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New Fence – What’s Missing?

New Fence – What’s Missing?
December 12, 2013 SNH Editorial Team

Looks good BUT do you see what’s missing from this new fence? This part is NOT optional! The contractor considered this job “done” …. Not so fast! Answer: What’s missing is one of the most important pieces in any fence – The top rail.

Why is the top rail, sometimes called a cap so important?  It prevents water from pouring into the end grain. The photo shows a little snow on top of the fence.  Melting snow / water now drips into the end grain of the wooden slats and swells them.  Freeze-melt cycles will really “work” the wood – As Is this fence is not going to last!

As this homeowner already did, most homeowners will stain or paint new fencing in the hope of preserving them longer – more money spent on a fence that is doomed to rot rapidly without a top rail!  No matter what stains you use on the inside and outside of the fence, the most important element is to stop water from getting into the open end-grain at the top or vertical slats.

Homeowners:  Home improvement  is always in the details – Know what matters! It Pays for you to know! Do not just rely on your installers!

top of fence detail