Pros And Cons Of Split Rail Fence

Split rail fences have their ups and downs. They are affordable and easy to install. They also blend well with natural settings. But they’re not ideal for security or keeping small animals in.

It’s a classic choice with a rich history. But is it the right fit for your needs today? Read on to find out.

The Pros of Split Rail Fencing

Split rail fencing has long been cherished for its rustic charm and timeless appeal. Its simple design and natural materials offer several advantages that make it an attractive choice for many homeowners. 

In this section, we’ll explore the pros of split rail fencing, shedding light on why it continues to be a popular option for property boundaries and landscaping projects.

AdvantagesBrief Description
Cost-EffectiveAffordable materials and simple installation, reducing costs.
Easy InstallationDIY-friendly design and lightweight components for simplicity.
Appealing AestheticsRustic and traditional look, adding charm to the property.
Ideal for Large AreasPractical for extensive fencing due to longer spans between posts.
Low MaintenanceTreated wood for durability, requiring minimal upkeep.
Split rail fence
Split rail fence


For budget-conscious homeowners, split rail fencing offers a cost-effective solution. The cost of installing a split rail fence varies based on several factors.

On average, it costs about $3,500. Here’s a breakdown:

Cost Range

  • Low: $1,000
  • High: $7,500

Average Cost

  • $3,500 – $4250

Main Cost Factors

  1. Length: Longer = more expensive.
  2. Height: Taller = 25% more cost.
  3. Material: Cedar is cheaper, and aluminum is pricier.

Extra Costs

  • Gates: $200 each
  • Old Fence Removal: $3-$5 per foot

DIY vs Pro

  • DIY: $1,600 for 150 feet
  • Pro: $2,800 for 150 feet 

Ease of Installation

Installing a split rail fence is a DIY enthusiast’s dream. The design’s simplicity and the wooden components’ manageable weight make it an accessible project for many homeowners. With some essential tools and a little guidance, you can set up a split rail fence on your property without needing professional help.

Gorgeous Appeal

One of the foremost advantages of split rail fencing is its aesthetic appeal. This type of fence adds a touch of rustic beauty to any property. The characteristic horizontal rails and rugged wooden posts exude a sense of simplicity and tradition. It’s a perfect choice for those who want to create a classic, timeless look for their homes.

Ideal for Large Areas

If you have a large property or need to enclose a vast area, split rail fencing is an excellent choice. Its design allows for longer spans between posts, making it a practical option for properties that require extensive fencing. This makes it a preferred choice for agricultural applications, ranches, and rural landscapes.

Low Maintenance

Once your split rail fence is in place, you can enjoy the benefits of low maintenance. Wooden rails and posts are often treated to withstand the elements, making them durable and resistant to decay. Occasional inspections and simple repairs are usually all that’s required to keep your split rail fence in excellent condition for years to come.

The Cons of Split Rail Fencing

While split rail fencing has its fair share of advantages, it’s important to acknowledge its limitations and potential drawbacks. 

In this section, we’ll explore the cons of split rail fencing to provide a comprehensive view of this fencing option.

DrawbacksBrief Description
Limited SecurityOpen design, not suitable for high containment or privacy.
Not for Heavy TrafficVulnerable to damage in areas with frequent contact or foot traffic.

Limited Security

One of the primary drawbacks of split rail fencing is its limited ability to provide security and privacy. Due to its open design with widely spaced rails, it doesn’t offer the same level of containment and privacy as other fencing types. It’s not ideal for keeping small pets or deterring wildlife.

Not Suitable for High Traffic Areas

In areas with heavy foot traffic or frequent contact with the fence, split rail fencing may not be the best choice. The wooden rails are susceptible to damage from impacts, leaning, or climbing. 

For locations where the fence may endure a significant amount of wear and tear, alternative fencing options with greater durability might be more suitable.

Split rail fence
3 rail split rail fence

Considerations Before Installation

Before installing split rail fencing on your property, there are several important considerations to remember. These factors can impact the success and longevity of your fence, so it’s crucial to plan carefully.

  • Property Boundaries: Ensure you know your property lines and adhere to local regulations and homeowner association rules.
  • Budget: Determine your budget for materials and labor. Split rail fencing can vary in cost depending on the type of wood used.
  • Purpose: Clarify the purpose of your fence. Is it for aesthetic reasons, to contain pets, or to provide security? Your objective will influence the type of split rail fencing you choose.
  • Maintenance: Consider the level of maintenance you’re willing to undertake. While split rail fences are generally low maintenance, they may require occasional repairs.
  • Local Climate: Evaluate the impact of your local climate. Extreme weather conditions may affect the longevity of your fence, so choose materials accordingly.
  • Installation Expertise: Determine whether you have the necessary skills to install the fence or hire a professional.
  • Permits: Check if you need any permits or approvals from local authorities before installation.

Taking these factors into account will help you make informed decisions when planning and installing your split rail fence.

Final Words

Split rail fences offer a mix of pros and cons. They are affordable, easy to install, and blend with natural settings. Yet, they lack security and aren’t ideal for small pets. 

Before diving into this fencing option, consider factors like property boundaries, budget, and local climate. Making an informed choice will ensure you’re happy with your fence for years.