When installing a new fence at your home there are many different things to consider. What material should you choose? What colour should it be? How much will it cost?
Another important thing you’ll need to decide is the style of fencing that you plan to use. This means choosing between horizontal slat fencing and vertical panels.
There are pros and cons to both styles but horizontal slats have the most advantages and benefits.
There are also important differences between composite and wooden horizontal slat fencing, and the material you’re using will have an impact on which style is more beneficial for you.
In this guide, we’re going to take a close look at these benefits, as well as a few of the downsides. We’ll also closely compare horizontal slat fencing to vertical panels to show you why we think it is the better choice.
What Are The Differences Between Horizontal Slats and Vertical Panels?
If you’ve decided on the material that you’re going to use for your fence the next thing to choose is the style of fencing that will be best for you. The two main styles are horizontal slats and vertical panels.
If you’re installing a wooden fence then the most common style is vertical panels. However, for composite fences, horizontal slats are more common.
Our range of composite fencing comes in small modules that can easily be stacked on top of each other to create the desired fence height. This makes the installation process very straightforward and can save you a lot of hassle.
So, what are the actual differences between the two styles of fencing?
When installing a horizontal fence, you will have a lot of options as it will essentially be built from scratch. This means that you have a great deal of control over the precise specifications.
Slatted fencing is very versatile and is the best choice if your fence will be skirting a garden that has lots of protrusions, little corners, or slightly odd sections. It also works well with gradients.
Installing a horizontal wood fence and a horizontal composite fence is very similar. Both materials use horizontal boards which are slotted in between fence posts and fence rails to create the structure of the fence and a flush finish.
For wooden fences, other elements can be introduced to improve and upgrade the structure such as feather edge timber. This removes any gaps from the complete fence.
For composite fences, this isn’t necessary as the boards are designed to fit snugly together and not create any gaps.
A vertical fence is constructed of pre-built panels that slot in between fence posts. As they’re pre-built, they give you less flexibility and don’t allow any room for customisation.
If your garden fence needs to skirt along gradients or around strangely proportioned spaces then using vertical panels can be quite difficult.
It’s fairly unusual to find composite fencing that’s constructed from vertical panels and fences in this style will usually be made from wood or other fencing materials.
Although it is certainly possible to install a horizontal fence yourself it can be tricky as the panels tend to be heavy and hard to manoeuvre. If you do install it yourself then you’ll have to ask for outside help to assist you in moving the panels.
The Different Styles Of Horizontal and Vertical Fences
Within the two categories of fencing, there are several other styles that you can choose from. Composite fencing tends to have fewer options when it comes to different styles as the material is designed to be quickly and easily installed.
Most of the variations in styles occur in wooden fencing but there are some that are available in composite materials:
- Single-slatted fencing – a contemporary look that can add a sleek and modern touch to contemporary homes. A single-slat fencing system does leave some gaps so isn’t the best choice for privacy.
- Double-slatted fencing – similar to the single-slatted style but the boards overlap to provide enhanced privacy. A double-slat fence works well in both modern and traditional homes.
- Featherboard fencing – also known as close-board fencing, this style features vertical, overlapping feather edge boards with no gaps, perfect for those seeking privacy.
- Hit-and-miss fencing – this style features vertical boards that are intermittently attached to the front and back of the fence rail. It can provide an interesting look for both traditional and modern homes.
- Picket fencing – this traditional style doesn’t offer any privacy but is highly decorative and forms a neat border.
- Larch lap fencing – otherwise known as lap panel fencing, this is a very basic style that is often one of the cheapest fencing options.
The Pros Of Horizontal Slat Fencing
Horizontal fences act as a good privacy screen for your home and garden. The slats sit snugly on top of each other which blocks any external view of your garden.
If you choose to use composite fencing then whether it’s horizontal or vertical the longevity of the boards won’t be affected. This is because composite materials are highly resistant to water, rot, mould, and fading.
If you’re installing a timber fence then whether it’s horizontal or vertical could affect how long it lasts. Vertical boards will be more likely to absorb moisture as their ends will be exposed. This will lead to rotting and may result in them needing to be replaced.
Horizontal wooden boards won’t be as exposed to the elements and should last longer.
Installing composite boards is the best way to avoid this concern as they last between 25 and 30 years and are water-resistant. Our range of composite boards comes with a 20-year warranty so that you can be sure that your fence will last for a very long time.
A horizontal slat fence is a great way to bring a contemporary look to your home and garden. The horizontal lines can also make your garden appear to be longer or wider than it actually is.
This can increase the curb appeal of your home and make it a more attractive prospect to potential buyers.
Our range of composite boards comes in five contemporary colours including silver birch, spiced oak, and graphite. This makes it easy to find a colour and look that will perfectly complement your home.
Horizontal slat fencing also allows you to customise your fence to achieve the exact look that you prefer. If you want to maximise privacy then you can ensure that all of the boards are closely fitted together.
Or, if you’d rather have a more spacious feel to your garden then you could use supports to leave gaps in the fencing. However, this would compromise the privacy of your garden.
Repairs and maintenance
Although composite boards are highly durable and low-maintenance it’s still possible for them to be damaged. It’s very easy to repair and replace slat fencing boards as you can simply remove the one that is damaged.
If you install wooden slat fencing then it will be easier to maintain and repair than vertical fencing. Wooden fencing is not as durable and long-lasting as composite fencing and so repairs are more likely to be needed over time.
Strength and durability
Slatted fence boards are individually attached to the fence rails which gives them added strength and makes them more resistant to weather damage. The combination of the fence post, fence railing and slatted board creates a sturdy and durable unit.
The Cons Of Horizontal Slat Fencing
Some slat fencing can be difficult to install. If the materials you use are low-quality products then your fence may start to sag in the middle over time. This means it’s vital that you purchase high-quality slatted fence boards.
Fortunately, our range of composite boards is of the highest quality and is built to last. It’s also very easy to install meaning you don’t need to hire a contractor to install it for you. This will save you money and should mean that the installation process is fairly quick.
As horizontal fences don’t leave any gaps they do create a closed and insulated feel to your garden. This is ideal for many people who are looking to maximise their privacy.
However, if you prefer a more open feel to your garden then horizontal slat fencing may not be the best choice for you.
The Pros Of Vertical Fencing Panels
Vertical fences are better suited to gardens with curved borders. A horizontal fence needs to be constructed in mostly straight lines but a vertical fence can be built to follow the twists and turns of your border.
Installing a fence around curved borders can be very difficult. If you’re planning to do so then you may need to consult a professional beforehand, or even hire a contractor to do the installation for you.
Vertical fences are also often the best option for gardens with uneven surfaces. It is relatively easy to adjust vertical boards to different heights to accommodate for bumps and dips in the ground.
This is much more difficult with a horizontal fence as the slat fencing boards lie flat on top of each other.
Vertical panels are much harder to climb than horizontal boards as there are no footholds. This can increase the security of your home by making it harder for intruders to access your garden.
The Cons Of Vertical Fencing Panels
When compared with a slat fence, a vertical fence has a more dated look and may not suit a more contemporary home. The vertical style is a very traditional one and won’t bring a modern appeal to your garden.
If you have an older home and are looking for a more traditional look then vertical fencing panels may actually be the better choice. However, our composite boards have a natural, wood-grain finish and can complement a more traditional home perfectly.
Vertical fences tend to leave more gaps in between the boards than horizontal ones do. This will result in less privacy within your garden and means that external views into it won’t be blocked.
The upside of this is that more light will penetrate through vertical fences which can give your garden a more open and expansive feel. Ultimately, which you prefer will depend on whether you’d rather have more privacy or a more open feel.
Repairs & replacements
As vertical fence panels come pre-built it means that they are much harder to repair than horizontal slats. Often, if the damage is substantial the entire panel needs to be replaced.
This can be very costly and much more time-consuming than carrying out repairs on a single fence board.
Weight of the panels
Horizontal panels are very heavy which makes them difficult to carry and manoeuvre into place during installation. This makes it very hard to install them by yourself and you will either have to ask someone to help you or hire a contractor.
Vertical composite fence panels are much lighter due to their honeycomb structure. This makes them easier to install and transport. However, if they come as a single panel you would still need some help to install them.
What is the longest-lasting type of horizontal slat fencing?
An aluminium slat fence is regarded as being the longest-lasting type as aluminium fences usually last for around 50 years. The main issue with aluminium slats is that they require a significant amount of maintenance to prevent them from rusting.
Unlike steel or aluminium slats, composite slats are very low-maintenance and require very little care in order for them to retain their longevity.
Are horizontal fences more expensive than vertical fences?
The price difference between horizontal and vertical fences depends on the type of material that you’re using. If you’re installing a wooden fence then using horizontal slats will usually be more expensive.
This is because you’ll need to use high-quality wood that’s very sturdy to make sure that it doesn’t begin to sag in the middle over time.
If you’re using composite to construct your fence then there will be no differences in price as all composite boards are durable enough to withstand sagging. Our composite boards are £15.31 per board making them one of the most affordable options on the market.
How far apart should my fence posts be for a horizontal fence?
When installing a horizontal slatted fence you should make sure that the posts are no more than six feet apart from each other. This will reduce the risk of the boards sagging in the middle over time and will give the boards enough support to be sturdy.
If you already have concrete posts installed at your property then they should have the correct spacing for you to be able to slot your boards in between. If you’re installing new posts then you will need to take careful measurements to make sure they’re properly spaced.
Can I use deck boards instead of fence boards?
Some people prefer to use wooden deck boards when building a horizontal fence instead of fencing boards. This is because deck boards are thicker than fence boards and so tend to be more durable.
However, there is no need to do this if you’re using composite fence boards as these are just as durable and long-lasting as composite deck boards.
Depending on the posts you have in your garden wooden deck boards may actually be too thick to use in which case you’ll have to stick to using wooden fence boards.
Explore Ecoscape’s Exciting Range Of Composite Fencing Boards Today
Our range of composite fencing boards comes in easy-to-install modules that slot on top of each other in between existing posts. We also have a range of top rails, bottom rails, post caps, base plates and posts so that you can build a complete system.
Our boards come in 5 contemporary colours and all have a 20-year warranty so that you’re secure in the knowledge that they’ll last for a very long time. So, if you’re ready to install long-lasting fencing in your garden then order your free quote or sample today.