This page is aimed at the DIYer looking for general information on what Closeboard Fencing is and what material is used in its construction. I hope you find it helpful. Feedback is always welcome, so please let me know if you have any comments or would like to see more information on any closeboard-related topic.

Closeboard Fencing (called Shiplap or Featheredge fencing) is versatile and robust. This solid fence is suitable for Garden or Commercial Fencing. Crestala’s closeboard materials, when assembled correctly, will produce an aesthetically pleasing and strong boundary fence that is comparatively easy to construct and repair. Closeboard fencing is a good choice for any DIY enthusiast looking to replace their fence.
Closeboard-style fencing is adaptable and can be easily modified to cope with most fence lines, even those with uneven terrain, curves and changes in height, etc. Especially when erected with the adaptable metal DuraPost or any of our concrete and wooden mortised posts.

A double-sided finish can be obtained using square rails and mortised posts.

  • Capping Rail
  • Counter Rail
  • Arris Rails
  • Feather Edge Pales
  • Posts
  • Stump
  • Cleats
  • Gravel Board

Closeboard Fencing Materials Breakdown

Closeboard fencing is delivered to you as a kit of parts for assembly onsite into a fence. What is in your delivery will depend on your required closeboard specification. With the exception of some of the professional fencers we supply, you should have received and accepted a quote listing all the materials required to make up the fencing you requested.

Below are the main components of a closeboard fence, with information about each item. We have also included several paragraphs of essential information, such as Fence Heights and Bay sizes.

Closeboard Standard Heights

Standard closeboard heights start at 0.9m (3′) and go up to 2.55m (8’6″). Usually, the maximum total height without Planning Permission is 1.95m or 1.0m alongside a road. However, there are many instances where these rules can be and are varied to suit individual circumstances. Generally speaking, you should be OK if you are replacing like for like.

Please check with your local Council Planning Department for guidance. (see also the section on Planning below.)

Closeboard Bay Sizes

Three standard bay sizes are available (a bay is measured as the centre of one post to the centre of the next post),  1.8m (6′), 2.4m(8′) and 3m (10′). We do not recommend exceeding 3m bays, although we do have 3.6 m rails available where there is no other choice.
For overall fence heights exceeding 1.8m (6′) the pressure from strong winds increases considerably. so we usually advise reducing the bay size to 1.8m or 2.4m.

Types of Rails used to make a Closeboard Fence

Arris rails

Arris rails are normally ended (shaped to fit into the mortise on a post). The arris ends are a little smaller than the mortise, making it much easier to cope with slight curves in the fence line or sloping ground. Tighter curves can be achieved by reducing the bay size.
Unended Arris rails are available with square ends for use with Arris Repair Brackets or for when the rails are being cut to make special bay sizes. The measurement between the posts will give the length of rail needed, then add 10cm extra. (5cm for each end to fit into the post-mortise).
Unended Arris rail can be easily ended with an adze, a small axe, or a crosscut saw. The interactive picture above identifies the component parts that make up a closeboard fence and shows arris rails that have been ended with a saw.

Square rails

Square Rails are normally screwed onto the face of wooden posts normally set at 1.8m, 2.4m or 3.0m centres. The rails are usually the sawn 38mm x 88mm used as framing timber or for Sawn Post and Rail fencing; however, you can use 100mm x 95mm Easi-edge instead for a stronger fence.

When finished, the feather edge boards run continuously for the complete length of the fence, covering up the posts. However, this method produces a much wider fence footprint than mortised posts.
To reduce the fence footprint on straight runs, both sizes of square rails can be used with DuraPost.

Square rails are OK for use on straight runs on flat ground. For fence lines that cover sloping ground or are curved, it is better to use arris rails and mortised posts.

Square rails can use mortised posts like Arris rails. However, there are restrictions on post sizes, and these posts are special orders only. If you would like to use square rails with mortised posts, please speak to a member of our Sales Team.

The number of rails required per bay for a closeboard fence

Generally, 1.2m high feather edge boards and below require two rails. 1.35m to 2.1m high featheredge has three rails; over 2.1m requires four rails. If the gap between the rails becomes too big, it increases the possibility that the featheredge boards will warp and twist. In general, more rails is better than less.

Gravel Boards

Gravel boards can be fitted at the bottom of the fence and are available in lengths to match the rails. They are usually fitted between or in front of the posts to run directly below the feather edge.
Fitting a gravel board raises the feather edge up, away from the ground. It is easier and cheaper to change one gravel board if necessary, rather than lots of featheredge with rotten bottoms.
Gravel boards are usually wooden, but for longevity, gravel boards made of concrete or composite material are also available for closeboard. 

Wooden gravel boards for closeboard are usually 150mm (6″) high and 19 to 25mm thick and are either nailed or screwed to wooden cleats on posts at each end and in the centre to the stump.
Concrete and composite gravel boards for use as part of a closeboard fence can vary slightly in height and thickness and are usually fixed with metal cleats or “U” brackets, although some composite gravel boards can be screwed like a wooden board to wooden cleats.

Gravel board Cleats.

gravel board cleats are what attach the gravel board to whatever type of post you are using. Several types are detailed below for use with different posts and gravel boards.

Wooden Cleats

Wooden cleats are small blocks of timber which are used to attach a gravel board which is being fitted between wooden posts.
The cleat is attached to the post in the correct position for mounting the gravel board horizontally directly under the vertical feather edge; then, the gravel board is attached to the cleat. The cleat should be positioned so that the gravel board is in line with the front of the post.
They can be attached using nails to the post but are best pre-drilled and secured using external wood screws.
Long cleats for attaching two or more gravel boards laid on top of each other are available if specified when ordering.

Metal Cleats

Metal Cleats are used with concrete posts. They can attach concrete, composite and wooden gravel boards.
The metal cleat consists of a plate with holes and two 50mm (2″) long round pins sticking out on one side. Through the hole in the plate is a bolt with large washers.
The two pins fit into precast holes in concrete mortised posts. The gravel board is clamped to the metal cleat at each end with the large washers and the bolt. Once the gravel board is clamped in position, the metal cleat pins cannot come out of the concrete post.
We also have a metal cleat with an extended plate and extra holes for fixing two gravel boards, one over the other.

Brackets for attaching concrete gravel boards to wooden posts

Although not really a cleat, these metal brackets serve a similar purpose: they hold the gravel board in line with the fence above. In addition, the “U” shaped brackets enable concrete gravel boards to be used with wooden posts.

Centre Stump.

A wooden centre stump is positioned vertically in the centre of the bay. It is connected to the bottom rail and the gravel board before going into the ground. The centre stump’s purpose is to help support the middle of the bay and to keep the middle of the gravel board in line with the fence above it.
It is nailed or screwed to the bottom rail and the gravel board. A coat of wood preserver or bitumen paint on the bottom end that touches the soil is a good idea. For use with Arris rails, it will have a 45-degree angled top.

Closeboard Capping

You can fit a capping rail over the feather edge boards to finish the fence. Fitting capping serves two purposes: it improves the fence’s overall look and offers some protection for the top of the feather edge. Closeboard capping is generally nailed to a supporting counter rail and looks best when set into a slight up-stand on the post tops. See how the capping rail on the interactive closeboard diagram above runs into the posts just below the post-top weather. Running the capping over the tops of posts will not look good unless the fence is perfectly level and straight.
If you have capping, our team will normally automatically allow for an up-stand on the posts.

For those using DurPost, a metal capping rail is available in colours to match the posts.

Counter Rail

The Counter rail is fitted to a closeboard fence to support either a capping rail or trellis and runs between posts level with the top of the feather edge boards. There are two sizes of counter rail used for closeboard fencing 50mm nail-on and 75mm mortised in.
50mm(2″) x 32mm (1.25″) is attached by nailing to the post with a 75mm nail and then with a 50mm nail through every 3rd or 4th Feather Edge Board.
75mm(3″) x 32mm (1.25″) is located into an extra mortise in the post and then fixed with a 50mm nail through every 3rd or 4th Feather Edge Board. Our workshop will add the mortise for this size counter rail to your posts when your order is processed.

Feather Edge Boards.

Feather edge boards used for closeboard are usually 100mm(4″) or 125mm (5″). We supply 100mm as it is less prone to twisting and splitting.
Our feather edge is basically a 100mm x 22mm board cut diagonally to make two feather edge boards,
 The Featheredge board is fixed vertically with an overlap of approximately 20mm. Please do not be tempted to reduce the overlap as the feather edge will shrink during dry spells, and you may find that gaps open up between the featheredge.
The boards are attached to the rails using 50mm galvanised nails—one nail, per rail, per board. Try not to nail through both boards. The idea is for the nails to just miss the back feather edge board, which allows it to slide freely behind the front board as the timber expands and contracts during the annual weathering cycle.

To calculate the number of boards required when using a 100mm wide feather edge, multiply the number of meters by 12.7 or the number of feet by 3.8 (38 boards per 3m bay). It is best to always allow for a few spares, although if we have worked out the quantities for you as part of a quote, spares will have been included.


Trellis is a good way of having a higher fence without feeling so closed in. For example, a 1.5 meter high closeboard fence plus 300mm tall trellis or 1.2 meters plus 600mm trellis are both very popular in residential areas.

We make a longer trellis for combining with closeboard fencing in our workshops. Crestala’s square trellis (both standard and close space) for fitting into a closeboard fence is made a little longer than the fence bay sizes so that you can cut it down to fit precisely between the posts. Crestala diamond and curved top trellis are very difficult to cut down on site, and we recommend that it is made to the actual bay sizes measured after the closeboard portion of the fence has been erected.

If you have ordered a trellis to be included in your fence, then the mortising will have been adjusted to allow room at the top of the post for the trellis to be fitted directly over the feather edge boards. A nail-on or mortised-in Counter rail will be included in your fence kit, which should be fitted level with the top of the feather edge. See the Counter rail section above for more details.
The trellis is fixed with 75mm screws or nails through the battens to both the posts and the counter rail to hold it securely in position. It is best to predrill first to avoid splitting the battens.

Closeboard Panels Note:

As an alternative to closeboard in kit form, ready-made Closeboard Panels are also available.
Our Crestala Closeboard panels are stronger than standard fence panels and offer an easier way to have the look and strength of a closeboarded fence that is delivered fully assembled and ready to fix between your posts.  Crestala Closeboard Panels can be used with our plain square Treated Softwood Posts, or for a longer life expectancy, check out our DuraPost or Slotted Concrete Posts.

As with all types of fencing panels, our closeboard panels are best sitting on a gravel board.

Posts for Closeboard fencing

The Closeboard Fencing materials we supply can be used with a variety of posts to suit your aesthetic requirements and budget.

Treated softwood mortised Posts.
Treated softwood posts 100 x 100mm (4″ x 4″) mortised for closeboard are the most commonly used.
For fences in more exposed positions or over 1.8m in height, we have  Treated softwood mortised posts  125 x 100mm (5″ x 4″) . Normally used with a 100mm face so that the increased strength of the 125mm depth is used to best advantage.

We also have available where an extra heavy-duty post is required 125 x 125mm (5″x 5″)  and 150 x 150mm (6″ x 6″), both of which can be mortised to match your requirements.

The top of wooden posts can be vulnerable to wood rot over time as it is the most exposed part of the post. To reduce this risk of water laying on the post top,
all our wooden posts can be prepared with a variety of post top weathers. A weather is a decorative post top that also helps to shed water. The most popular of these is the round top and the four-way weathered (Looks like a pyramid ).
Wooden post caps can be used on flat-top posts. Metal pyramid top post caps and ball finials are also available for some post sizes to waterproof your post tops.
Note: As there are so many possible mortise and post-top variations, many of the wooden posts we supply are prepared by our Workshop Team to meet individual customers’ requirements. As we can change the  **mortise detail we use on the posts, it gives us much more flexibility to meet your specific needs. This also means that we can mortise replacement posts to match an existing fence for repairs.

Concrete mortised posts.
Using mortised concrete posts can extend the life of a closeboard fence as they do not rot. However, they are brittle and can crack if subject to a hard knock. This reduces the post’s strength and allows moisture into the internal steel reinforcing rods, which will then corrode, causing premature failure.

Concrete mortised posts are available to suit most normal heights of closeboard fencing up to 1.95m (6’6″). All our concrete posts have a pyramid top.
Being mortised, they can cope with slopes and changes in ground level. However, they are not as flexible as wooden mortised posts because the **mortise detail is fixed by the manufacturer and cannot be altered.

All concrete mortised posts have at least two holes to enable bolting on a wooden plate. This plate can be plain to allow the hanging of a gate or mortised to marry up with an existing fence with a different **mortise detail.

Metal DuraPosts.
Erecting a closeboard fence using DuraPosts is similar to using wooden or concrete posts. Although they can be used, the triangular arris rails are usually replaced with square-sawn rails. Unlike pre-mortised posts where the position and number of rails are pre-determined, with DuraPost rails can be fixed to the posts in any position. However, we do recommend that the minimum number of horizontal rails used is the same as those mentioned previously in the paragraph about the number of rails required.

We have a display in our yard to show how easy and flexible this method of building a closeboarded fence can be. You are welcome to visit us to view the presentation and get answers to any questions you may have.

** Mortise detail – the size and position of the mortises on the posts.

Wall Plates and Post Plates

Plates or Half posts, as they are sometimes called, are used as part of a closeboard fence in several ways. A Wall or Post plate is usually cut from 100mm x 50mm (4″ x 2″). This is the optimum size, but plates can be thicker or thinner if required.

Using a plate instead of an end post

Plates are helpful where the fence run starts or finishes at a wall or on an existing post, whether plain or mortised. They can also be used where the mortise detail on a current end post does not match the mortise detail of the closeboard fencing being installed.

When using a Wallplate in place of an end post on a closeboard fence, you can add a weather (shaped top) to the top of the plate to match the top weather of round or pyramid top (four-way weathered) posts. The weather needs to stand up above the fence, so please select a plate length 100mm longer than the overall fence height and specify which post top you want when requesting your quote.
For closeboard using back weathered or flat top posts, the wall plate will be the same height as the fence.
Plates on posts in the middle part of the fence are usually the same height as the fence and with a flat top.

To facilitate the fitting of a gate

A plain, unmortised plate can be secured to a wall or a concrete post to allow for gate hanging and closing fittings.

If you are unsure what length, size or top to use, our Sales Team will be happy to help you select the correct plate for your needs.

Fixings for Plates

We can supply the appropriate fixings you need to securely attach your plates. What you require will depend on two things. What you are attaching the plate to, and what is going to be attached to it…

Project costs

As a price guide to help you work out your fencing project’s likely costs, we have included some basic 3m bay prices in the closeboard section of this website.
However, if you want an accurate quotation, you can fill in one of the two Get a fencing quote formsand we will be happy to email you a fully itemised quote.

Trade & quantity discounts may also be available to further reduce your overall project costs.


Replacing or installing a new close board fence may require planning permission. Generally, if the fence has been up for some time and you are replacing like for like, you should be Ok.
Be careful if you are replacing a hedge that runs alongside a road. Although you can grow a high hedge, you may only be allowed to install a much lower fence.
You may find this link to the Government Planning Portal useful as it gives some essential guidance on domestic fencing. If you are in doubt, we advise you to check with your local planning office, who are usually very helpful.

Aggregates and Tools

We supply all the extras you may need to complete your closeboard project. Including a selection of galvanised nailswoodscrews and fencing ironmongery. For your posts, we have bags of postmix, or if you prefer to make up the more traditional dry mix concrete, we have easily transportable bags of ballast and waterproof bags of cement.
We have a range of general tools as well as more specialised fencing tools to help make your project easier.


We can deliver all the materials for your project if you are within our delivery area. Please see our information on our Deliveries page or check with our Sales Team at [email protected] to check if you are within our area or for any other queries you may have about our services.

 Need some extra help?

To check on current stock availability, get a free fully itemised quote, or if you have any further questions about completing your closeboard fencing project, please talk to our Sales Team, who will be happy to help.