Building a split rail fence costs $15 to $35 per linear foot with standard-grade cedar or pine. A split rail fence built with steel costs $25 to $45 per linear foot installed and is the most expensive. Most split rail fences have 3 rails and are 3' to 6' tall.
A split rail fence, also known as "post and rail" fencing, typically has 2 to 4 rows of horizontal, rough-cut wooden rails. Although wooden split rail fences are most common, this ranch-style design also comes in vinyl, composite, steel, and aluminum.
A split rail fence is the top choice for large farms or properties with large livestock.
The lifespan of a split rail fence depends on which material it's made of:
Make a wooden or aluminum split rail fence last longer by resealing it every 1 to 2 years to stop it from rotting, rusting, or cracking.
A split rail fence should be 3' to 4' tall for front yards and up to 8' tall in the backyard according to local building codes. For containing livestock on a ranch, a fence height of 4' to 5' tall is sufficient. Check local building codes for fence height regulations.
Consider 8' tall fencing if deer are jumping onto your property.
Most split rail fences are wooden since wood is budget-friendly and durable when sealed. However, a wooden fence needs resealing every 1 to 2 years. Vinyl is another good option that withstands the weather conditions with little maintenance. Metal rails last the longest but are the most expensive.
Split rail fences do need concrete post anchors if the ground is frequently wet from heavy rainfall and if you live in a high-wind area. A concrete base is the strongest reinforcement for fence posts to stop them from falling over.
However, setting posts in into compacted holes with gravel is sufficient when building a fence on well-draining ground in moderate climates.
Split rail fences do require a lot of maintenance when made of wood that needs resealing every 1 to 2 years to prevent rotting. Vinyl and metal fences require much less maintenance overall. Install coated and high-quality materials to increase the longevity of a fence.
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