If you’re interested in building a fence or having a fence built by a contractor, you’re probably considering many components of your project. You want to use materials and construction techniques to ensure your fence is sturdy and will last for a long time.
One part of the fence that should not be overlooked is the fasteners. Fasteners, or the parts that hold different elements of the fence together, are crucial to the durability and lifespan of your fence. There are many types from which to choose, each with it’s pros and cons. Many contractors will use different fastener types interchangeably, depending on the fence style, and may even use a combination of multiple fastener types.
In this blog, we will break down the basics of different fastener materials to help you understand what’s best for the construction of your fence.
Nails are widely used in fence construction. Construction nails are long and can be useful in instances where strength is required. Such instances can include attaching kickboards that are “toenailed” (inserted diagonally) to the posts or attaching pickets to rails on Nail-Up fences.
Staples are convenient due to their small size and they are less invasive than nails or screws. They’re ideal for attaching smaller pieces like trims and are most commonly used on pickets for Picture Frame fences.
Screws are ideal for things like gate hinges and latches, attaching pickets to a metal frame and attaching rails to metal posts. Screws can make future fence repairs easier as they allow for easier removal. However, the installation can be more labor intensive, as installers will need to use an impact driver. Screws are also more expensive than staples or nails.
All three of these faster types can be installed relatively quickly. If you use power tools, a nail gun will typically be faster than installing screws using an impact driver. Sometimes pre-drilling is necessary for screws, as they can be more likely to cause the wood to split. It’s important to remember that fence installation is more complex than you may originally think, so it’s always recommended to use a licensed fence contractor. Without the correct tools and experience, your fence could end up unstable, looking unsightly, and you could even sustain an injury during installation.
A well built wood fence of any style can add major curb appeal and transform the appearance of your property. The fasteners that are used can impact the overall look of your fence, especially if not installed properly. For example, poor installation can mean that some screws are sunk so deep into the wood they are not visible, while others stick out from the surface. With nails, it’s important to select the right style of nail for the type of wood your fence is made from.
Regardless the type of fastener used, it’s always important that fastener is galvanized (covered in zinc) so that it’s protected from rust. Fasteners that aren’t galvanized may react with the natural tannins in the wood leaving dark streak marks on the fence.
Ultimately, there isn’t one fastener type that reigns supreme. They each come with benefits and potential setbacks. A reputable contractor will be familiar with each type and will know what type or combination is best for your fence. Contractors should also offer some length of warranty for your new fence regardless of the type or technique used. What’s most important is that the work as a whole is part of your project’s warranty coverage.
Regardless of what style fence you choose, a great fence is a wise investment!