Fencing Terms Explained

If you're about to put up a fence for the first time, it's easy to become confused by the technical phrases used. Our handy glossary of the most popular terms will help you to identity which components you'll need to see your project through. 

ARRIS RAILS are a wooden beam with a triangular cross-section, used in the construction of feather edge or closeboard fencing. They run horizontally along the back of a fence panel, making them strong and long-lasting.

BATTEN A squared timber used to hold something in place. This is used to frame a fencing panel, providing a stronger structure.

CANT RAIL is an alternative to the arris rail, used in the construction of closeboard fencing. They don't offer the same strength as an arris rail, but can be nailed directly into the supporting fence posts as well as individual boards.

CAPPING is a decorative rail which sits on top of a fence panel to prevent water soaking into it.

CENTRE STUMP is a piece of timber used with closeboard and palisade fencing. Mounted under the lower rail to prevent the fence sagging and improve lateral strength.

CHESTNUT A hardwood used most commonly for paling and post and rail fencing.

CLEATS are used for fixing gravel boards to posts. These are either timber or metal, depending on the type of fencing being constructed.

CLOSEBOARD FENCING Sturdy timber fencing constructed from individual boards. There are no gaps in closeboard fencing, making it the perfect choice for privacy in a rear garden.

COUNTER RAILS are used at the rear of Closeboard Fencing to provide support for the capping.

DIP TREATED timber has been dipped into a treatment tank to give it both basic protection and colour.

FEATHER EDGE Also listed as 'Featheredge', these timber boards are used in the construction of closeboard fencing. Available either individually or in ready-made panels of various widths, for ease of use.

FENCE POSTS are an essential component of any fencing. Available in wood or concrete. Wooden posts are suitable for timber fences, and may be treated for protection against moisture in the soil. Concrete posts are available for timber and chain-link fencing.

FINIAL refers to a decorative addition to the post cap. A finial can be fixed directly on to the cap, and is used to add a little extra elegance or interest to your finished fence.

FIXING CLIPS Metal brackets used to attach a fence panel to a timber post.

FSC® The Forest Stewardship Council®, is an international, non-government, non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting responsible management of the world's forests. AVS is FSC certified (FSC C120422).

GALVANISED This type of metal has a protective coating of zinc applied to prevent rusting.

GAUGE is the measurement of wire diameter. The finer the wire, the higher the gauge.

GRAVEL BOARDS are used underneath wooden fences to protect the timber from rot and damp, and to assist with ground level problems. They also give a fence a sturdy and professionally-built appearance. Available in treated wood or concrete for extra protection.

KILN-TRIED TIMBER is timber that has been dried in a kiln to a lower-moisture content for stability and higher treatment penetration.

LAP PANELS are constructed from thin sheets of timber attached horizontally with a slight overlap for strength – hence the name. While not as sturdy or durable as closeboard, lap panel fencing is a cost-effective choice.

LATTICE is decorative fencing made up of wooden slats set at 45 degrees to form a mesh pattern. Ideal for screening off areas in the garden and for climbing plants.

MACHINE ROUND/HALF ROUNDED is timber that's been machined to be either half-round or full-round. These are a uniform size from top to bottom.

MESH FENCING is made up of vertical and horizontal wires. In chainlink fencing, the mesh forms a diamond pattern.

MORTICE is a hole or recess cut into timber and concrete fence posts which is designed to hold a rail such as an arris rail.

OVERLAP FENCING This is another name used for Lap Panel fencing.

PALISADE is a traditional style of fencing also known as picket fencing. The tops can be pointed, round or flat top.

PEELED & TREATED These posts are either half round or full round and more rustic and unfinished in appearance. 

POST AND RAIL is a rustic style of fencing made from rough split wood, usually consisting of two or three horizontal rails. Also known as Sussex Fencing.

POST CAP is a wooden or metal addition to give your fence a finished look.

POST MIX is ready-made concrete used to fix and set your fence posts into the ground. A fencing essential - this is also referred to as 'postmix' or 'postcrete'.

POST SPIKES  are a quick and easy way to secure fence posts into the ground. Metal post spikes are screwed straight into the ground, and the posts slot straight into the top – saving you from setting your posts in concrete.

PRESSURE-TREATED timber has treatment applied under vacuum pressure to create a barrier against rot and insect infestation.

RAIL A horizontal piece of timber to which fence boards are attached.

TRELLIS is a lighter form of fencing with the framework made up of timber battens in a square pattern. Ideal for climbing plants.

Other fencing terms you’re not sure about? Speak to AVS for free professional advice – we’re always happy to give you the benefit of more than twenty five years’ worth of experience.

Help & Advice
If you need more information about fencing and landscaping, please get in touch with your local branch. Our specialists will be happy to offer help and advice and can provide you with a free quote for supply of all relevant materials. Find more in-depth information here on choosing the right fence

29th Sep 2019