Close Board Fencing Guide

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Closeboard fencing is both affordable and durable, which makes it a popular choice for homeowners and landowners alike. It is sometimes referred to as ‘ship lap’ or ‘feather board’ and though this describes the same type of construction method, it is more commonly known as ‘closeboard’.

In this serialised guide, we’ll cover all aspects of closeboard fencing, from planning permissions to construction methods. This month, we’ll be starting with a general overview.

Planning Permissions

Before purchasing and installing closeboard fencing, you must always ensure that your designs are within the law. In the majority of cases, you can erect a closeboard fence up to 1.95 metres high, without the need for planning permission.

If your fence is adjacent to a public highway, however, you will require planning permission if it is any higher than 1 metre. In this instance, always seek advice from your local council before commencing work.

Installing Closeboard Fencing

Closeboard is simple and effective. Posts, rails, gravel boards and feather edge panels are the key components that come together to make a fence.

Posts are typically 100 x 100 mm and concreted in place at a depth of approximately 760 mm. Rails are affixed to the face of the posts; usually two rails are needed for a fence up to 1.2 metres high. Three rails are used when the fence which is being erected is any taller than this.

The gravel board sits at the base of each fence panel and is a fantastic investment in the longevity of your fence. Concrete gravel boards protect the feather edge panels from contacting the ground, where they would otherwise absorb ground water and rot over time.

When your posts and panels eventually do need replacing (this can be 15+ years with annual maintenance), you can cheaply replace the panels and posts and insert them into the gravel boards.

Tip: Make your fence last even longer by specifying concrete posts, too; they are practically impervious to wear.

Benefits of Closeboard Fencing

  1. Easy installation on sloping ground.
  2. Easy to replace once damaged.
  3. All timbers used in closeboard manufacturing are pressure treated and coated to maximise the timber’s useful life.
  4. Durable and long lasting if maintenance is performed annually.
  5. Easily sourced pre-painted in brown and green making the replacement of panels even easier and discreet.
  6. Equally useful for commercial and domestic use.


As a naturally sourced product, lack of care and the ravishes of time will cause the timber to degrade. To maximise the lifespan of your timber closeboard fence, you’ll have to treat it every 2 – 3 years at a minimum. Ideally, the fence will be recoated with a protective treatment each year.

Do this during the summer season, so that the wood can absorb the solvent based treatment most effectively.

Come back next month for the next in our series about closeboard fencing. By the time winter’s over, you’ll know everything you need to make an informed decision about exactly what kind of closeboard is best for you and your property.


RTC Fencing have been erecting all types of commercial and domestic fencing for clients in Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough and Melton Mowbray for over 20 years. We offer a comprehensive service, from our free on site survey to our prompt and thorough installation. All our works are guaranteed and installed by experts in their field. To arrange a survey or to find out more about our services, contact us today. We’re always happy to help.

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