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Comparing Installation of Premium Steel vs. Timber Post and Rail Fencing 

timber vs premium steel post and rail installation - post and rail fencing - comparison

In the world of fencing, there are numerous options available, each with its unique features and benefits. Among them, two popular choices are Timber post and rail fencing and Premium steel post and rail fencing. Both offer durability and aesthetics, making them suitable for various applications, especially when it comes to creating signature properties. 


While comparing them, clients often assume that timber is easier to install than steel, which also ends up influencing their final fencing decision. However, it’s important to address this assumption and clear the air based on critical facts and industry insights. 


Installation of Morticed Timber Post and Rail Fencing is similar to Premium Steel fencing. Yes, that’s true.  


At Stock & Noble, we believe in empowering our customers with in-depth knowledge of various aspects of fencing, so they can make the right decisions regarding the most important feature of their forever property. 


With a wealth of experience and expertise in delivering top-notch fencing solutions to high-end properties across Australia and New Zealand, we have become a trusted name in the industry. Over the years, we have had the privilege of assisting numerous clients in realising their dream properties through our premium fencing options. Our knowledge has been honed not only by our projects but also by working closely with skilled fencing installers during live installations. 


In this blog, we aim to shed light on the installation process of the two popular fencing choices: Morticed timber post and rail fencing and Premium steel post and rail fencing. ( Buckley Fence) 


Throughout this comprehensive comparison, we will delve deeper into the key factors of cost, effort, time, DIY suitability, fencing contractor familiarity, problems, and material handling for the installation of these two types of fencing. 


Before we embark on this insightful comparison, let’s take a moment to highlight some essential factors that will enhance your understanding and make the most of this blog. By considering these points, you can extract maximum value from the information we’re about to share: 


What is Morticed Timber Post and Rail? 

Morticed timber post and rail fencing are characterised by pre-cut holes or slots in the fence posts. These pre-made slots allow for convenient insertion of the fence rails. This type of fencing can be found in both timber and steel variants. 


Advantages of Pre-Morticed Fence 

One significant advantage of pre-morticed fence designs is that the height is predetermined, and the holes or slots are evenly spaced. This feature streamlines the installation process, eliminating the need to measure and create a fence layout on the spot. As a result, pre-morticed fencing saves time and effort during installation. 


Suppliers of Morticed Post and Rail Fence 

While there are various suppliers of morticed timber posts and rail, the suppliers of morticed Steel Posts and Rail are limited to Stock & Noble for Buckley and a few others providing Pre-powdered Cattle Rail like Dunn and Farrugia and Blue Dog Fences.


Excluding Front-Facing Timber Post and Rail Fencing 

Before proceeding with the comparison, it is essential to clarify that this analysis specifically focuses on morticed timber post and rail fencing, and we are not considering front-facing timber post and rail fencing here. If you are interested in front-facing options, we recommend digging into how to build front-facing post and rail fences. 


Materials Used for Installation: Morticed Timber Post and Rail Fencing vs Steel  

Both timber and steel post and rail fences are concreted into the ground for stability.  


When using timber posts, you have two options for installation: concrete or stabilised soil. With the concrete method, you pour concrete around the post, creating a solid and secure foundation. 

Alternatively, you can opt for stabilised soil by mixing cement powder with the soil extracted from the hole. After pushing the soil back into the hole, compact it, and add water. The water interacting with the cement causes it to harden, providing some strength to the soil foundation. 


While stabilised soil may be a cheaper alternative to concrete and offer flexibility to accommodate soil movements, it is not as robust as concrete. The general belief is that it allows for some flexibility with soil shifts. However, for optimal longevity and stability, it is recommended to use concrete as it ensures a more durable and secure installation. 


By choosing the concrete method, you can ensure that your fence stands the test of time, providing an enduring and reliable solution for your property’s perimeter needs. 


Differences in the Process of Installation of Timber and Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing 

The installation process of Timber and Buckley (premium steel) post and rail fencing is almost similar with a slight difference. 


For Timber post and rail fencing, the conventional method involves drilling individual holes, spaced evenly along the fence line. After drilling, the fence posts are set to the desired heights, and then each post is individually concreted into the ground. 


In contrast, Buckley offers a more efficient installation approach. With Buckley, you can first place all the posts in their designated positions, set the posts in concrete, then once posts solid, install the rails. This method streamlines the process, potentially reducing installation time and effort. 


While it is possible to install timber post and rail fencing using a similar approach as Buckley, in our experience, it is more common to install timber posts one by one. For fully morticed timber posts, you may do a few sections at a time but if you get too far ahead. 


Installation Comparison Based on Equipment Required 

The installation process for both timber and steel post and rail fencing utilises similar tools and equipment, with only a minor difference in cutting tools. 


For both types of fencing, essential tools include a crowbar for leverage, a shovel for excavation, a string line for alignment, spirit level to get the posts straight and an excavator with a 250mm augur (for Steel Posts) for drilling the post holes.  


The primary distinction lies in the cutting tools required for each material. Timber post and rail fencing necessitates a circular saw to cut through the wood accurately and efficiently. On the other hand, premium steel post and rail fencing demands the use of an angle grinder, or a cut-off saw to handle the tougher steel materials effectively. 


By having these standard tools at your disposal, you can ensure a smooth and successful installation process, regardless of whether you opt for the classic charm of timber or the contemporary elegance of premium steel. 


Time Taken for Installation of Timber vs Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing 

As per the insights provided by a well-known installer in Victoria, there is not a substantial difference in the time taken to complete the installation between morticed timber post and rail fencing and premium steel post and rail fencing.

However, the installer did mention that working with steel is slightly quicker due to its lighter weight, which reduces strain on the installer’s back and makes handling the materials more manageable. 


The installer’s reference was specifically for Morticed timber post and rail fencing made from Hardwood. 


For instance, when installing a 400-meter fence of premium steel post and rail, the installer completed the project within five days. On day one, they drilled all the required holes, and over the next few days, they accurately positioned and concreted all the posts at once, allowing a day for the concrete to set. On the final day, the rails were installed. 


If the project were to involve morticed timber post and rail fencing for the same 400-meter length, the estimated time would have been similar, ranging from 5 to 7 days. This duration accounts for drilling holes, setting the posts correctly, and completing the installation process, which closely mirrors the timeline for the steel option. 


Ultimately, while steel post and rail fencing may offer a slight advantage in terms of installation time due to its lighter weight, both options prove to be efficient and viable choices for achieving a beautifully crafted fence that enhances the aesthetics and functionality of your property. 


The Difference in the Cost of Installing Timber Post and Rail Fencing Vs. Steel 

In terms of overall cost, there is a similarity between timber post and rail fencing and premium steel post and rail fencing. However, there are some nuances to consider. 


Timber, being heavier and more challenging to work with, may lead to higher labour costs as it requires more effort during installation. This weight factor can influence the pricing for timber fencing projects, as the additional labour may be reflected in the final cost. 


On the other hand, Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing is considered a standard option and boasts a lighter weight, making it more manageable during installation. Due to this ease of handling, steel installations may be completed more efficiently, resulting in slightly lower labour costs compared to timber. 


It’s essential to note that the final cost may vary depending on several factors, including the contractor’s pricing structure, the location of the project, the specific product chosen, and the type of timber utilised (if opting for timber fencing). These variables can influence the overall cost and should be carefully considered when making your fencing decision. 


To ensure an accurate assessment of costs for your fencing project, it is recommended to obtain detailed quotes from reputable contractors, considering all relevant factors specific to your property and preferences. This will enable you to make an informed decision that aligns with your budget and ensures the successful realisation of your fencing vision. 


The Difference in Familiarity for Fencing Installers 

When it comes to familiarity, Timber Post and Rail Fencing holds an advantage among fencing installers. 


Timber has been a traditional and widely used material in the industry, making it a more familiar product for most installers. They are well-versed in the techniques and methods involved in working with timber, which contributes to smoother and more efficient installations. 


On the other hand, Buckley, as a new concept of engineered steel post and rail fencing, may pose a challenge for some contractors. This innovative approach deviates from traditional installation methods, requiring precise adherence to specific instructions. As a result, some installers may be less familiar with the intricacies of working with Buckley. 


To ensure successful Buckley installations, contractors must follow the exact guidelines provided by the manufacturer. This precision ensures that the engineered steel post and rail fencing functions optimally and delivers its promised benefits. 


Surprisingly, contractors who lacked prior familiarity with steel fencing installation, upon working with steel, tend to develop a preference for it over timber in their subsequent projects.  This preference is based on the simplicity of working with steel, its lighter weight and the fact there are no fixings required which contributes to quicker and more efficient installations. 


Regardless of the chosen material, selecting an experienced and knowledgeable installer is crucial to ensure a well-executed fencing project that meets your expectations and stands the test of time. 


DIY Suitability of Timber Post and Rail Fencing Vs. Steel 

For DIY enthusiasts, working with steel post and rail fencing can offer several advantages. Firstly, steel is a cleaner material to handle compared to timber, as it doesn’t produce sawdust or wood debris. Its lighter weight makes it more manageable during the installation process, reducing strain and fatigue. 


The ease of handling steel components can lead to a smoother DIY experience, especially for those new to fencing projects. While there might be a slight learning curve initially, once you’ve mastered the basics, working with steel should be similar to timber post and rail fencing. 


Regardless of whether you choose timber or steel for your first DIY fence project, getting the first few posts in place is often the most critical and challenging part. Once you’ve gained some experience and confidence, subsequent posts and rail installation should become more straightforward. 


For an enjoyable and successful DIY fencing experience, we recommend starting with careful planning, using the right tools, and following installation guides provided by the manufacturer. By taking your time and learning about methods of the right concrete mix and whether your fencing is suited for DIY, you can create a durable and visually appealing fence that enhances the beauty and security of your property. 


Availability of Installation Resources of Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing Vs Timber 

Those opting for the Premium steel post and rail fencing can access detailed manuals, instructional videos, and dedicated support to guide them through the installation process. 


These resources are designed to ensure a smooth and successful installation, making it easier for both DIY enthusiasts and professional installers to work with this innovative fencing solution. 


On the other hand, the availability of installation resources for timber post and rail fencing may vary depending on the manufacturer or supplier. Different sources may provide their installation guides or instructions, which may not always be consistent. As a result, those choosing timber may need to seek guidance from multiple sources or rely on their own experience and expertise. 


To ensure a seamless installation with timber, it is essential to select a reliable and reputable timber supplier or manufacturer who offers clear and comprehensive installation guidelines. Investing in high-quality materials and relying on established sources can make a significant difference in the success of your fencing project. 


Are you clear on the installation of Timber Vs. Steel Post and Rail Fencing? 

You are planning to install post and rail fencing on your dream property and wanted to know if there are any differences or similarities between Steel and Morticed Timber. Whether one is easier, faster and more cost-effective to install than the other. 


Now you know both Timber and Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing essentially follow the same installation process, similar timelines, almost the same materials and might cost the same. However, the preference of fencing installers might differ based on the location and their prior experience. Also your DIY experience can play a role in deciding the ease and success of either of them. 


In conclusion, both Premium Steel Post and Rail and Morticed Timber Post and Rail Fencing have their advantages and considerations. It is essential to evaluate your specific project needs, preferences, and budget before making a decision. While professional installation is recommended for a fence that will stand the test of time, DIY enthusiasts can also tackle the project with confidence. Whichever option you choose, a well-built fence will enhance the look of your property and last a long time. 


When considering installation of either Timber or Steel post and rail fencing, we highly recommend investing in an experienced fencing contractor. Hiring a professional installer can make a significant difference in the quality and longevity of your fence. Professionals possess valuable insider knowledge, industry tricks, and pro tips that can elevate the overall outcome of the project. 


The key to a successful fencing project lies in careful planning, using high-quality materials, and following proper installation techniques. Whether you decide to enlist the expertise of a professional or embark on a DIY adventure, the goal is to achieve a fence that not only meets your functional needs but also enhances the beauty and value of your property for the long term. If you have more questions regarding the installation of post and rail fencing or want to know which fencing solution would be best for your property book a personalised consultation. One of our fencing experts will answer all your queries and help you create a beautiful property just the way you imagined. 

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