If this is not your preferred local store, please change store now.
You can nail almost anything to a standard post-and-rail skeleton. The most popular fence types are picket, alternate board, solid board, louver, and basket weave.
Building any of these fences is a three step process: install the posts, install the rails, and screw on the fencing. Intervals of 4, 6, and 8 feet between posts are typical. Choose one (such as picket) and adjust the spacing of the fence boards so they are spaced evenly. Factor in the type of fence style, too, when you put up rails. The rails of some styles, such as louvered fencing, must be installed with the wide face up. Others such as the basket weave require the addition of a cap rail. Fences 48 inches or taller require a middle rail.
Traditional pickets are 4 feet high. They are typically 1×3s with the space between them equal to the width of each picket. Rails to hold the pickets are installed at the top and bottom; taller pickets need the support of a middle rail. No matter what size or shape you install, space pickets at intervals less than 4 inches or greater than 6 inches to minimize the risk of children or pets getting stuck between them.
Check local codes for restrictions on fence height. Install the fence at least 2 inches above the ground to prevent the boards from rotting.
Lay out and cut the pickets.
Many pickets are flattop, but you can also lay out your own custom shapes. For customized pickets, make a pattern, trace the shape onto the boards, and cut outside curves with a saber saw. Cut inside curves with a drill bit, if possible. (See inset.) To speed up the job, clamp a couple of boards together and cut them at the same time.
Make a spacer.
Make a spacer that is as wide as the space between pickets. Screw a 2×2 block to the top of the spacer so when you hang it from the rail, the top of the spacer is level with the top of the pickets. Screw a small torpedo level to the spacer to tell if the pickets are plumb.
Attach the first picket.
Butt the spacer against the post and butt a picket against the spacer. Use a level to make sure the picket is plumb, then screw the picket to the rails with #8 2-inch deck screws.
Attach the remaining pickets.
Butt the spacer against the first picket, position the next picket against it, and screw the picket to the rails. Continue installing pickets the same way, checking for plumb as you go and making any necessary adjustments.
Log In to Access Your Projects
Visit and like us
Stay connected with us
Follow our Pinterest boards
for projects and inspiration
Get the latest products,
project tips and ideas
View DIY project and
Can't find what you're
looking for? Please call us: