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Fence Rails: 2 or 3?



 
 
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  #1  
Old May 11th 09, 10:18 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 497
Default Fence Rails: 2 or 3?

I notice the old fences around all have 2 horizontal rails for the
boards to attach to. I've also noticed that new specs often show 3
rails, without comment. I'm thinking that this might be due to the
fence boards being much thinner than they used to be.

I like to place my rails long side vertical, so I don't get excessive
sagging over time. But I'm thinking that unless I expect the fence to
see hard wind loads or other severe attacks (kicks, etc.), 2 rails
might be enough.

Any thoughts?
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  #2  
Old May 11th 09, 10:25 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 4,770
Default Fence Rails: 2 or 3?

On May 11, 5:18*pm, mike wrote:
I notice the old fences around all have 2 horizontal rails for the
boards to attach to. *I've also noticed that new specs often show 3
rails, without comment. *I'm thinking that this might be due to the
fence boards being much thinner than they used to be.

I like to place my rails long side vertical, so I don't get excessive
sagging over time. *But I'm thinking that unless I expect the fence to
see hard wind loads or other severe attacks (kicks, etc.), 2 rails
might be enough.

Any thoughts?


Depends on the size of the rails, the size and weight of the fence
boards/pickets, the distance between the posts, the material of the
rails (vinyl over steel or aluminum, wood species), the aesethetic
sense of the the owner/installer, etc.

R
  #3  
Old May 11th 09, 10:32 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 65
Default Fence Rails: 2 or 3?


"mike" wrote in message
...
I notice the old fences around all have 2 horizontal rails for the
boards to attach to. I've also noticed that new specs often show 3
rails, without comment. I'm thinking that this might be due to the
fence boards being much thinner than they used to be.

I like to place my rails long side vertical, so I don't get excessive
sagging over time. But I'm thinking that unless I expect the fence to
see hard wind loads or other severe attacks (kicks, etc.), 2 rails
might be enough.

Any thoughts?


I've seen fences installed after Huricane Ike hit down here in Houston and
the ones with two rails have boards warping and bowing like crazy. I mean
every board is going a different direction. This is in more than just one
neighborhood so it looks like the quality of fence board in general has gone
down. 3 rails (top middle and bottom) may help with this warping issue.



  #4  
Old May 11th 09, 10:37 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 497
Default Fence Rails: 2 or 3?

On May 11, 2:25*pm, RicodJour wrote:
On May 11, 5:18*pm, mike wrote:

I notice the old fences around all have 2 horizontal rails for the
boards to attach to. *I've also noticed that new specs often show 3
rails, without comment. *I'm thinking that this might be due to the
fence boards being much thinner than they used to be.


I like to place my rails long side vertical, so I don't get excessive
sagging over time. *But I'm thinking that unless I expect the fence to
see hard wind loads or other severe attacks (kicks, etc.), 2 rails
might be enough.


Any thoughts?


Depends on the size of the rails, the size and weight of the fence
boards/pickets, the distance between the posts, the material of the
rails (vinyl over steel or aluminum, wood species), the aesethetic
sense of the the owner/installer, etc.

R


2x4's. PT Wood. 8 ft post spacing.
  #5  
Old May 11th 09, 11:02 PM posted to alt.home.repair
mm
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Posts: 7,843
Default Fence Rails: 2 or 3?

On Mon, 11 May 2009 14:18:01 -0700 (PDT), mike
wrote:

I notice the old fences around all have 2 horizontal rails for the
boards to attach to. I've also noticed that new specs often show 3
rails, without comment. I'm thinking that this might be due to the
fence boards being much thinner than they used to be.


Are they much thinner, or are you only thinking that? Serious
quesiton. I can read your sentence either way.

I like to place my rails long side vertical, so I don't get excessive
sagging over time. But I'm thinking that unless I expect the fence to
see hard wind loads or other severe attacks (kicks, etc.), 2 rails
might be enough.

Any thoughts?


What kind of fence? Rail? Picket? etc.?

You plan to use 2x4's for rails? When were rails ever that thick?
Even if they once were, thinner rails are used all over the place and
they are fine.

With a rail fence, three rails will each bear as much load as the two
rails would, and the load on the posts will be 50% higher.

Mook, you don't say what kind of fence you're talking about either,
but if two rails warp, so will three.

I have a picket fence, and plenty of the rails are 30 years old. They
look just like they did 26 year, but a bit greyer. Most are 8 feet
long. They are shaped like a parenthesis on one side and straight on
the other. They sell new, treated ones at Home Depot that are close
enough that even I don't notice that they don't match. The new ones
are treated.
  #6  
Old May 11th 09, 11:14 PM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 4,770
Default Fence Rails: 2 or 3?

On May 11, 6:02*pm, mm wrote:

With a rail fence, three rails will each bear as much load as the two
rails would,


Each? Not quite - each rail in a three rail fence will only have to
take 2/3 of the load on a rail in a two rail fence.

and the load on the posts will be 50% higher.


The only difference is the weight of the rail and the additional
fasteners. Not sure where you get the load difference numbers.

R

  #7  
Old May 12th 09, 12:57 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 5,158
Default Fence Rails: 2 or 3?

RicodJour wrote:
On May 11, 6:02 pm, mm wrote:
With a rail fence, three rails will each bear as much load as the two
rails would,


Each? Not quite - each rail in a three rail fence will only have to
take 2/3 of the load on a rail in a two rail fence.

and the load on the posts will be 50% higher.


The only difference is the weight of the rail and the additional
fasteners. Not sure where you get the load difference numbers.

R


Nobody else said it, so I will- how tall is the damn fence? For a short
fence, 2 rails may be fine, but for a traditional 6-foot privacy fence,
we always used 3. We also usually used alternating-side pickets with an
overlap, so some wind could still blow through. Plus, that way, no
arguments about who gets the pretty side.

--
aem sends...
  #8  
Old May 12th 09, 02:41 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 11,580
Default Fence Rails: 2 or 3?

mook johnson wrote:
"mike" wrote in message
...
I notice the old fences around all have 2 horizontal rails for the
boards to attach to. I've also noticed that new specs often show 3
rails, without comment. I'm thinking that this might be due to the
fence boards being much thinner than they used to be.

I like to place my rails long side vertical, so I don't get excessive
sagging over time. But I'm thinking that unless I expect the fence
to see hard wind loads or other severe attacks (kicks, etc.), 2 rails
might be enough.

Any thoughts?


I've seen fences installed after Huricane Ike hit down here in
Houston and the ones with two rails have boards warping and bowing
like crazy. I mean every board is going a different direction. This
is in more than just one neighborhood so it looks like the quality of
fence board in general has gone down. 3 rails (top middle and
bottom) may help with this warping issue.


My house backs up to a 200' wide power-line easement. The houses on my side
of the easement all had their fences installed with metal posts. No a single
fence came down during hurricane Yikes! The houses on the other side of the
easement all had wooden posts. Almost all of them were flattened.


  #9  
Old May 12th 09, 03:15 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 232
Default Fence Rails: 2 or 3?

On Mon 11 May 2009 06:41:56p, HeyBub told us...

mook johnson wrote:
"mike" wrote in message
.
..
I notice the old fences around all have 2 horizontal rails for the
boards to attach to. I've also noticed that new specs often show 3
rails, without comment. I'm thinking that this might be due to the
fence boards being much thinner than they used to be.

I like to place my rails long side vertical, so I don't get excessive
sagging over time. But I'm thinking that unless I expect the fence
to see hard wind loads or other severe attacks (kicks, etc.), 2 rails
might be enough.

Any thoughts?


I've seen fences installed after Huricane Ike hit down here in
Houston and the ones with two rails have boards warping and bowing
like crazy. I mean every board is going a different direction. This
is in more than just one neighborhood so it looks like the quality of
fence board in general has gone down. 3 rails (top middle and bottom)
may help with this warping issue.


My house backs up to a 200' wide power-line easement. The houses on my
side of the easement all had their fences installed with metal posts. No
a single fence came down during hurricane Yikes! The houses on the other
side of the easement all had wooden posts. Almost all of them were
flattened.


Are you referring to the vertical posts in the ground? What size were the
wooden posts? In our area they usually use pressure-treated 4x4's. In
almost all cases, whether pre-bilt panels or built in place, there are
three rails supporting the vertical pickets.

--
Wayne Boatwright
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Never work before breakfast; if you have to work before breakfast,
eat your breakfast first. ~Josh Billings



  #10  
Old May 12th 09, 03:25 AM posted to alt.home.repair
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Posts: 11,580
Default Fence Rails: 2 or 3?

Wayne Boatwright wrote:

My house backs up to a 200' wide power-line easement. The houses on
my side of the easement all had their fences installed with metal
posts. No a single fence came down during hurricane Yikes! The
houses on the other side of the easement all had wooden posts.
Almost all of them were flattened.


Are you referring to the vertical posts in the ground? What size
were the wooden posts? In our area they usually use pressure-treated
4x4's. In almost all cases, whether pre-bilt panels or built in
place, there are three rails supporting the vertical pickets.


Yeah, the vertical posts. Best I could tell (from 200' away) they were the
standard 4x4s. The laterals were 2x4s, but it didn't make any difference.
The wind snapped the vertical posts at ground level.

Truth be told, I suspect the posts were more than fifteen years old, mostly
rotted, and required only a puff to tumble them over. Of course galvanized
metal posts set in concrete don't rot, so...


 




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