Cedar Picket Fence on Front Steps

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Project by L posted 04-10-2010 02:48 PM 5019 views 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

We have a long set of front steps that have had a lattice railing/fence on each side that was about 15 years old and started looking tired. I decided to take down the lattice but retain the PT posts and put up cedar pickets on dedar rails. I love the look of a little fleur-de-lis top on the pickets rather than a dog-ear or a simple pointed top.

Sure it’s a lot more work using a router to cut the tops of 140 pickets, but I think the look is worthwhile the effort.

So there’s the new look and the old and the look without any railing or garden on the sides of the steps at all.

Also, I show a pic of the picket spacing jig I’ve long used, although I decided to craft a new one here also for this project. It is a full 2” wide and has shims of varius thicknesses, 1/16, 1/8, 3/16 up to 3/8. How I use it is to determin how many pickets best fit into the run of fencing that leaves between 2” and about 2-1/2” spcing in between. I subtract out that number times 2.875”, the width of each picket. What remains is for the spaces between the pickets. I add 1 to the number I used for the number of pickets and divide that into the remainder. That tells me how wide each space should be and I shim accordingly. Works like a champ.

It doesn’t matter that each run may be slightly different in size. Uniformityt within each run is what matters. The eye can’t tell 1/4” difference between one section of fencing fromt he next.

The key was uniformity along the top, hug the ground along the bottom and even spacing between the pickets.

3 comments so far

View lazar's profile


87 posts in 4060 days

#1 posted 04-12-2010 09:17 PM

Very nice.


View L's profile


118 posts in 4840 days

#2 posted 04-12-2010 09:34 PM

TY. I reused the oldposts from the lattace work wich saved a lot of effort to remove the old ones and install new ones. They also have a nice tedatil to their top so I left them in. I’ve just added a pic of those posts.

View falegniam's profile


335 posts in 3725 days

#3 posted 09-17-2010 04:03 AM

good choice with the cedar. the fence looks great. we have the same type of step in italy, they like building long treads, and short risers. i think they look good, and they are easy to climb. especially for the older folks.

i will take your formula and try to trump my sister, the math teacher hehe
she’s usually pretty handy when i need some calculations done on a project, but i’m curious as to see what she comes up with on this one.

on one project i asked her to calculate heat duct area from a 6” dia. to an equivalent rectangle, she was very very close, but i cheated and could get up to 10 decimal places of accuracy. she’s very good.

again, nice work on the fence, i bet the pickets will weather in and blend in nice with the posts.

-- If you work you eat - If you don't work, you eat, drink, and sleep.

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