board on board fence

Board on Board Fence: How to Install Your Own Wood Fence


Are you looking to enhance the privacy and beauty of your property while also saving on labor costs? Consider installing a board-on-board fence. In this guide, we’ll go over the steps to build a wood fence that provides complete privacy and aesthetic appeal.

Why Install a Board on Board Fence?

A board-on-board fence is an ideal choice for homeowners who value privacy. The overlapping design of the boards creates a solid barrier that blocks the view of the other side. In addition to privacy, a board-on-board fence can also:

  • Discourage intruders
  • Keep kids safe while playing
  • Contain pets
  • Add beauty and substantial value to your home

Materials Needed

Before getting started, gather the necessary materials and tools. Here’s what you’ll need:


  • Circular saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Electric miter saw
  • Hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Speed Square
  • Twine and stakes
  • Bubble level or a laser level
  • Post-hole digger
  • Shovel
  • Pencil
  • Eye and hearing protection
  • Work gloves
  • Marking paint


  • Wooden boards (cedar or redwood)
  • Horizontal rails
  • Posts
  • Concrete mix
  • Gravel
  • Screws

Project Overview

  • Total Time: 1-2 days
  • Yield: 32 linear feet
  • Skill Level: Intermediate
  • Estimated Cost: $800 to $1,200

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to install your board-on-board fence:

1. Planning and Preparation

Before building your fence, consider these important preparation steps:

  • Have your property lines marked to avoid building your fence on neighboring property.
  • Check with your local government to determine if the fence requires a permit. Some areas do not have building codes that require permits, while others may have strict codes that can even govern the type, height, and location of fence you can build.
  • Decide if you plan to install a gate in your fence. Gates can vary in width, so fence posts must be spaced properly to allow for even 8-foot runs between panels when a shorter gate will be added.

2. Setting Fence Posts

  • Dig post holes using a post-hole digger.
  • Pour gravel into each hole to create a base.
  • Set posts in concrete mix.
  • Ensure each post is plumb using a bubble or laser level.

3. Attaching Horizontal Rails

  • Cut and attach horizontal rails to posts using screws.
  • Make sure rails are level and evenly spaced.

4. Installing Overlapping Boards

  • Start at one end of the fence and attach the first board to the first two rails using screws.
  • Attach a second board to the same two rails, overlapping the first board.
  • Continue attaching boards to rails, overlapping each board to create a solid, private fence.

5. Adding Decorative Elements

  • Customize your board-on-board fence with decorative elements like lattice or post caps.
  • Stain or paint the fence to match the exterior of your home or leave it natural to weather over time.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to install a board-on-board fence?

Professionally installed board-on-board fences can cost up to $55 per linear foot (labor costs only). By doing the labor yourself, you can save significantly on costs. This guide yields 32 linear feet of fencing—double the supplies as needed to enclose the perimeter of your outdoor space.

How do I ensure my fence is level?

Use a bubble or laser level to ensure posts are plumb and horizontal rails are level. Make sure to check each post and rail individually and make adjustments as needed to ensure the entire fence is level.

How deep should I dig my fence post holes?

The depth of your fence post holes will depend on your local building codes and soil conditions. In general, a good rule of thumb is to dig a hole that is half the length of the post and about three times as wide as the post.

How do I maintain my board-on-board fence?

To keep your board-on-board fence looking its best, regular maintenance is required. This includes:

  • Inspecting the fence for damage or wear and tear.
  • Cleaning the fence with a mild detergent and water.
  • Staining or painting the fence every few years to protect it from the elements.

Can I install a board-on-board fence myself?

Yes, with the right tools and preparation, a board-on-board fence can be installed by a DIYer. Keep in mind that the process can be time-consuming and requires some skill, so it’s important to take your time and follow the steps carefully.


Installing a board-on-board fence is a great way to enhance your privacy and add value to your property. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can build a durable and attractive fence that will provide years of enjoyment. Remember to take safety precautions, wear appropriate protective gear, and take your time to ensure a job well done.

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