Split Rail Fence with Wire Mesh- Simply Effective

Split rail fence was originally designed to keep large farm animals contained. Because if its open design, having large spaces between the rails, smaller animals pass through it easily.

However, split rail fence with wire mesh attached to it eliminates large gaps and spaces. As result, giving it the ability to contain pets and small farm animals.

For these reasons, split rail fence with wire mesh has become a popular design choice in residential settings.

Types of Wire Mesh for Split Rail Fence

The wire mesh attached to split rail fence comes in three main types. Welded wire mesh, woven wire mesh and chain link mesh.

All three types of wire backing are popular. However, each style of wire mesh does have advantages and disadvantages. What you are trying to contain may dictate the style of wire mesh that is best for you.

Sometimes, home owners associations and city codes determine the style of split rail fence with wire mesh permitted. The overall height of split rail fencing, usually determined by the number of rails will also determine the overall height of the wire mesh.

Split rail fences with 2 rails will have 36″ tall wire. Fences with 3 rails will have 48″ tall wire mesh.

Split Rail Fence with Welded Wire Mesh

split rail fence with welded wire mesh
Split Rail Fence with Black Welded Wire Mesh

Welded wire mesh, sometimes referred to as chicken wire, is the least expensive option when dealing with split rail fence with wire. Thin strands of wire intersect horizontally and vertically forming the mesh, welded together where they cross.

Welded wire mesh has 2″x3″ or 2″x4″ spaces between strands. As result, making it a good choice for containing dogs. However, it does have a couple disadvantages.

The first is it does not contour to changes in grade of the land very well. Shorter runs and level ground works best.

Second, it isn’t very durable. Large dogs that bite at the fence will break the welded strands of wire. Furthermore, larger farm animals can also damage welded wire mesh easily.

Most dogs however, will have no issues with welded wire mesh installed on split rail fencing.

Welded wire comes in colors to help it blend in better. Galvanized is standard. This will have a shiny silver color when new. However, after a few years, it will turn a dull gray color.

Vinyl coated welded wire comes in colors. Green and black are standard. The darker colors blend in much better than the silver color associated with galvanized. Black welded wire mesh for split rail fences is the most popular color.

Split Rail Fence with Woven Wire Mesh

split rail fence with woven wire mesh
Woven Wire Mesh Attached to Split Rail Fence

Woven wire mesh is a heavier version of welded wire mesh, also having horizontal and vertical strands. However, the gauge of the wire strands is thicker. Also, a special knot ties the strands together where they intersect instead of them being welded together.

As a result, woven wire mesh is much stronger than welded wire mesh. The knot also allows woven wire mesh to flow over uneven terrain better. Woven wire mesh falls in the middle in regards to price when compared to welded wire mesh and chain link mesh.

The holes in the mesh of woven wire fence comes in a variety of sizes. No Climb Fence is the smallest. It has 2″ x 4″ openings which is good for containing small dogs. A 4″ x 4″ mesh pattern will cost a little less and is more popular for large dog owners.

Even larger sizes are available when your split rail fence will be used for containing farm animals.

Galvanized woven wire fence is silver in color. However, some manufactures offer a black color cover wire mesh.

chain link fabric attached to split rail fence
Split Rail Fence with Chain Link Mesh

Chain link wire mesh is the third choice. While it is the most expensive option, it is also the most popular. Especially for residential split rail fence with wire mesh.

Like woven wire, it follows the contour of the ground well. Important for containing little dogs. It’s also strong and comes in a variety of gauges. However, some people think the diamond pattern of chain link mesh takes away from the farm and field look that welded and woven wire offers.

Color is the drawing factor to chain link mesh. Green, black and brown are all standard colors. The vinyl coating of chain link fence is also much heavier than that of the other two types of wire mesh used for split rail fences.

Making it more durable and longer lasting. Repairs are also much easier when required. Splicing in new chain link wire mesh to replace old or damaged is seamless.

How to Attach Wire Mesh to Split Rail Fencing

Assuming you already have a split rail fence installed, installing wire mesh onto it is easy to do. Fence professionals easily install 200 to 300 feet of split rail fence with wire mesh attached per day.

Handy homeowners installing only the wire mesh could easily install a couple hundred feet a day or less.

The installation method is the same for all three types of split rail fences with wire mesh. However, woven wire and chain link wire will require a couple specialized tools used for stretching the mesh.

In order to stretch woven wire and chain link fence, use a come-a-long and stretch bar. Available for rent at home center stores.

Welded wire mesh does not need stretched. Or at least not as tight as the other two types of wire mesh for split rail fences. Doing so will result in breaking the welded joints.

Other tools required will be a hammer, and side cutters or fencing pliers. Finally, to attach the wire mesh to the fence, use a fence staple or horseshoe nail.

Attaching the Wire Mesh to An End Post

The first task will be attaching one end of the wire mesh to a starting point. Most likely an end post.

Welded wire mesh and woven wire mesh will use fence staples nailed into the post in order to secure it in place. The same can be done with chain link fence. However, a tension bar, drilled with holes, and attached with wood screws is a more secure option.

Don’t skimp on fence staples or screws. The weight of the stretch is supported by this connection. Make sure to use enough to secure the wire mesh in place.

Stretching or Pulling the Wire Mesh Tight

Once attached to the starting post, unroll the wire mesh while leaning it against the fence, until reaching the next end post or corner post.

For welded wire fence, remove the slack by manually pulling the wire. Two people make the task easier. While one person holds tension on the wire, the other nails fence staples to the first line post.

Repeat this process until reaching the end or corner post.

When stretching to another end post, one person pulls the wire tight past the end post. The other will nail fence staples into the end post securing the end of the wire mesh.

Once the wire mesh is fastened to the end post, cut to length.

When stretching to a corner post, do not cut the wire mesh. Round the corner using a continuous piece.

When stretching woven wire mesh or chain link mesh, unroll the fence, leaning it against the posts. Manually pull as much slack out of the run as possible.

Next, hook a stretch bar into the fence, inserted right before the last line post in the run. Hook the tail end of the come-a-long around the end or corner post the fence is stretching towards and the other end to the stretch bar.

Slowly crank the come-a-long applying tension to the wire mesh. Be careful no to let it fall over while adding tension. A couple of extra hands will come in handy.

Bouncing the wire in the center of the run helps disperse tension evenly. Once tight, nail all of the line posts first.

Then attach the wire mesh to the end or corner post with fence staples or a tension bar and wood screws. Lastly, release the tension of the come-a-long and remove.

Pro Fence Tips For Split Rail Fence with Wire Mesh

  1. Install the wire mesh on the inside of the fence. When mesh is installed on the outside of the fence, dogs learn to climb the rails of the fence like a ladder. As result, scaling the fence easily.
  2. After nailing the fence to the line post, go back and add one or two fence staples to each rail in-between posts. Doing so tightens the wire mesh and prevents loose rails from moving back and forth.

Final Thoughts About Split Rail Fence with Wire Mesh Backing

Whether adding wire mesh to an existing fence, or installing a new one, a split rail fence with wire mesh is a great way to contain animals. Both farms and residential properties take advantage of the simple design with rustic look.

Need a gate for your split rail fence? Checkout out our blog post about the 7 Best Split Rail Gates Designs.

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