Types of Steel Post and Rail Fencing in Australia
Are you creating your dream property and have already researched the different types of post and rail fencing available in Australia and want to dig deeper into the world of steel post and rail fencing?
Then, this article is perfect for you.
When it comes to securing your property while enhancing its aesthetics, steel post and rail fencing is a reliable and versatile choice. This fencing is known for its durability, strength, and longevity and is emerging as a successful alternative to Timber post and rail fencing.
However, there are different types of steel post and rail fencing to suit your specific needs.
The problem is so how to decide which type of steel post and rail fencing is the right choice for your property, your budget and your vision.
At Stock and Noble, we provide high-end property owners across Australia and New Zealand with the finest fencing solutions. Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing called Buckley, Horserail and Legacy Rail are some of the brands that belong to our fencing portfolio. Based on insights gained from numerous client projects and years of interaction with experts on the ground, we have in-depth knowledge and expertise in the entire post and rail fence category.
In this blog post, we will explore everything you need to know about 3 different types of steel post and rail fencing, their advantages and disadvantages.
Once you’ve read this article, you will be well-equipped to choose the right type of Steel Post and Rail Fencing for your property.
Type #1: Traditional Steel Post and Rail Fencing or Cattle Rail
Cattle Rail, also referred to as Steel Pipe or Tubular fence, gets its name from its resemblance to a pipe or tube. It is available in 6-meter or 8-meter lengths, allowing for flexibility based on specific requirements.
Typically, Cattle Rail is made of pre-galvanized steel and commonly comes in a size of 115 mm x 42 mm, with a wall thickness of 2 mm. The standard length is 6.1 meters. Differences in dimensions and galvanizing coating thickness can impact the strength and cost of the steel fences.
When purchasing Cattle Rail, it can be acquired individually or in slings or bundles. Typically, you or your fencing contractor would cut and weld these rails to steel posts according to your specific needs. This flexibility allows for customization and adaptability during the installation process.
It’s important to note that Steel Pipe is solely a pre-galvanized steel fence without any additional painting or powder coating on top. This means that the natural galvanized finish provides primary protection against rust and corrosion.
Cattle Rail is welded together. Can be installed as a DIY project or a fencing installer.
Cattle Rail is best suited for
Rural areas, cattle farms, and larger properties to define boundaries and contain livestock. The traditional design offers a simple and sturdy solution that withstands the test of time.
Pros of Cattle Rail
Strength and Durability
Cattle rail is made of pre-galvanized steel, making it a strong and durable fencing option. It can withstand harsh weather conditions, impact, and pressure. This is true for all steel post and rail fencing solutions.
Cattle rail fencing is relatively easy to install. It comes in 6 or 8-meter lengths that can be cut and welded to fit the desired requirements.
Compared to some other fencing materials, cattle rail can be a cost-effective option, especially for large fencing projects. Its durability and longevity can provide value for money over time.
Cons of Cattle Rail
Cattle Rail fencing is prone to rust
Rust is undoubtedly the biggest enemy of Steel. This is one of the major concerns of any property owner who is considering a Steel Post and Rail fencing option.
If you want, you can learn more about the performance of different types of steel post and rail fencing against rust and how to effectively manage the onset of corrosion.
Cattle Rail fencing can be unsafe for horses
Steel Pipe fencing has proven to be a safety hazard where a panicked horse ran into the rigid fence and ended up getting hurt. While we love Cattle Rail for its rigidity and strength, the same qualities can work against it. The welding and screws end up making the fencing too strong for the horses. This means that the fences don’t give way or buckle under the impact of a speeding horse. Such forceful collision has the possibility of seriously injuring the animal.
Limited Aesthetic Appeal
Cattle rail fencing typically has a simple and utilitarian appearance. It may not provide the same aesthetic appeal as other decorative fencing options, such as our Premium Steel Post and Rail.
Cattle Rail requires painting
If you choose Cattle Rail fencing as your preferred option, it’s important to note that it is available only in its natural steel grey colour. If you desire a more visually appealing look and want to enhance the overall aesthetics of your horse property, painting the steel fences might be necessary.
However, painting steel posts and rail fencing can be a significant undertaking, requiring additional time, money, and energy.
Type#2: Pre-Powder coated Cattle Rail
(The above image is from TopRail by Blue Dog Fences)
Some suppliers like Blue Dog Fences or Dunn and Farrugia provide pre-powder coated Cattle Rail. Similar to Steel Pipe fencing, this steel post and rail is also made of pre-galvanised steel rail. However, what sets it apart is that it features a polyester powder coat, providing a durable and long-lasting coloured finish to the fence.
It’ll be worth learning more about the powder coating process and evaluating whether your steel post and rail fences need it.
Pre-powder coated Cattle rail also offers versatility with options for 1, 2, 3, or 4 rails, and different sizing can be requested to meet specific project requirements.
These Steel posts and rails are all screwed together using Tek screws which makes the fencing susceptible to rust or they are attached using brackets.
For further information, refer to a detailed article on how to build a Cattle Rail fence.
Best suited for
Similar to Cattle Rail, this fencing is also best suited for Cattle farms, rural properties and large areas to enhance security.
The pros and cons of Pre-Powder coated Cattle Rail are similar to Cattle Rail.
Pros of Pre-Powder Coated Cattle Rail
Enhanced coating and protection
Pre-Powder coated Cattle Rail enhances the looks as well as protection of a typical Cattle Rail through the application of powder coat. It’s important to understand the value of a superior-quality powder coat.
Options of customisation
Unlike limited colours and sizes of engineered steel post and rail fencing systems, Pre-Powder coated Cattle Rail can be made to order in different colour and size options to suit your needs.
Cons of Pre-Powder Coated Cattle Rail
Susceptible to rust
While a good quality powder coat does help in protecting steel post and rail fencing against rust, the welding and drilling of post during installation offer an opening for moisture to make its way and build rust over time.
No matching gate solutions
Unlike Buckley, suppliers of pre-powder coated Cattle rail do not offer a standardised gate and latching system. EZ latch system from Buckley has been a favourite for horse property owners for its ease of functionality and effectiveness.
If you are considering a long-term investment in a forever property, the warranty given by the suppliers of pre-powder coated Cattle Rail, may not provide extensive coverage. For instance, the guarantee for Dunn & Farrugia Post and Rail fencing is only three years.
Connectors may not be premium
For a seamless design flow and high aesthetics, Buckley Steel post and Rail Fencing system ensures no screws or connectors are visible on top of the rail or the fencing line. This isn’t true for the pre-powder coated systems which often use screws or highly visible connectors impacting the premium look of steel fencing.
Extended lead time
Pre-powder coated fences are custom-made upon order, resulting in a longer lead time. Unlike the Premium Steel post and rail options, particularly the popular 3 and 4 rail black, which are readily available in stock.
Type #3: Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing
A premium Post and Rail fencing system called Buckley sets itself apart from standard Cattle Rail by offering an engineered system that prioritizes durability, beauty and ease of maintenance ensuring peace of mind.
This fencing solution is constructed using 2-side pre-galvanised steel, which undergoes a zinc phosphate conversion coating for enhanced protection. It is then finished with an architectural-grade polyester powder coat, ensuring a robust and visually appealing final product.
The dimensions of Buckley Steel Post and Rail exceed other steel post and rail fencing products, resembling the size of traditional Timber Posts and Rails.
The Steel Fence is designed with pre-cut rails that are highly visible, featuring rounded smooth edges and no nails, screws, or fasteners. The rail length allows for flexibility and improved animal safety.
Buckley Steel Post and Rail fencing offers a range of options, including 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 rail configurations. However, they only come in two colours: black and white.
The dimensions of the Buckley rail are as follows:
Height of post above ground: 1450-1500mm
Standard rail length: 2900mm
Rail: 135mm x 35mm x 1.2mm rectangular
Fence posts: 89mm x 130mm x 1.4mm rectangular with radiused corners
The rails measure 2.9 meters in length and provide a 23° articulation allowance within each post-opening, accommodating hilly terrain or the installation of a round corral.
Buckley Steel Posts are 2.54 meters long, allowing for deeper burial compared to other options in the market. These posts are additionally coated with epoxy, providing protection against lime and other corrosive elements in the concrete mix, preserving the integrity of the pre-galvanised steel.
Buckley Steel Fencing offers an engineered system that surpasses standard Cattle Rail. With superior dimensions, durable coatings, and innovative installation features, Buckley Steel Post and Rail fencing ensure a high level of protection, flexibility, and longevity.
Since the Buckley Steel Posts are pre-morticed, they feature a lock spacing system. This system is inserted into each post, securely locking the rails in place without the need for welding, nails, screws, or special tools for removal. The posts also have pre-punched rail openings lined with rubber grommets, eliminating the need for nails or screws that may penetrate the steel and reducing the risk of rusting or corrosion.
For further information, refer to a detailed article on how to install Buckley Steel post and Rail fencing system.
Best suited for
Its robust construction and attention to safety and aesthetics make it an ideal choice for acreage, equine properties and lifestyle properties.
An honest review of Buckley Steel Post and Rail Fencing would further prove helpful in your research for the finest steel fencing.
Pros of Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing
Designed to be highly safe for animals
Premium steel fencing systems are designed with animal safety in mind. The rounded smooth edges and absence of nails or screws reduce the risk of cuts to animals. The flexibility of the rails gives in to a speeding horse, preventing serious harm.
Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing is thermally independent so the rails don’t sag or warp
Buckley Posts and Rails are thermally independent, accommodating any slight expansions or contractions that may occur due to the physical properties of metal. It doesn’t matter what the temperature is, typically the rails remain straight, and the posts are perfectly aligned.
Buckley Steel Post and Rail fence offers added protection against rust
Buckley is an engineered fencing system that’s created with enhanced protection against rust. The additional step of zinc application in its powder coating process, a completely closed system with no welding, nails or screws reduces the likelihood of any rusting or corrosion.
Premium Steel Post and Rail fencing doesn’t need to be painted
Buckley Steel Post and Rails are treated with a phosphate conversion coating for added protection and finished with an architectural-grade polyester powder coat.
Durable and built to last, the protective powder coating on the fencing will most likely not chip, peel, or crack, so maintenance painting is unnecessary.
Buckley Steel Post and Rail fencing is easy to replace
Buckley is an engineered fencing system, if any of the rails ever get damaged following a storm or falling of trees, Buckley Rail is quick and easy to replace.
Steel post and rail fencing requires minimal maintenance. Unlike Cattle Rail, it does not require painting to maintain its appearance and structural integrity.
This Steel Post and Rail fencing has a high aesthetic appeal
Buckley post and rail fencing is designed for forever properties. With an architectural grade coating that provides a long-lasting finish, no screws, seamless design and matching gates it has a visually impressive design that enhances the overall look of your property.
Cons of Premium Steel Post and Rail Fencing
Premium Steel post and rail fencing can be more expensive compared to Cattle Rail. However, the initial investment is often offset by its beauty, durability and longevity, resulting in higher ROI and long-term cost savings.
Difficult Installation on Slopes
Installing this steel post and rail fencing on steep slopes can be more challenging compared to other fencing materials. Steep gradients exceeding 22 degrees may not be suitable for this system.
Limited Colour Choice
Buckley Steel posts and rail fencing typically offer a limited range of colour options. Custom tones or finishes may not be available with this high-end solution.
Lack of Customisation
Premium Steel post and rail fencing come in standard sizes and options, limiting the ability to customize post sizes or upgrade to larger fence posts.
Thin Appearance of Posts
One potential downside of Premium steel post and rail fencing lies in the slimness of its posts, which are intentionally designed to prioritise horse safety. To enable the bend, buckle and release function, these posts may not have the same “chunky” appearance as some timber post and rail options. This aspect becomes particularly significant for those who intend to use this fencing for front fences, where aesthetics play a crucial role.
Due to the hollow design of Buckley fencing, it can create a perfect home for spiders who then spin their webs in the corners of the post and rail intersection. Particularly when the latching system or gates are not regularly used. However, it’s important to note that this issue is not widespread and can vary depending on the property’s location and the local spider population.
Which Steel Post and Rail Fencing is best suited for my property?
Steel post and rail fencing is your preferred choice of fencing, but you wanted to understand the different types available and gain enough knowledge to say yes to the right steel post and rail fencing for your property.
Now you know there are mainly 5 types of Steel Post and rail fencing to choose from.
By considering factors such as durability, strength, customisation options, and aesthetic appeal, you can make an informed decision.
- Cattle Rail, also known as Steel Pipe or Tubular fence, is a popular choice due to its flexibility and simplicity. It is a cost-effective option for rural areas and cattle farms, providing sturdy boundaries and containment for livestock. However, it is important to address concerns such as rusting and potential safety hazards for horses. Additionally, if a more visually appealing look is desired, painting the fences may be necessary, adding extra cost and effort to the project.
- Pre-powder-coated Cattle Rail offers an alternative with enhanced coating and protection against rust. It provides customisation options in terms of colour and size, catering to specific project requirements. However, similar to Cattle Rail, it is susceptible to rust at welding and drilling points during installation.
- For those seeking a premium solution, Buckley Steel Post and Rail fencing stands out with its superior dimensions, stunning looks, durability, and innovative installation features. It offers enhanced protection against rust, thermally independent rails that prevent sagging or warping, and a visually impressive design. Although it may come at a higher cost, Buckley fencing requires minimal maintenance and is built to look beautiful for decades.
While Premium steel post and rail fencing offers numerous advantages, it is essential to consider some drawbacks. It can be more expensive compared to other materials, installation on slopes can be challenging, and there may be limitations in terms of colour choices and customisation options.
Ultimately, the selection of steel post and rail fencing should be based on the specific requirements of the property, including its intended purpose, location, budget, desired aesthetics, and maintenance needs. Comparing the different steel post and rail fencing suppliers can be a valuable next step in your decision-making process.
Or you can choose to consult with one of our fence experts, ask all your questions and get an in-depth understanding of which steel post and rail fencing system would be best for you and your vision. While the first consult will be free, once you’ve made your decision, you will be personally guided at every step to create a safe and beautiful property.