Split rail fences are a beautiful and popular option in residential wood fencing. Split rail fences are also called log, zig-zag, or snake fencing and are installed in a number of different ways by wood fence services. They look attractive around many types of architecture and serve many purposes because of its style, strength, and versatility. Split rail fencing has had a long and recognized history, originating more than a century and a half ago.
No matter which way you choose to have split rail installed by fence services, it can add a touch of colonial tradition to your property.
The History of Split Rail Fencing
Split rail fencing is native to America and originated during or before colonial times. It served many purposes back in its heyday. It was a popular method used in forested areas due to the availability of wood as well as in locations where other types of fences were difficult to install. Because it was freestanding and self-supporting, this made split rail useful where the ground was too rocky to install posts for boards or wire.
Since it was not permanently set into the ground and required no hardware, strong and slow-rotting split rail could easily be moved from location to location as necessary. It has been used to designate boundaries, contain grazing animals, and even as a source of firewood, especially during the Civil War. It still retains its rustic appeal today when installed by wood fence services, whether using the traditional method or the more common, mortised method.
Split Rails Made Just Like Yesterday
The rails required to make split rail fencing today are made using nearly the same technique as was used more than a century ago. Logs were cut to lengths of 10 to 12 feet, then split down the middle using axes. Each half log was then split again to make quarter splits and yet again to make eighth splits. This continued on depending on the diameter of the log.
The rails were once split until they were the desired size and stacked in a zigzag fashion to build a fence. Today, the process is basically the same except the rails are split using machines. Fence services receive uniformly split rails that fit together nicely to construct a traditional or modern fence.
Two Types of Split Rail Installations
Depending on the purpose of your fence and whether it will be purely decorative or you wish to have a strong upright fence to enclose a yard or contain livestock, wood fence services can install split rail in two basic ways as follows:
- Traditional Zigzag Split Rail - Traditional split rail fences look very attractive around colonial homes as well as other home styles. This type of fence is freestanding, without the need to install posts into the ground. The traditional method is easy and quick to install and is done by simply layering rails so their ends overlap; however, it requires considerably more rails than the mortised post method.
- Mortised Split Rail - The other way that fence services install split rail on a property is by putting 3 or 4-hole posts into the ground, then sliding the ends of the rails through the holes. With deep cemented posts and coated wire mesh added behind it, this technique offers a tall boundary that is safe for kids and pets, including horses and other large animals.
No matter how you decide to have split rail fences installed by wood fence services, it is a great choice for residential fencing. It is strong, lasts longer than most other fences, and will look rustic around your home, yard, or even your stable. Consider timeless split rail installed by skilled fence services and add a bit of history to your property!