DIY Jobs: Premade Fence Panels vs. Stick Built Fences

When it comes to fence construction, Do-It-Yourself homeowners have two options: building from scratch—also known as stick building—or installing premade fence panels. In this day and age, many big box stores sell premade panels that simply need to be set between posts (which the homeowner is responsible for installing). While this seems like a quicker, less expensive route than building from scratch or hiring a professional contractor, there are a number of factors one should be aware of.

Benefits of Premade Fence Panels

The main selling point for premade panels is time saved on installation. While you are responsible for the fence posts—measuring and marking where each post will be set, running plumb lines, digging holes, setting concrete, etc.—the panels require less installation time because they’re wholly assembled in advance. As a result, you’ll save many hours—more likely, days or weeks—otherwise spent assembling everything from scratch. The catch is that your fence posts must be spaced properly (as you cannot customize the length of premade panels as needed). However, if everything’s been set up properly, you can potentially install your panels over the course of a weekend. You can also save money from the fact that panels can be installed by two people rather than an entire crew: each of you holds an end and, together, attach the panel between the posts.

Disadvantages of Premade Fence Panels

Premade fence panels guarantee a uniform look but also present fewer customization options. What’s more: if you elect for prebuilt fence panels, we recommend purchasing from a reputable fence contractor. The premade fencing available at the big box stores tends to be flimsy—fashioned from thin materials and held together via screws rather than sturdy nails.

As we mentioned above, premade fence panels is not easily customizable. By contrast, stick-built fences, assembled from scratch, grant more creative control to the installer, allowing you to make adjustments as you see fit. Note regarding stick building: because you’re constructing the entire fence from unassembled materials, completion requires more time on the part of the installer.

Building a Fence on a Hill: Premade or Stick Built?

Installing premade fence panels on hills, slopes, and generally uneven terrain is by no means impossible (it’s done all the time) but presents a few disadvantages easily avoided with stick-built fencing. To begin with, preassembled fence panels installed on hills and slopes need to be staggered in a “step”-like fashion. This in turn results in triangular gaps between the grade and the bottom of the fence. Gaps—in addition to being unsightly—allow pets, children, and intruders to easily crawl underneath your fence, which defeats the purpose of installing one in the first place. You can cover up the gaps with landscaping, shrubbery, etc., but it won’t provide the same level of security and requires more work on your part.

Not to mention, the process of installing premade fence panels in a step-shaped formation is more complicated. Because posts need to be set at sufficient depths in the ground while remaining tall enough to hold up the panels, each post will need to be custom measured and cut. With stick-built panels, however, you can stagger each picket and post according to the contour of the terrain, so that the fence moves parallel to the slope. Now you can more easily avoid those unwanted gaps for a consistent appearance and more thorough security.

Premade vs. Stick Built Fence Panels: Which Should I Use?

In summary: premade fence panels, in most cases, are cheaper and requires less installation time. However, it is best suited for yards without hills or slopes. And to reiterate: if you decide on premade panels, be sure to order from a reputable contractor—so that you receive panels made of high-quality, long-lasting material. Our online store, America’s Fence Store, sells high-quality premade wood fence panels in two delivery forms: fully assembled and not assembled. (Not assembled is slightly cheaper.)

How to Order Wood Fence Panels from America’s Fence Store

Whichever method you decide on, America’s Fence Store makes buying wood fence panels online easy, with three simple steps.

1. Select Your Wood Fence Panel Style.

2. Choose Not Assembled or Fully Assembled from the dropdown list.

3. Click Add to Cart.