When it comes to constructing a sturdy and long-lasting feather edge fence, the dilemma of whether to nail or screw the boards is a common consideration for DIY enthusiasts and professional builders alike. Feather edge boarding is a popular choice for its traditional appearance and the privacy it provides, making the method of fixing these boards critical to the overall durability and finish of the fence. This blog aims to provide comprehensive insights into the advantages and disadvantages of both nailing and screwing feather edge boards, helping you make an informed decision for your next project.

The Basics of Feather Edge Fencing

Feather edge fencing, also known as close board fencing, is constructed from vertical boards that are tapered (or "feathered") and overlapped to create a solid barrier. It's a favoured choice for many due to its flexibility in fitting into various garden styles and its effectiveness in withstanding the UK's often unpredictable weather conditions.

Nailing Feather Edge Boards

Traditionally, feather edge boards have been fixed in place using galvanised nails. Nailing is a straightforward and fast method, often deemed more economical in terms of both time and materials.

Advantages of Nailing:

  1. Speed and Efficiency: Nailing is faster than screwing, which can be a significant advantage for larger projects.
  2. Cost-Effective: Nails are generally cheaper than screws and require less sophisticated tools.
  3. Flexibility: Given their lesser thickness compared to screws, nails can provide a bit more flexibility to the boards, which might be beneficial in high wind areas.

Disadvantages of Nailing:

  1. Durability Issues: Nails may become loose over time, especially in environments with fluctuating moisture levels, potentially compromising the fence's integrity.
  2. Damage to Boards: Hammering nails can sometimes split or damage the feather edge boards, particularly if the nails are placed too close to the edge.

Screwing Feather Edge Boards

With advancements in outdoor and wood construction materials, using screws to fix feather edge boards has gained popularity. Screws offer a more secure fixing, which can extend the lifespan of a feather edge fence.

Advantages of Screwing:

  1. Increased Durability: Screws create a tighter and more secure connection between the boards and the supporting framework, reducing the risk of boards coming loose over time.
  2. Easy Adjustments and Repairs: If a board does become damaged, it’s generally easier to replace if screws have been used, as they can be removed more cleanly and easily than nails.
  3. Minimal Damage: Screws are less likely to split the wood, especially if pilot holes are drilled first.

Disadvantages of Screwing:

  1. Time-Consuming: Screw applications take more time, which could be a drawback for large projects or professionals under time constraints.
  2. Cost Implications: High-quality outdoor screws are more expensive than nails. Additionally, you may require an electronic screwdriver or drill, adding to the cost if you do not already own these tools.

Making the Choice

In making your decision on whether to nail or screw feather edge boards, consider the following factors:

  • Project Size and Scale: For smaller projects, the durability and adjustability benefits of screws might outweigh the time and cost savings of nailing.
  • Weather Conditions: In areas prone to high moisture or fluctuating temperatures, screws may offer a more durable solution that can adapt to wood expansion and contraction without loosening.
  • Budget Constraints: If budget is a significant concern, nailing could be a more cost-effective choice.
  • Longevity and Maintenance: For a fence that requires minimal ongoing maintenance and is intended to last many years, screwing might be the preferable option.


Both nailing and screwing have their places in the construction of feather edge fencing. Your specific circumstances—be it budget, scale of work, or the environmental factors—will largely dictate the best approach for you. Investing time in planning and considering these aspects can ensure that your feather edge fence not only looks great but stands the test of time. Whether you choose to nail or screw, proper installation techniques are key to constructing a robust and durable feather edge fence that you can be proud of.