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How Wide Should Fence Gaps Be?

It’s time to install your brand-new fence, but you’re not sure how big your gaps should be. How wide is too wide, and what do you do about privacy fences? Rather than guessing just to run into issues after you’ve already put in so much work, check out this small guide by your trusted experts at American Wholesale Fenceworks Tavares!

The Standard Rule For Picket Fences

Whether you’re installing a traditional wood fence or a more model vinyl fence, the picket style is often seen with gaps in-between each plank. But if you’ve never put in a brand-new fence before, you might not know the proper way to determine what gap size is appropriate for your yard. A good rule of thumb is to make your gaps no larger than 4 inches for the sake of children and pet safety, but there’s also much more to consider.

Calculating Your Picket Amount

The first thing you should do before picking up the shovel or hammer is to measure the span of your future fence and where your posts will go. After writing down the length of the space between your posts, it will be easier to determine how many pickets you’ll need in order to fill in that space effectively. Add the picket width with your desired gap width and divide the post spacing by that total. Whatever number you end up with, round up or down.

3.5 (picket width) + 2 (desired gap) = 5.5

96 (post space) / 5.5 = 17.45

17.45 = 17

Calculating Your Precise Gap Space

Now, you can multiply the number of pickets by the picket width and subtract that number from the post spacing in order to find your gap allowance. Take that number and divide it by the number of pickets plus one. You will end up with a more precise gap size that is closest to your desired gap size. If math isn’t your forte, you can always call your local fence experts for assistance!

17 (picket count) X 3.5 (picket width) = 59.5

96 (post space) – 59.5 = 36.5

36.5 / 18 (picket count plus one) = 2.02”

Believe It or Not, Privacy Fences Have Gaps

If you’re planning on installing a privacy fence, you might think that you don’t need to worry about gap sizes since you’ll just place the planks side-by-side with no room in-between. However, there’s a big problem with placing the planks so close together with no room to breathe. Both wood and vinyl fences are prone to expanding and contracting when exposed to moisture or intense heat. When there is no gap to compensate for these changes, the planks are forced into each other to the point of warping, cracking, or breaking. This is why it’s always advised to leave a tiny gap of around 3/8 or 1/4 inches even for privacy fences where you don’t want anyone peeking. But with gaps this small, outsiders still won’t be able to get a clear view anyway.

Choose Us For Your Fencing Materials!

At American Wholesale Fenceworks Tavares, we have a wide selection of materials and styles for making the fence of your dreams. Pressure-treated wood, high-quality vinyl, we have it all! We even have the means to custom-make your posts and pickets if you had something more specific in mind. Just call (888) 610-1756 to ask about our inventory and receive a material estimate!