Shopping for a new fence can get a little confusing. It’s not something people do that often and it can sometimes seem like lumber has a language all its own.To keep your head from spinning, we wanted to share some basics of lumber dimensions and some of the terms you might hear.   

Understanding the Dimensions of Lumber

What confuses a lot of people is the difference between nominal and actual size. When wood dimensions are listed, they’re normally in the “nominal” measurement. That’s the size of the piece of wood before it’s smoothed down on all four sides.

For example, everyone has heard of a 2×4. However, it is actually 1-1/2″ × 3-1/2″ after it has been planed smooth (surfaced) on every side. So it’s nominal size is 2×4 and it’s actual size is 1-1/2″ × 3-1/2″.  

Nominal sizeActual size
1×22×43/4x 1 1/21 1/2x 3 1/2
2×61 1/2x 5 1/2
4×43 1/2x 3 1/2

What Exactly Is a Fence Picket?

A picket is simply one of the evenly-spaced vertical fence boards that go between the posts and attach to the horizontal rails. Since there are many more pickets required than posts or rails, they are typically one of the biggest factors when it comes to variations in fence quotes or estimates.

How Thick Is a Fence Picket?

At Discount Fence USA, we use (actual size) ¾” and ⅝” thick wood for our fence boards (pickets). These boards are often referred to as 1x6x6’s and are the standard size used by almost every fence company. So when you’re getting an estimate it’s important to note which width is being used to calculate it. Because even though a company is saying 1x6x6 they could be referring to either width. Also keep in mind that a ¾” picket will have a smoother appearance and hold up better to the elements, therefore it will be more expensive.

Note: The last 6 in a 1x6x6 measurement refers to the length of the board and simply means 6 feet.

Why Paying Less Won’t Always Save You Money

When it comes to your new fence, the width of the picket makes a big difference in how much you pay upfront, but also how long the fence lasts. So don’t go with one company simply because their price is lower without first making sure they’ll be using the same actual lumber dimensions.

Along with the two different widths for the “same” fence board, another difference is in the type of wood used. Many companies will quote you a low price, but use cheap wood. You might be paying less now but it will cost you more later when you have to replace the fence years sooner.

At Discount Fence USA, we only use high-quality Western Red Cedar #2. We also offer a 1-year warranty on construction and materials, along with a low-price “apples to apples” guarantee. If you have any more questions about fence construction or would like to have us come by for a free on-site consultation, click our contact page or give us a call at (512)961-4705.

About The Company

Discount Fence USA is veteran-owned and Austin’s number one choice for fence repair and fence installation. Discount Fence USA was founded because of a need for better fence building in the greater Austin area. Their unique process ensures that Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, and residents all over Central Texas get superior quality fences that are built faster and at a better price.  

Customer service comes first at Discount Fence USA. They are responsive, quick, and finish most jobs within 48 hours. Founded by a military veteran, discipline, work ethic, and dedication to excellence set them apart from the competition. As part of their commitment to serve, 3% of all net profits go to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Discount Fence USA is located at 9125 TX-71 D, Austin, TX 78735 and their phone number is 512-334-9546. Contact them today to set up a FREE consultation. Your brand new or good-as-new fence will be complete in as little as 48 hours.