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Drawing to calculate number of railsEstimating Quantities for Post & Rail Styles - Part 3 || Next Part

To figure rails, let's start with the longest side, 235'. Since we choose to use 16' rails for maximum strength, divide 235' by 16' rails. As illustrated in red, that is 14.6875. Round to next highest (never round down). We have 15 section 16' long. Mulitply that by the number the number of rails to be used according to the style you have chosen; 2 for two rail, 3 for three rail and 4 for four rail. The Crossbuck style is not covered here. It is unique.

In our example, we are building a 3 Rail Fence. So 3 times 15 equals 45 sixteen feet long rails. Granted there is some waste. In fact the last section actually is only 11' long. 5' off each rail is waste, unless we can use it elsewhere on the job.

The fact of the matter is that we can use it here. So we will save them. To calculate the rest of the rails, repeat the process for each side and attempt to use the leftovers from previous sides. Keep a count of all the rails that will be used even short ones because you will need to order two plastic insert rings (retaining rings) for each rail regardless of their length.

It pays to make the sides even muliples of 8' to avoid waste. That is not always possible. Reconfigure your fence to maximize materials. In reality the 16' rails are installed so they alternate their end connections at each post. This is what adds significant strength to the fence. You should start off with 2 eight-foot rails and a mid-sixteen-foot rail. Then alternate the 16' rails accordingly, so seams do not end up all on one commom post. This will cause some waste that can not be avoided. You can order 8' rails so you don't have to cut 16'ers in half and drill the connector ring holes.

The vinyl is easy to work with so we commonly order all 16' rails and lots of extra rings. In your case you may not be able to use all the extra material when you are done. Figure it close and order the extra few pieces you may need later. Most items can be shipped economically by UPS except the 16' rails. Make certain your initial order includes all of those.