Using pre-made fence panels is a commonly considered idea by homeowners and DIY enthusiasts alike. This is because it is thought to cut down on the installation time and provide a similar quality product as if you built the fence one board at a time. They are also readily available from big box retailers like Home Depot, Lowes, and Menards.
The primary problem with the pre-made panels is that they are not made to the same quality as a reputable fence company near you would be installing. It is most common to see these panels made with 2x3 rails instead of 2x4 rails, smaller width and thickness pickets, and non-galvanized nails. The issue with this is that using less than adequate rail supports will cause your panels to sag over time and allow them to be more susceptible to failure during high winds and heavy snow that our Minnesota winters bring.
Another issue with the pre-made panels is the pickets. Fencing pickets have a standard width of 5.5 inches to 6 inches with a normal thickness of ⅝-¾. When installing pickets smaller than this you run the risk of having more cracking and splitting happening as the boards dry out. Lastly, by using nails that do not have the proper corrosion resistance, you will see streaking develop on your fence. This is caused by the tannins in lumber reacting to the non-coated metal.
Overall, these factors should be considered when weighing the pros and cons of using pre-made fence panels on your next fence. As a leading fence contractor team in the Twin Cities metro area, our team encourages you to contact us as soon as you are thinking about your new fence. We will happily assist you with every aspect of planning, materials, and construction.