your property. These fences are steeped in American tradition and therefore lend a sense of comfort and nostalgia to your home. They are a natural selection for rustic and suburban settings. The split rail fence is also an excellent DIY project, which with some careful planning, just about any homeowner can tackle.

If you are going to install a split rail fence, you’ll definitely need some wood fence supplies.

Atlantic Fence has an exceptional customer service department on hand to assist in every step of your project. Here are some helpful tips how to install a split rail fence, put together by our team.

Before Your Start

  • Talk with any of your neighbors whose property abuts yours. While you do not need their permission, they may be interested in a collaborative effort.
  • Check your deed for any easement clauses granting right-of-way to another property owner or utility companies as this may dictate the design or location of the fence.
  • Apply for any building permits as directed by municipal codes

Measure and Design

Designing the layout of your fence will in part be determined by the precut fencing rails. Pre-measuring and doing a little math will help you to figure out how to make your fence fit your landscape. This is where our team can offer advice:

  • Adjust the gate openings to be wider or smaller.
  • Try cutting the rails themselves.
  • Always aim to measure twice, and cut once!
  • Consider any slope changes and follow the angle.

Plan and Layout

  1. To achieve a visual plan, stake out the entire fence line including corners and gates.
  2. Tie string from post to post location to define the lines where the line posts will be placed.
  3. Take the measurements for the length of your rails and stake out the line post locations. Remember to take the overlap of the rails into consideration.
  4. Be sure to measure on center from each corner post, from center to center of each post instead of from the edges, along with the layout lines.
  5. Remember to take any gates or openings into account. Doing so will allow for flexibility in design even though you’re working with pre-cut rails.

Installing the Split Rail Fence

  1. Using a post hole digger or power auger, dig all of the holes 10 to 12 inches wide and 6 inches deeper than needed. Install the end posts first to establish a reference to make sure the line posts are aligned.
  2. Use a post level to check that each post is plumb.
  3. Set the line post, insert rails and check the length and fit as you go to make any adjustments as needed.
  4. Fill in the holes and tamp the soil firmly to set the posts further securing them.

Finally, after you have completed all steps, check once again that the fence is plumb using the level. Then, make any necessary adjustments. If you are interested in learning more about how to install a split rail fence, contact the team at Atlantic Fence.