How to Build a Picket Fence

Picket Fence

A white picket fence signals a typical middle-class family living in a friendly neighborhood. They keep pets and children safe while keeping intruders out, boosting curb appeal and property value.

Many factors can increase the cost of Picket Fence Summerville. For example, if the terrain is difficult to work on or trees or plants are in the way, the contractor will have to charge more.


When building a picket fence, the first step is to dig holes for the posts. This can be done manually or using a power auger. Then, the posts are set and concrete is poured to hold them in place. After the concrete has cured, the next step is to install the horizontal rails. After the rails are installed, the pickets can be added to complete the fence. It is important that the pickets are spaced evenly so that children and pets cannot fit their heads between them.

Before starting the process, make sure you have a lot of extra wood for the project. This will save you a lot of time and money in the long run. It is also a good idea to have a helper. It is easier to build a fence when two people are working together. Also, make sure you have the correct tools for the job. For example, if you are using a nail gun, be sure to have extra nails on hand to keep the job moving along quickly.

Start by cutting the pickets to size. Then, mark the post locations with spray paint or stakes. The stakes should be a minimum of 6 inches above the ground. Also, it is a good idea to find out where your property line ends before starting construction to avoid misunderstandings with neighbors. You can do this by visiting the local assessor’s office or hiring a land surveyor near you.

Use a post-hole digger to dig the holes for the posts. After that, pour in some fast-drying concrete and tamp it down. This will ensure that the posts are strong and sturdy. Next, add gravel to the bottom of each hole and tamp it down as well. Finally, spread soil around the base of each post to create a finished look.

To install the rails, start at one end of the fence and work your way to the other side. Make sure that the good side of each rail is facing toward the public or neighbor’s yard. This will comply with some strict building codes.


A picket fence is a simple, classic way to mark and protect property boundaries. It can be made from a variety of materials and designs to add a decorative touch to any home or yard. The most common material is wood, but other options include vinyl, steel, aluminum, or painted or galvanized metal slats. Pickets can be spaced to create a modern look, or they can be closer together for traditional charm. Regardless of the type of material, a picket fence is durable and low-maintenance.

The pickets of a wooden fence can be stained or painted. Staining preserves the color of the wood and helps protect it from moisture, mold, mildew, and other environmental factors. The most durable wood is cedar, but other varieties like pine also hold up well against the elements. If the fence is not stained, it should be treated with an exterior paint to protect the surface from moisture and rot.

A modern option for picket fencing is vinyl, which offers a similar appearance to wood and costs less to install. Vinyl fences are molded to look like wood and are available in white, tan, or black. Some are pretreated to withstand harsh weather conditions and UV damage.

If you prefer the look of a picket fence without its maintenance requirements, consider slatted fencing. These fences have slats that are close enough together to allow some visibility, but not so close that small pets or children can get their heads between them. They can be made from wood, composite planks, vinyl, or steel and come in a wide variety of colors to suit any style of home.

Home centers and lumberyards offer prefabricated wood and powder-coated metal fence panels that are easy to assemble. The pieces slide into mortises in the posts, and they snap into place. When shopping for a kit, make sure to check whether you need a permit and check for underground utilities before digging. You may need to call a utility company to mark the location of your lines before you begin. Alternatively, you can build your own custom picket fence using wood or prefabricated metal and plastic sections.


A picket fence offers a simple and attractive way to mark property lines, delineate boundaries, or enhance the appearance of gardens and yards. It also offers good visibility and can keep children and pets out of troublesome areas. However, it’s important to consider what function you want your fence to perform before choosing the design.

You can find prefabricated wood and powder-coated metal panels at home centers and lumberyards. These are usually 3 to 4 feet high and 8 feet long and come in versions of the traditional picket shape. These are less expensive than post-and-rail fences, but they don’t provide the same level of privacy as other fencing materials.

Once you’ve chosen a design and layout for your fence, it’s time to start construction. Before digging, call your local utility and cable companies to have them mark the locations of any underground services. Also, make sure to check whether you need a permit for your project. You should plan to complete the installation during the season’s nicest days.

To ensure your fence is installed in a straight line, drive a stake into the ground where you’ll be installing the first fence post. Then, stretch a length of string over the stakes, keeping it 6 inches above the ground. Repeat the process for each fence post location.

After the fence posts are set, you can start to install the pickets. Place the first picket at the end of one of the end posts, and then nail it in place with a six penny nail. After you’ve installed all the pickets in the fence, check their position with a level to ensure they are all straight and aligned.

Once the pickets are in place, you can add the rails to complete the fence. Choose a color for the rails that complements your house and landscape. You may need to paint or stain your fence, depending on the type of wood you use and any HOA requirements in your neighborhood. It’s best to work with a professional to make sure the job is done correctly and in accordance with all applicable laws.


The cost of a picket fence can vary widely depending on its size, materials and finishing touches. A simple picket fence that doesn’t add gates and is not stained or painted will generally run $10-$25 per foot. This includes the cost of a wooden or vinyl fence, stakes, string and marking paint to establish the fence path, and any other accessories such as gate posts and gate handles. Staining or painting the fence will also increase its overall cost.

A picket fence is a popular fencing option because it provides both a decorative and functional boundary for the property. Its quaint design can enhance the curb appeal of a home with its timeless charm, especially when it’s painted white. It can also be used to keep children and pets safe by setting a practical limit for play areas and to protect flowers or vegetables from rabbits, squirrels, deer and other predators.

The height of the picket fence will have a significant impact on its final cost, with a 4’ tall fence being the most affordable option. A 6’ tall fence will be significantly more expensive. The length of the picket fence will also be a factor, as a longer fence will require more materials and labor.

Another important consideration when choosing a picket fence is its color. While white has traditionally been the most common choice, it’s now possible to choose a wide variety of colors for a picket fence. Some homeowners opt for a natural or unpainted finish that will weather to a gray, while others choose to stain their fences to match the facade of their homes or other architectural features in their neighborhood.

Other popular choices for picking a fence include vinyl and cedar. These materials are often less expensive than wood and offer the added benefit of being low-maintenance. In addition to being able to withstand the elements, these materials are not prone to rot and will therefore last much longer than wood. The price difference for these materials can be recouped over the life of the fence due to their reduced maintenance costs.