Fencing, a vital component of residential and commercial properties alike, offers not just security and privacy but also adds aesthetic value. Whether you're an architect, a homeowner planning to install a new fence, or simply someone with an interest in understanding the structural nuances of different types of fencing, this blog is designed to demystify fencing terminology and component names.

Basic Fencing Terminology

Fence Posts

Fence Posts are the vertical structures that provide the primary support for the fence. They are anchored into the ground and hold the fence upright. Depending on the type of fence, posts might be made of wood, metal, or concrete.


Panels refer to sections of a fence created using boards, pickets, or wire mesh that are mounted between the posts. In pre-fabricated fencing, panels are pre-constructed to standard sizes and simply attached to the posts during installation.


Rails are horizontal supports that connect between posts. Typically, there are two to three rails in a fence: top rail, middle rail (if used), and bottom rail. Rails serve as the framework on which panels or individual boards are attached.


Pickets are the vertical boards that attach to the rails in certain types of fences, like a traditional picket fence. They can vary in style, width, height, and spacing depending on the desired look and functionality.

Chain Link Components

  • Mesh: The fabric or netting material in a chain-link fence, made from woven steel wire.
  • Tension Bars: The metal bars woven into the end of the mesh at each side of the fence for anchoring the mesh firmly to the posts.
  • Tension Bands: Used to attach the mesh and tension bars to the posts, ensuring the fence is tight and secure.


Gates are movable sections that provide access through the fence. They can be designed to match the fence or stand out as an accent, and they come in various operations such as swing, slide, or even automated systems for enhanced convenience and security.

Specialised Fencing Terms

  • Balustrade: Typically used in reference to decorative railings made of wood, metal, or glass, especially those found on balconies or decks.
  • Privacy Slats: Individual vinyl or aluminium pieces inserted into chain link fencing to add privacy and aesthetic appeal.
  • Post Caps: Decorative or protective tops for fence posts, available in various designs and materials.
  • Finials: Decorative tops for pickets, enhancing the visual appeal of the fence.
  • Lattice: A crisscrossed framework, often used as a decorative top section or as the entire makeup of panels, allowing light and air through while offering semi-privacy.

Maintaining Your Fence

Understanding the components and structure of your fence aids in its maintenance and repair. Regular inspections can help identify potential issues before they become major problems, ensuring your fence remains strong and functional for years to come. Check for signs of wear or damage to individual components, including posts, panels, rails, and especially the integrity of the foundation and anchoring of posts.

Final Thoughts

Whether you're selecting a new fence or maintaining an existing one, understanding the basic and specialised terminology helps in making informed decisions. With a vast array of materials, styles, and configurations available, your fence can provide the perfect balance of functionality, security, and aesthetic appeal to meet your property's unique needs.

Armed with this knowledge, you are better prepared to discuss options with contractors, shop for fencing materials, or undertake a DIY fencing project. Remember, a well-chosen and properly maintained fence not only secures and enhances your property but also increases its value.