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How Many Screws Per Fence Picket?

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If you're working on fencing, it's likely that you'll need to install a number of fence pickets. You may also be wondering how many screws should be used per picket. Luckily, we've done the research to find out for you. We've also provided tips for fastening pickets to ensure they stay secure.

Generally speaking, you will need about 3 decking screws per picket on 3 horizontal 2x4 inch stringers. To avoid wood cupping, you will need 6 screws.

In this article, we will explain the importance of determining the proper number of screws per picket and why you need to keep it in mind during the installation process. We'll also go over different types of fence pickets to help you decide which option is best for your project so keep reading!

White fence - How Many Screws Per Fence Picket

Do More Screws Mean More Stable Fence Pickets?

New white vinyl fence with nice yard landscaping and trees in the back ground.

Since fencing is an outdoor application, you need to make sure that your pickets are sturdy enough to handle the elements. To make sure that your pickets stay in place, you need to use enough screws. However, putting more than what is required may cause the pickets to split.

The first thing to consider is the thickness of the picket. For example, if you're using 2x4 pickets, you can use as many as 6 screws maximum per picket. Anything beyond that may cause the picket to split.

Fencing Material and Number of Screws: Is There a Connection?

Another thing to keep in mind is the type of material used. If you're using pressure-treated wood, you can use more screws. The reason for this is that pressure-treated wood is more durable and can withstand heavier loads than wood that is not pressure-treated.

This expansion and contraction are what cause wood to splinter, crack, warp, and rot. To prevent this from happening, pressure-treated lumber is treated with chemicals that minimize the expansion and contraction of the wood.

Importance of Spacing Screws

In addition, you want to make sure that the screws are spaced evenly across the picket. This way, the picket will be able to bear the tension of whatever is applied to it.

You also want to make sure that you're using screws of the correct size. If you're using a screw with a diameter that is too small, it won't be able to hold the picket together.

Conversely, if you're using a screw that is too big, it may cause the picket to split. 

Watch the video below to see how to fasten pickets using screws:

Types of Screws for Wooden Fences

Most people who are building fences around their property are concerned with protecting their investments, so you'll want to look for screws that will help your fence last a long time.

Wood fences provide the perfect way to protect a house and its surrounding area. However, due to the nature of the material, care must be taken to ensure the fence is built correctly and structurally sound.

Here are the types of crews that are designed to work with wooden fences:

1. Deck Screws

Deck screws are available in a variety of types, sizes, lengths, and finishes, and they're very common among DIY enthusiasts.

These screws can be used in almost any project that involves building fences, attaching boards together, installing railings, or fastening a railing to the deck.

What makes deck screws ideal for pressure-treated wooden fences is their epoxy-coated threads that protect the wood from corrosion. Obviously, this equates to a longer lifespan than if you used screws that aren't coated in epoxy.

Click here to see these deck screws on Amazon

2. Galvanized Screws

Galvanized screws are known to last longer than the non-galvanized variety, as the zinc coating prevents rot and decay, adding longevity to the wood. They are also considered to be more aesthetically pleasing because they blend in better with the wood.

3. Lag Screws

Lag screws are designed for use with lumber, and are commonly used to secure planks of wood together. They have a hexagonal head, which allows you to leverage for a better torque using a hex bit.

The hexagonal head enables the screw to penetrate deeper into the wood and increase the strength of the joint. 

Click here to see these galvanized lag screws on Amazon

4. Silicone Bronze Screws

Wood fences tend to get very old, and they do require some upkeep. If your fence is going to be in a coastal area or near water, you'll want to make sure that you are using corrosion-resistant screws, and a silicon bronze screw fits the bill.

Do Screws Hold Tighter than Nails?

Screws screwed into wooden plank stock photo. Screws close up on wooden table.

Generally speaking, screws are considered the stronger and more versatile type of fastener, although nails may be used if no other option exists.

Unlike nails, screws are designed to create a stronger bond than nails because they're threaded into the wood.

In fencing, however, the use of screws also makes the job a little more complicated. This is because the screws will need to be placed in several pre-drilled holes before they can be threaded into the pickets.

Screws are stronger and have greater holding power than nails. Nails, on the other hand, can be difficult to loosen once in place, particularly when they are driven and buried deep into the surface.

What Is The Best Way To Build A Fence?

The type of fence you build depends on what kind of fencing you want. The type of material you use, as well as the design of the fence, will affect how well it works.

A chain link fence is a popular choice for a fence because it is affordable and easy to install. A wood fence is also an excellent option for a backyard fence, if you don't mind your neighbors looking at you when they pass by. 

However, a wood fence must be painted regularly so that it does not look weathered and worn. 

Vinyl fences are often a better choice than wood (aside from being the cheapest) because they are more resistant to termites and rot. You can also get a fence made out of vinyl if you live in a climate where wood fences deteriorate over time.

wooden garden fence at backyard and bloom tree in spring

Wooden Vs. Vinyl Fence: Which is Better?

Picket fences have been around for hundreds of years. They are usually made of wood planks, however, the material that is used to construct the pickets is the most important factor in determining how well a picket fence will last.

Wooden fences have a tendency to warp, crack and rot over time. If the wood is not properly treated or protected from the elements, it will likely dry out and become brittle. 

Another common drawback of wooden fences is that the nails that hold them together loosen over time. If the nails begin to pull out of the wood, it could potentially lead to the pickets falling apart.

This is why it is important to check the condition of your wooden fence once every couple of years.

Vinyl pickets, on the other hand, are durable and generally have a very high resistance to warping and cracking. Vinyl pickets also look good, however, nothing beats the natural look of wooden fences.

Metal pickets are long-lasting, but they require higher maintenance, as they rust over time.

Picket Fences as Architectural Landscape

A closeup angled view of a white picket fence, as a background, leading into the horizon.

Aside from being relatively inexpensive (depending on the materials used, of course), picket fences are easy to install and can be customized to suit your needs.

Picket fencing is a great option for a variety of reasons. Whether you are looking to add a simple privacy barrier or you want a feature that can stand out from the crowd, picket fencing is the way to go.

When it comes to picking out the perfect picket fence, there are many things that should be considered. From the style to the height, there are many different design elements that will contribute to the overall appeal of your picket fence.

For instance, the shape of the pickets will determine what kind of character it will give your fence. Some people like cylindrical pickets which are easy to clean, while others prefer rectangular pickets which add an element of symmetry and elegance to a fence.

Another aspect of the design is the style of your fence. There are many different styles of fences from classic and formal to modern and casual. 

You can go beyond the basic design of the pickets and the color, and even customize your pickets by adding elements such as decorative finials, posts, and more.

In Closing

The number of screws to fasten the pickets depends on the type of picket fence you choose. It is best to measure your pickets first and know what size you want. Once you know the measurements, decide how you would like to have the railings secured to the pickets.

We hope this guide has provided you with some insight on how many screws to use on a fence picket. If you'd like to learn more, check out our other posts:

How Much Space Between Fence Posts

13 Types Of Fences For Your Backyard