Styles & Maintenance for Split & Post Rail Fences

Split rail or post and rail fences are simple to construct, easy to maintain, and can provide a classic look.
Monday, 29 August 2016

When you own a farm or ranch, or even a casual property where a property line needs to be defined, a fence is useful in keeping animals in or out and identifying what land is yours.  A split rail or post and rail fence are both great options that are simple to construct, easy to maintain, and can provide a classic look. Any type of rail fence is ideal to build on hard or rocky ground, so both fences can be placed interchangeably by a Colorado Springs fence company.

Split Rail Fence Installation in Colorado Springs

Split rail fences have been used for many centuries and are attractive yet functional. The rustic-style fence can be used for decoration or for its practicality, which makes it popular for properties in rural areas, farms, ranches and for properties in rural areas.

Split rail fences are often used to define a residential property line from the road and often are used strictly for ornamental purposes rather than the confinement of animals. Because split rail fences have large openings they don’t work well to keep smaller animals, like dogs, in or out of the property, but they work well for large animals like horses or livestock.

Part of the appeal of a split rail fence is how simple they are to put together. They can be built without hardware of any kind, including nails. Using wood to create a split rail fence is the most cost-effective option.

Split Rail Styles & Sizing

Several types of wood can be used for these fences including pine, spruce and hemlock but cedar is preferred for many reasons. Aside from the fact that the wood weathers to a beautiful color of gray, it also is the most water-resistant, it is resistant to bug infestations and will last the longest amount of time. It also requires the least maintenance.

Wood is the most popular choice for split rail fences, however vinyl split rail fencing is also available. It comes in different colors which is appealing if the fence is near a home or being used for decoration. The only downside to vinyl is that it typically is priced to cost about twice as much for supplies compared to a wood split rail fence. Installation tends to be the same price as wood.

For a standard split rail fence, the posts rise three to four feet out of the ground and the rails are about 10 feet long. The number of rails that go along the post is dependent upon how high the post rises.

A standard three-foot post will usually use two rails and a four-foot post will use three. These are the standard measurements for posts and rails, however, post sizes can come in any size and rail sizes may be shorter, however the shorter railing you choose, the more posts you’ll need and the more money you’ll spend on supplies.

Low Maintenance

The best part of using a split rail fence in Colorado Springs is that they require little to no maintenance. In instances where thousands of feet of fencing are used, such as on a ranch or farm, this makes care for the fence much less of a financial or physical burden.

Staining or painting the wood can also help to prolong the wood’s life because although it needs no regular maintenance, wood does eventually rot or can be damaged from the weather. If you’re using a wood other than cedar, painting the wood is a good plan.

If you choose a vinyl split rail fence, you can power wash the fence a couple of times a year if you’d like, but again, no maintenance is needed for the fence.

Post and Rail fences

Post and rail fences are similar to split rail fences, although split rail fencing tends to be more natural. This type of fencing is made up of posts that have slots cut or formed into them. Traditional wood is the most common for a post and rail fence, but vinyl is available as well.

Post and rail fences are commonly found in rural areas and are used to house livestock, for ranch or pasture fencing, to show property boundaries and sometimes for decorative purposes. Because it has such a variety of uses, it also comes in a larger amount of styles. For pasture fencing or to contain animals, simple and functional materials are chosen, however decorative post and rail fences often have ornate posts and caps on them.

For post and rail fences, the rails are usually strung between posts that are anywhere from four to 12 feet from each other. The fences range from a height of four to six feet depending on fence regulations in your area, and there are usually two to five rails between each post.

Related article: Colorado Springs Fence Height Regulations

Post Rail Style & Sizing

The wood used to make a post and rail fence varies quite a bit because of the difference in cost. For inexpensive yet durable fences, spruce is picked. Again, cedar is the most durable choice, however, it can cost more money.

Pine is sometimes used because it is less costly, however, it is also less durable so the money may still spend when it comes to maintenance. If using a wooden post and rail fence, if you can afford to, it is best to use treated wood as it is more durable.

Another thing to consider is whether you’ll buy rails and posts separately or buy pre-assembled panels. If you plan to buy the fencing in pieces, you’ll need to purchase corner posts, line posts and rails, which is helpful in customizing the fence if it is for decorative purposes. Installing the fence yourself isn’t especially difficult, but it is rigorous and time-consuming, which is why it’s a good idea to consider hiring a company to install the fence.

Maintenance for Post Rail Fencing

The maintenance of a post and rail fence requires more work than a split rail fence. If the fence is bare wood, it will require stain or paint every few years to keep it looking attractive. Depending on the climate of the area, the fence may need to be painted more or less often based on how you think it looks.

Cedar and pressure-treated woods do not require maintenance. Similar to the split rail fencing, vinyl is mostly maintenance- free aside from a power wash a couple of times a year. Although these fences don’t need much care, it’s always a good idea to continue to check the fences for any damage, especially if they’re used to contain animals.

Whether it’s split rail or post and rail, both of these are a great option for attractive, low maintenance and cost-effective fencing. If you’re torn between which fence would be the best for you, or if you want to install the fence yourself or hire someone else, a Colorado Springs fence company should be able to educate you and help you to make the proper decision.