What Part of the Fence Is the Picket? Seeking Answers to a Common Question

"What Part of the Fence Is the Picket? Seeking Answers to a Common Question" delves into the intricate details of fences, particularly focusing on the enigmatic pickets. Picket boards, with their distinctive pointy tops, have earned their name due to their resemblance to the pointed stakes historically utilized by infantry to deter cavalry. These pickets, typically found in fences, add both functionality and aesthetics to the overall structure. While the top rail and bottom rail of the fence are securely attached to the fence posts, which may possess a picket look or a decorative post cap, deciphering the exact location of the picket within the vast expanse of the fence remains a common query. This article seeks to demystify this conundrum by unraveling the secrets behind the pickets' placement within the fence, shedding light on their essential role in both practical and ornamental aspects of fencing.

What Is a Picket Gate?

A picket gate is a specific type of gate that’s commonly used in conjunction with picket fences. Picket fences are known for their distinctive appearance, characterized by evenly spaced vertical boards, called pickets, that are attached to horizontal rails. These fences are often used for decorative purposes to mark domestic boundaries, adding a charming and traditional touch to a property.

It features the same evenly spaced vertical pickets that are found on the fence, giving it a cohesive and uniform look. This makes the picket gate a perfect complement to the picket fence, providing a seamless entrance and exit point.

Picket gates serve various practical purposes as well. They offer a means of accessing a property while maintaining the security and privacy provided by the picket fence.

In addition to their functionality, picket gates also contribute to the overall aesthetic appeal of a property. They’re available in a range of designs, allowing homeowners to select a style that best suits their personal taste and the architectural style of their home.

When it comes to fences, pickets are the fundamental components that define it’s style and appearance. Depending on the desired look, various types of pickets are utilized in different fence designs. The type of wood used for the pickets plays a crucial role in determining the overall durability, aesthetics, and maintenance requirements of the fence. So, let’s explore the various names and characteristics of fence wood to help you make an informed decision for your next fencing project.

What Do You Call the Fence Wood?

When it comes to the terminology used for fence wood, the main portion of the fence is typically referred to as pickets. These pickets are crucial in defining the overall appearance, functionality, and style of the fence.

For example, in a traditional picket fence, the pickets are usually evenly spaced, with each one featuring a pointed or rounded top. This style is often associated with a charming and nostalgic aesthetic, evoking a sense of coziness and warmth.

In terms of material, pickets can be made from various types of wood, each with it’s own characteristics and advantages. Common options include cedar, pine, cypress, redwood, and spruce. Cedar, for instance, is known for it’s natural resistance to rot and insects, making it a popular choice for outdoor structures. Pine, on the other hand, is widely available and more budget-friendly, making it a practical choice for many homeowners.

Metal pickets, such as aluminum or wrought iron, can add a touch of elegance and strength to the fence.

Overall, the choice of fence wood, or pickets, depends on various factors such as the desired style, maintenance requirements, budget, and personal preferences.

Different Styles of Picket Fences and Their Characteristics

Picket fences come in a variety of styles, each with their own unique characteristics. The most common style is the traditional picket fence, which features evenly spaced vertical slats or pickets that are attached to horizontal rails. This style is known for it’s classic, timeless look and is often made from wood.

Another popular style is the scalloped picket fence, which has pickets that are cut into a decorative scalloped or curved pattern at the top. This style adds a touch of elegance and visual interest to the fence.

The pointed picket fence is another option, where each picket has a pointed top. This style is often used to create a more rustic or country charm.

For those looking for a more modern or contemporary look, there are options like the square or flat top picket fences. These styles feature pickets with a straight, squared-off top, offering a sleek and clean appearance.

Regardless of the style, picket fences are typically used to define property boundaries, add charm to a home or garden, and provide some level of security. The choice of style ultimately depends on personal preference and the desired aesthetic for the space.

In Old Europe, pickets were originally used as military gear to protect archers from cavalry, consisting of sharpened logs. However, in the New World, colonists adopted picket fences as a means to mark their land and potentially defend it. These fences were made of rough pickets, either left bare or painted white. This unique historical background sheds light on the origins of the famous “picket fence” we see today.

Why Is It a Picket Fence?

What Part of the Fence Is the Picket? Seeking Answers to a Common Question

The term “picket fence” is deeply rooted in history and originates from Old Europe. In those times, pickets, derived from the French word “piquet,” referred to pointed sticks or boards that were utilized as military gear. These logs were sharpened to serve as a protective barrier, shielding archers from charging cavalry. It’s fascinating to understand how this practical and defensive tool eventually evolved into the iconic picket fence we envision today.

With the arrival of New World colonists, the need to demarcate and safeguard their land became paramount. To fulfill this purpose, colonists began installing fences made from rough-hewn pickets. These pickets were typically left untreated, showcasing their natural state, or painted white to ensure visibility. The rough nature of these pickets not only served as a deterrent but also added character to the fences that adorned the landscapes of early colonies.

The picket fence, in essence, represented more than just a physical barrier. It symbolized the pioneers determination to establish their territory and preserve their way of life. These fences offered a sense of security and enabled settlers to create a distinct separation between their land and the wilderness that surrounded them. The picket fence embodied the spirit of early America and became an enduring symbol of it’s self-reliance and steadfastness.

Over time, the picket fence became a popular choice among homeowners, both for it’s practicality and it’s quaint aesthetic appeal. It offered an ideal solution for enclosing yards, providing a secure enclosure while still allowing an open view of the surrounding landscape. The vertical pickets, spaced apart and topped with a decorative shape known as the “picket,” added a touch of elegance to the fences overall design.

Pickets: Pickets are the vertical boards that are attached to the rails of a fence. They can be made of wood, vinyl, or other materials and provide privacy and security. Panels: Panels refer to the pre-assembled sections of a fence that contain both the rails and pickets. They’re often used for convenience and ease of installation. Understanding the different components of a fence is crucial when planning, building, or repairing a fence.

What Is Each Piece of a Fence Called?

These rails provide stability and support for the pickets or panels. They’re usually made of wood or metal, depending on the type of fence. Rails are typically attached to the fence posts using brackets or screws.

Panels: Panels are pre-assembled sections of fence that consist of multiple pickets attached to two or more rails. Panels are typically installed by attaching them to fence posts using brackets or screws.

Gate: A gate is a movable barrier that allows access to and from a fenced area. It’s an important part of a fence as it provides a point of entry and exit. Gates can be single or double, swinging or sliding. They’re typically made to match the style of the rest of the fence and may have additional features such as locks or latches for added security.

Post: Posts are the vertical supports that hold up the entire fence. Posts are driven into the ground or set in concrete to ensure stability. They’re typically taller and thicker than the pickets or panels to provide proper support.

Cap: A cap is a decorative piece that’s placed on top of each post. It adds a finishing touch to the fence and helps protect the post from the elements. Caps can be made of wood, metal, or vinyl and come in a variety of styles and designs. They’re typically attached using adhesive or screws.

Understanding the different parts of a fence is essential for planning, designing, and constructing a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing barrier. Whether youre looking to install a new fence or repair an existing one, knowing the names and functions of each piece will help you make informed decisions and achieve the desired result.

Different Types of Fence Materials (e.g. Wood, Metal, Vinyl)

There are various types of fence materials used, including wood, metal, and vinyl. Wood fences offer a classic and natural look, and they can be customized and painted to match any aesthetic. Metal fences, such as wrought iron or aluminum, are known for their durability and strength, providing security and longevity. Vinyl fences, on the other hand, are low-maintenance and resistant to rot, fading, and warping. Each type has it’s own advantages and can be chosen based on factors like aesthetic preferences, desired level of maintenance, and intended purpose.

Now let’s explore the fascinating origins of pickets in fencing. These vertical boards, known as pickets, are securely attached to the rails with even spacing in between. Evoking the image of pointed stakes once employed by infantry against cavalry, these pickets have evolved into an iconic feature of modern fences.

What Is a Picket in a Fence?

A picket in a fence refers to the vertical boards that are evenly spaced and affixed to the horizontal rails. These pickets are known for their pointed tops, which resemble the stakes historically used by infantry to repel cavalry. The term “picket” originates from this military association and has since become a common terminology in the world of fencing.

Each picket serves a crucial role in a fences structure and aesthetic appeal. When installed, the pickets create a visually pleasing pattern, providing privacy and security while adding charm to the overall design. These boards are usually made of wood, but other materials like vinyl or metal can also be used, depending on individual preferences and desired durability.

The spacing between pickets is an important consideration when designing a fence. The distance between pickets affects the level of privacy offered by the fence. For instance, closely spaced pickets provide more privacy, while wider gaps allow for greater visibility through the fence.

Pickets can be installed in different styles, such as straight, scalloped, or dog-eared, to create more visual interest. Moreover, pickets are typically taller than the horizontal rails to provide additional security and prevent unauthorized access to the property.

These pickets play a crucial role in providing privacy, security, and enhancing the overall appearance of the fence.

Different Types of Wood for Pickets and Their Durability

When it comes to picket fences, the type of wood used can greatly impact their durability. Some common choices for picket fence wood include cedar, pine, and redwood.

Cedar is a popular option due to it’s natural resistance to rot, decay, and insect damage. It can withstand various weather conditions and can last for many years with proper maintenance.

Pine, on the other hand, is a more affordable choice but requires regular staining or painting to enhance it’s durability. It’s still a reasonably durable wood, but it’s more susceptible to rot and insect damage compared to cedar.

Redwood is often considered the most durable option for picket fences. It’s naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insects. Redwood fences can last for several decades with minimal maintenance, making them a long-term investment.

Ultimately, the durability of a picket fence depends on the type of wood chosen and how well it’s maintained. Regular maintenance, such as cleaning, staining, or painting, can help prolong the lifespan of any type of wood used for pickets.

Kickboards, also known as baseboards or bottom rails, play a crucial role in the stability and longevity of fences. These pressure-treated wooden panels are specifically designed to have direct contact with the ground, providing necessary protection against rot and pests. By incorporating kickboards into your fence structure, you can ensure enhanced durability and extended lifespan for the entire fencing system.

What Is the Bottom Part of a Fence Called?

The bottom part of a fence is commonly referred to as the kickboard. Typically made of pressure-treated wood, the kickboard is placed directly on the ground and provides protection against rot and pests.

Kickboards are essential for maintaining the overall longevity of a fence. By being in direct contact with the ground, they act as a barrier, preventing moisture, insects, and other harmful elements from infiltrating the rest of the fence. The pressure treatment process enhances the woods durability, making it more resistant to decay and insect damage. This added protection ensures that your fence remains structurally sound for years to come.

When installing a fence, it’s crucial to give proper attention to the kickboard. Ensuring steady contact with the ground and properly aligning it with the fence panels is vital for a well-built and durable fence.

So, in answer to the question of what’s the bottom part of a fence called, the picket is actually just one component of the entire fence structure.

Importance of Kickboards in Fence Construction

Kickboards are an essential component in fence construction, serving both functional and aesthetic purposes. Typically placed at the bottom of a fence, kickboards help to reinforce the fence structure and prevent damage caused by soil erosion, moisture, and pests. They act as a barrier, keeping the lower portion of the fence safe from potential wear and tear. Additionally, kickboards can enhance the overall appearance of the fence, adding a polished and finished look. Whether you’re building a wooden, vinyl, or metal fence, incorporating kickboards is a wise investment that ensures durability and longevity.


In conclusion, the picket of a fence refers to the vertical boards with pointy tops that are placed between the top and bottom rail. Understanding the different components of a fence and their respective roles is crucial in answering the common question of what part of the fence is the picket. By examining the historical origins of pickets and their resemblance to pointed stakes used in warfare, we can further appreciate the significance of these vertical boards as essential elements in the construction and design of fences.

Scroll to Top