Every industry has their own lingo, but it can often leave customers confused and too intimidated to ask questions. We don’t want our customers to ever feel that way, so we took our most commonly used fence-related terms and have defined them for you in this glossary!

Aluminum Fences – Lightweight and durable, aluminum fences are the industry standard. Aluminum fencing materials are frequently used as opposed to iron because of their rust-resistant characteristics. Aluminum also has the ability to adapt with the sloping of your backyard landscape.

Grade Change/Slope with Aluminum Fencing:

Racking – Often called a racked fence, this fencing variation is manufactured with a strong angle to ensure the rails run parallel to the ground and the pickets are angled straight. With racking, the gap between the rail and ground remains the same to keep a consistent and uniform look. If you have a steep grade however, racking might not be the best approach. The limit for racking is a 18 degree grade.

steep grade racking

Stepping – With a stepped fence, the pickets and rails are perpendicular to one another and are attached to the post as you move up the slope (like a set of stairs). As the slope increases, so does the gap between the sections. Stepping is not an ideal fencing solution if you have small animals.

stepping fence

Good Neighbor Fence – Built identically on both sides, a Good Neighbor Fence is designed with the intention to negate disagreements with your neighbors on who gets the “good” or “bad” side of the fence. With a Good Neighbor Fence, the face of the pickets alternate sides with each fencing section.

Shadowbox – A semi-private fence, a shadowbox fence gets its name from the shadow that is cast from the intricate design of the fence. As opposed to a traditional fence, with a shadowbox fence, the pickets are placed both in front of and behind a fence line. One of the most popular benefits of shadowbox fences is they are very aesthetically pleasing and they look the same on both sides of the fence.

Western Red Cedar – Our preferred wood fence material due to its ability to maintain consistent moisture in high-humidity areas and heavy rains. Another benefit of the Western Red Cedar is that it contains natural oils which repel wood burrowing insects. This type of wood is also pitch and resin-free, so it’s ideal for holding a variety of stains.

Wood Warping – Wood expands and shrinks depending on the moisture levels of the air in the surrounding area. Drier wood absorbs water and expands until it reaches the same moisture levels as the atmosphere; the same thing happens with wet wood, it shrinks until it’s moisture levels are balanced with the surrounding atmosphere. This balance is known as Equilibrium Moisture Content, or EMC, and it plays a large part in wood warping.

All wood reaches its EMC eventually, but it can take months, so if the wood in your fence hasn’t reached its EMC yet, you could face wood warping. There are several factors that play into how long wood will take to reach it’s EMC: size, grain, coating, and the temperature.

  • Size: The thicker the wood plank, the longer it takes to lose or absorb moisture.
  • Grain: End grain of wood takes a shorter amount of time to reach EMC than other grain variations.
  • Coating: Wood that’s been painted or sealed takes longer to reach EMC.
  • Temperature: Warmer climates promote EMC.

Wood warping occurs when wood experiences EMC at different times, or different moisture levels at different times. Other reasons your wood fence may warp are incorrect installation, the incorrect use of nails, and the quality of wood used.

We hope this glossary has been helpful in your understanding of fencing industry lingo, but of course, if there’s ever a phrase or term you hear us use, and you aren’t familiar with it, please don’t hesitate to ask us about it. Our number one goal is to ensure you feel comfortable with our team of experts working working on your backyard project.

Now that you’re fully educated and ready for your project, call Austex Fence & Deck and let us help you transform your backyard!

fence post parts

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