Fencing Dictionary

How to Talk Like a Fencing Pro

At Fencing Direct, we want to empower our customers and contractors to feel confident about what fencing material is needed for each project. That is why we have put together a fencing dictionary as a reference guide to use throughout our website, documentation, and the installation process. Whether you are a contractor just getting into fencing business or a homeowner, installing a fence only once in your life, we know that this fencing dictionary with be useful tool and provide education for you fencing project.


A panel is a complete kit of pickets, rails, and u-channels. Not all panels have rails or u-channels, but all panels have a set bundle of pickets. The panel contents vary depending on the material and style of the panel.


For most panels rails hold the pickets in place. Some panels can have 3 to 4 rails depending on the height, style and material of the panel. Some vinyl rails have an aluminum insert to add extra strength.


Pickets are the filling of a fence panel. Some pickets fit together in what is called a tongue and grove. Other pickets have open space between them. Pickets often are held into the fence by the rails creating the panel.


Posts are the part of the fence that holds the rails. A post can be put into the ground or mounted to the top of a wide surface with a part called a surface mount.


There are two types of brackets, flat brackets and angle brackets. Brackets are used to connect rails to different surfaces. Brackets are used as an alternative to posts in installation applications. A bracket can also be used on a post, to create a T or if you need to make an extreme angle.


A cap goes on top of the post to protect the inside of the post from filling with debris and water, which can later damage the post. Some materials posts come with the caps. Caps come in multiple designs to fit any personal style.

Surface Mounts

A surface mount helps hold a post on to a wide flat surface, like wood, stone, brick, or cement.

Dry Packing

Dry packing is a termed used for when you dig ahole for your fence post, put your post in to the ground, then packit into place with dry cement mix without wetting the cement untilthe whole fence installation is complete. We suggest this methodfor all in ground fence instillation so that you have the ability toadjust the posts as needed while installing your fence. However,check with your local building if this method is allowed.


U-channels are used in vinyl panels to fill in spacing gaps and add extra security to the mounting of the pickets. For some types of vinyl fencing the u-channel can act almost like a set of vertical rails when mounted to the posts.


Gates are the mobile opening to the fence line allowing access in and out of an enclosed fenced area. The make up of a typical gate is 2 uprights, rails, pickets, and hinges. When installing a gate it’s important to pay attention to level of the ground as this will affect the direction and placement of your hinges.


Uprights are the left and right side of a gate were the rails attach. The uprights is also where the hinges and latch will attach the gate to the gate posts.


A movable joint or mechanism on which a door, gate, or lid swings as it opens and closes or which connects linked objects.


A latch is a device for holding a door, gate, or the like, closed. For fencing, the latch attaches the gate upright to the gate post. A latch can also come with a key lock or a code lock for extra security.


Rackable is a term used to describe the amount of slope allowance a panel might have. Some material have very little natural rackablity, like vinyl, while other products have a lot of rackablity, like aluminum. This is an important factor when deciding what fencing is right for a property, for example fencing in a house on a hill.

Gate Post

A gate post is an end post that is more structural sound to hold the weight of a gate. Some gate posts are made with thicker walls, while other gate posts are created by adding an aluminum insert to the inside of the post.

Drop Rods

A drop rod is attached to the bottom of a gate on the latch side. This part is used to add stability to double gates and prevent sagging. A drop rod is also added to gates that need to be open for long periods of time. Drop rods come in a variety of heights and colors.

Gate Stopper

A gate stopper prevents gates with auto-closing hinges from swing back to far and alleviate some impact off the latch of the gate. Gate stoppers are installed on the latch side of the toward the bottom. If a drop rod is also on the gate, the gate stopper should be installed just above it. Gate stoppers also come in a variety of colors.

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