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Fence palings being used to mark a wooden rail

Overview

Installing pickets to a fence is easy to do yourself. Follow our step-by-step guide and we'll show you how to position the pickets evenly along the fence line. You'll also learn how to attach them to the rails. 

Steps

1Cut the tops off your posts

Mark the height of the pickets on your posts. Transfer the pencil line around the post. Use your saw to cut the tops off your posts. 

A Bunnings team member cutting the top from an upright fence post using a circular saw

2Measure the pickets and mark the rails

Find the centre of your rail and measure the width of the picket. Mark the edges of the first picket so that the centre point of the rail sits in the middle of the picket. 

A wooden rail being marked with a pencil and tape measure

3Transfer your measurements to the rails

Now, take your level and transfer your measurements to the top and bottom rails. This will ensure that your pickets are straight when you attach them.

A Bunnings team member using a spirit level to check the angle of an upright fencepost

4Attach the pickets

Nail the first picket in place. Repeat steps 2 and 3 to position and fix the remaining pickets, working your way out from the centre. To work out the space between each picket, we have used the thickness of a picket. 

Fence palings being secured to a wooden rail using a nail gun

5Even spacing at the ends

When you get to the end of the run leave the last three or four pickets off so you can adjust your gaps to fit the remaining space. Lay the pickets against the rail and adjust spacing to suit. Mark the edges of each picket on the rail. Again, use your level to transfer these marks to the top and bottom rail. Then nail them in place. 

A wooden rail being marked with a pencil and tape measure

6Screw the pickets in place

Once all your pickets are in place, fix them to the rails with outdoor screws. Pre-drill each picket so that it doesn't split. Use a counter sink fitting to make sure you drill the same depth on each picket. Run a string line along the front of the pickets to make sure your screws are in a straight line.
A hole being drilled into a fence paling

More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.