Can You Use Severe Weather Fence Pickets for Edging?

When it comes to creating borders or edging for your outdoor spaces, the choice of materials plays a crucial role in achieving both functionality and aesthetic appeal. While many people opt for traditional edging options such as bricks or stones, others explore alternative possibilities that offer both durability and a unique touch to their landscapes. One potential option that may not immediately come to mind is using severe weather fence pickets for edging. Severe weather fence pickets, typically designed for constructing fences, can be repurposed in various creative ways, including serving as an unconventional yet effective edging solution for your garden beds, pathways, or other outdoor areas. By considering the potential benefits and drawbacks, as well as exploring different installation techniques and design possibilities, you can determine if using severe weather fence pickets for edging is the right choice for your landscaping projects.

Will Treated Fence Pickets Shrink?

Will treated fence pickets shrink? Unless the wood has been damaged, aged, or utilised, it will shrink. Cedar, the most frequently used wood for fences, is susceptible to shrinkage of up to 1/2 inch following installation. This occurs as the wood dries out and adjusts to the environment.

Severe weather fence pickets are typically treated to resist rot, decay, and insect infestation. This treatment process involves applying chemicals to the wood, which can help prevent shrinkage by stabilizing the moisture content. However, this shrinkage should be minimal and shouldn’t affect the overall integrity of the fence.

Their natural wood grain and texture can enhance the overall appeal of your garden or yard. Additionally, the versatility of these pickets allows you to create various edging designs, whether you prefer a traditional or modern style. With proper maintenance, such as staining or sealing, you can also prolong the lifespan and appearance of the pickets.

However, it’s important to consider the specific needs and requirements of your project, as well as the level of maintenance and upkeep involved. Additionally, consulting with a professional or knowledgeable expert can provide valuable insights and advice for a successful installation.

A properly installed wooden fence typically requires a gap of approximately two inches between the ground and the bottom of the fence. This ensures that only the essential components, such as posts and rot boards, come into contact with the ground, while the wood pickets are kept elevated. Let’s explore the reasons behind this important guideline and the potential issues that can arise if fence pickets touch the ground.

Can Fence Pickets Touch the Ground?

When it comes to fence pickets, it’s generally advisable to keep them off the ground. In fact, most experts recommend mounting a wooden fence at least two inches above the ground. This practice helps to prevent any potential moisture damage to the wood and prolong the life of your fence.

However, it’s important to note that different types of wood may have varying resistance to moisture and rot. Some species, such as cedar or redwood, are naturally more resistant to decay and can withstand ground contact better than others. If you choose to use these types of wood, you might have a bit more flexibility in allowing the pickets to come into contact with the ground.

Ground contact can introduce moisture and promote rot, eventually compromising the structural integrity of your fence.

If you’re considering using severe weather fence pickets for edging, it’s important to check the manufacturers specifications and guidelines for ground contact. They may provide explicit instructions on how the pickets should be installed and whether or not they’re suitable for ground contact.

By keeping them elevated, you can help protect your fence from potential damage and extend it’s lifespan. Always consult the manufacturers recommendations and follow proper installation practices for the specific type of pickets you’re using.

Benefits of Elevating Fence Pickets Off the Ground

There are several benefits to elevating fence pickets off the ground. Firstly, by keeping the pickets off the ground, you can prevent them from rotting or decaying due to contact with moisture in the soil. This helps to extend the lifespan of your fence and reduce the need for frequent repairs or replacements.

Additionally, elevating the pickets can improve the overall appearance of your fence. It creates a cleaner, more polished look by preventing the pickets from leaning or sinking into the ground over time.

Elevating fence pickets off the ground also helps to mitigate the risk of damage caused by severe weather conditions. By avoiding direct contact with the ground, the pickets are less likely to be affected by flooding or heavy rainfall, which can weaken the stability of the fence.

Overall, elevating fence pickets off the ground is a smart choice that offers numerous benefits, including increased durability, improved aesthetics, and better protection against severe weather conditions.

Source: Am I building my fence wrong?

When installing a fence, it’s crucial to determine the appropriate height for the fence pickets above the ground. After setting the first post, the next step is to place a post in the hole and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the bottom of the pickets will be adequately elevated, typically around 2-5 inches above the ground. Afterward, adding approximately 8 inches of soil to the hole will further secure the post in place.

How High Off the Ground Should a Fence Picket Be?

When it comes to setting up a fence picket, one of the important considerations is how high it should be off the ground. However, a general guideline is to have the bottom of the pickets set 2-5 inches above the ground.

To start the process, it’s advisable to set the first post in the designated area. Depending on the design and style of the fence, this can be a wooden or metal post. It should be securely anchored into the ground to provide stability to the fence. The height of the first post will determine the overall height of the pickets.

Once the first post is in place, the subsequent posts can be set in the holes. It’s important to ensure that the posts are aligned properly and are of equal height. This will help in achieving a consistent and attractive appearance.

After the posts are in position, it’s recommended to add about 8 inches of soil to each hole. This will provide additional support and help prevent the posts from shifting over time. The soil should be compacted firmly to ensure stability.

Finally, the pickets can be attached to the posts, ensuring that the bottom of the pickets is set at the desired height above the ground. This can be done using nails or screws, depending on personal preference and the type of material used for the pickets. The pickets should be spaced evenly and securely fastened to maintain the integrity of the fence.

Maintenance and Care Tips for Keeping the Bottom of Fence Pickets From Rotting or Deteriorating Over Time.

  • Regularly inspect the bottom of fence pickets for signs of rot or deterioration.
  • Ensure proper drainage around the fence to prevent water accumulation.
  • Apply a waterproof sealant or paint to the bottom of the pickets to provide a protective barrier against moisture.
  • Trim vegetation or plants growing too close to the bottom of the fence to prevent moisture retention.
  • Avoid placing sprinklers or irrigation systems directly next to the fence to minimize water exposure.
  • Consider installing a gravel or concrete border along the base of the fence to enhance drainage.

However, if you want your fence to have maximum durability and longevity, it’s recommended to use treated wood for fence rails. Treated wood has undergone a chemical process that enhances it’s resistance to rot, decay, and pest infestation, prolonging it’s lifespan significantly. While untreated cedar can withstand certain environmental conditions, using treated wood for fence rails ensures a sturdier and longer-lasting fence overall.

Can I Use Untreated Wood for Fence Rails?

However, if you want your fence to last for many years without rotting or deteriorating, it’s highly recommended to use treated wood for the fence rails. Treated wood is specially treated to resist damage from moisture, insects, and decay, making it much more durable and long-lasting compared to untreated wood.

Untreated wood, on the other hand, is more susceptible to rot and insect damage, especially when in contact with the ground. While cedar is naturally resistant to some extent, it’s still not as durable as treated wood. If you use untreated wood for fence rails, there’s a higher likelihood that you may need to replace or repair them more frequently.

The treatment process involves pressure-treating the wood with chemicals that help prevent rot, decay, and insect infestations. This extra protection ensures that your fence will remain sturdy and intact for a longer period of time.

Investing in the use of treated wood will ultimately save you time, money, and the hassle of constant repairs or replacements down the line.

Benefits of Using Cedar Wood for Fence Rails

Using cedar wood for fence rails brings several benefits. Cedar is known for it’s natural durability, making it resistant to rot, decay, and insect damage. This means that your fence rails made from cedar wood will have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance compared to other types of wood.

Cedar also has a unique beauty and natural grain that adds a touch of elegance to any outdoor space. It can be left untreated for a rustic look or easily stained or painted to match your desired aesthetic.

Furthermore, cedar wood has natural oils and chemicals that act as natural preservatives, helping to keep the wood strong and resilient against weather elements like rain, sun exposure, and extreme temperatures.

Overall, using cedar wood for fence rails ensures a durable, beautiful, and long-lasting fencing solution.

When it comes to fence construction, the choice of fence posts plays a crucial role in determining the durability and longevity of the structure. Softwood posts, if not treated, may only withstand the test of time for a mere 6 months. However, the solution lies in opting for pressure treated posts, which are specifically designed for long-lasting performance. While some builders might go the extra mile by wrapping the base of the post in sheet copper or galvanized steel, it’s widely agreed upon that treated posts are the reliable choice for ensuring the longevity of your fence.

Do Fence Posts Need to Be Pressure Treated?

When it comes to fence posts, the question of whether or not they need to be pressure treated is a crucial one. Softwood posts that aren’t treated can quickly succumb to the elements and decay. In fact, without adequate protection, these posts may only last up to six months. It’s clear that using treated posts is essential to ensure their longevity and durability.

Pressure treated posts undergo a process where chemicals are forced deep into the wood fibers, creating a barrier against insects, rot, and decay. This treatment significantly extends the lifespan of the posts, making them ideal for withstanding the test of time and weather conditions. The added protection provided by pressure treatment can save you the hassle and expense of having to replace your posts prematurely.

Although using pressure treated posts is generally sufficient, some fence builders may go the extra mile to increase the woods resistance to moisture and decay. One common method is wrapping the base of the post in sheet copper or galvanized steel. This added layer acts as an additional barrier, protecting the wood from ground moisture and further extending it’s life.

However, the consensus among professionals is that using pressure treated posts alone will do the trick. With proper installation and maintenance, these posts can provide reliable support for your fence for many years. Regularly inspecting and treating any exposed areas will help ensure the continued protection and longevity of your fence posts.

How to Properly Install Pressure Treated Fence Posts

  • Start by measuring and marking the desired locations for your fence posts.
  • Dig holes that are at least one-third the length of your fence posts.
  • Make sure the diameter of the holes is about three times the width of the fence posts.
  • Remove any rocks or debris from the holes.
  • Place a few inches of gravel or crushed stone at the bottom of each hole for drainage.
  • Insert the pressure-treated fence posts into the holes, making sure they’re level and plumb.
  • Fill the holes with concrete mix, adding water as directed on the packaging.
  • Use a trowel or shovel to compact the concrete and remove any air pockets.
  • Double-check the alignment and make any necessary adjustments before the concrete sets.
  • Allow the concrete to dry and cure for at least 24 to 48 hours.
  • Attach your fence panels or rails to the pressure-treated fence posts according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Secure the panels or rails using screws or nails, ensuring a sturdy and secure fence.
  • Apply a wood preservative or sealant to the pressure-treated fence posts to protect them from moisture and weather damage.
  • Regularly inspect your fence posts for signs of wear or damage, and make any necessary repairs or replacements.


However, their size and shape may not lend themselves well to creating a clean and precise edge. Additionally, the pressure treatment used in these pickets could contain chemicals that may leach into the surrounding soil.

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