While I am only one of many companies in Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill, North Carolina, most of us follow the same practices when building wood fences. Usually when an estimate is given for a wooden privacy or picket fence the contractor quotes it as a “1X6X6″ picket, that is if they tell you at all what you are buying.
As a general rule, the company sells you a 5/8″ picket because in this area, that is the standard picket. These pickets are considered 1″ thick and are sold that way at home improvement centers in the Raleigh area. This would be the best option if you are looking for an inexpensive wood privacy fence. At our company, we try to inform the customer of all the options, and educate the customer on the different pickets available to you, as the purchase of a fence can be a a major home improvement for some homes, and the value versus quality should be assessed as well. The 5/8″ picket works just fine for a general application, and we probably sell more fences in Raleigh with 5/8″ pickets than any other style. But, I try to always inform the customer of all the options, not to upsell them, but so that they can compare apples to apples as the estimates come in from other Raleigh fence companies. The 5/8″ wood picket has a rough face to it, and tends to warp and crack easier.
Another option for building your wood privacy wall in Raleigh, NC. is to upgrade to a full 3/4″ wood picket. Even though the picket is only 1/8″ thicker, it is surprisingly more resilient to the elements in the south. It also has a smoother finish to it (which is why it is often called an “appearance grade picket”) and for most yards, costs a lot more. We are talking about a 50% increase in price for a 20% increase in thickness. And on an average this adds several hundred dollars to the total cost
. And the increase is not profit, that increase is the added cost of just the materials. The 3/4″ picket is NOT my picket of choice as the best all around value for building a wooden privacy fence in the Raleigh area. The added thickness does NOT keep it from warping and cracking as quickly, watersealing or staining it when it is completed is where the money is better spent to add longevity to your investment.
The final option for building your wood privacy or picket fence in is the full blown 5/4″ deck board. This would be the same boards used to build the decks in this area (something we don’t offer at this time nor ever plan to offer). It is 1 and 1/4″ thick, and I have only found it in the green color, versus the bright pressure treated pine we use to build wood fences. I have sold these types of fences, but in my opinion, it is overkill on a residential 6 foot tall fence.
In conclusion, I try to make the customer aware of all their options before they spend their hard earned money. I do this so the customer can’t come to me later, or tell a neighbor, that I didn’t inform them of all the options for the fence they purchased. It builds a better relationship between us, and help to get me referrals because the homeowner appreciates my honesty