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Fence Panels: The Complete Guide

29 January 2020

Fence panels are a hugely popular choice for many Trade Professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike due to the fact they are simple to install and the instant screen created is visually pleasing.

Fence panels come either Dip Treated or Pressure Treated:

• Dip Treated: The panel is simply ‘dipped’ into the preservative solution and out again
• Pressure Treated: The panel is put into a sealed chamber and the preservative treatment is forced into the timber under high pressure

While Dip Treated panels are a cheaper alternative due to the fact the panels can be treated faster during production, we strongly advise using Pressure Treated panels wherever possible due to a greatly enhanced life expectancy.

Traditional Lap Panel

Possibly the best known fence panel on the market, Lap Panels (also known as Larchlap Panels or Overlap Panels) have been around for well over 50 years and are still incredibly popular today. One of the key reasons for this popularity is as a result of the cost effective price point.

So what makes a good quality Lap Panel?

• Fully Framed – Look for panels that have a solid top/bottom frame (rather than Split frame or partial frame) as this prevents the panel bowing and ‘popping’ out from between the posts
• Number of Vertical Bracing Battens – Look for a minimum of four and make sure both sides are the same (known as ‘double sided’ or ‘double braced’) rather than four on one side and only two or three on the other 
• Treatment – Pressure Treated panels are a must if you want the panels to last!

Traditional Closeboard Panel

Closeboard Panels are a great way of achieving the appearance of traditional closeboard fencing but much faster and easier! While marginally more costly than Lap Panels, well built Closeboard Panels will outlast Traditional Lap Panels and many people prefer the visual appearance. 

So what makes a good quality Closeboard Panel Panel?

• Framing Timber – the framing timbers and horizontal cross rails should be a minimum of 40mm x 40mm as this is a common area of compromise by manufacturers in order to reduce costs
• Cladding Boards – it’s not uncommon for very thin slats (sometimes no more than 6-8mm thickness) to be used however we strongly advise sourcing Closeboard Panels that use proper Feather Edge slats which are cut from a 2ex 22mm board
• Treatment – Again, Pressure Treated panels are a must if you want the panels to last!

Salisbury Screen Panel/Trellis Top Screen Panel

Moving towards the decorative end of the Fence and Screen Panel options, the Salisbury Screen Panel (also known as ‘Trellis Top Screen Panel’) is another popular choice for many homeowners thanks to the stylish curved top finish and the integrated decorative lattice infill.

Key Benefits:

• Framing Timber – while larger section size timber is used for stability, it has a planed finish to blend seamlessly with the refined appearance 
• Slat Construction – due to the tight ‘hit & miss’ style of the solid lower slats, this gives a solid screen but allows air movement through to prevent damage during the wilder weather
• Vertical Battens – these are well spaced to help maintain rigidity, massively reducing timber movement in hot weather and ‘panel droop’ over time
• Treatment – Pressure Treated for maximum life expectancy

Kenley Slatted Panel

Designed very much with the homeowner in mind, these Contemporary Kenley Slatted Screen Panels are hugely popular due to the impressive visual effect in and around a wide selection of properties and the quality of construction. 
Key Benefits:

• Framing Timber – as with the Salisbury Screen Panels, while larger section size timber is used for stability, it has a planed finish to blend seamlessly with the refined appearance 
• Slat Construction – the same tight ‘hit & miss’ style of slats is used as with the Salisbury Screen Panels, giving a solid screen but allowing air movement through to prevent damage during the wilder weather
• Vertical Battens – again, these use the same spacing as the Salisbury Screen Panels, maintaining rigidity and massively reducing timber movement in hot weather/‘panel droop’ over time
• Treatment – Pressure Treated for maximum life expectancy

Mayfair Slatted Screen Panel

These premium quality Slatted Screen Panels are a fantastic addition to any property looking to enhance the outdoor areas. The sleek, contemporary finish adds a real ‘Wow’ factor while being quick to install.

Key Benefits:

• Premium Finish – Both the vertical framing timber and the horizontal slats are Planed Spruce timber for a high quality finish
• Hidden Fixings – The horizontal slats are fixed to the vertical framing timber from behind so there are no visible fixings 
• Sturdy Design – Four vertical framing timbers are spaced just 600mm apart and fixed to every batten for maximum rigidity 
• Treatment – Pressure Treated for maximum life expectancy

Luxury Chelsea Panel

The Chelsea Panel is a very high quality panel to add a real touch of luxury to your home! Crafted to provide you with privacy while at the same time being suitable for a wide variety of properties thanks to the contemporary style, this is a fantastic panel.

Key Benefits:

• Premium Finish – Quality tongue and groove cladding boards securely fixed inside the planed spruce outer frame
• Sturdy Design – The heavy duty outer frame has an additional centre support on the rear of the panel for maximum strength 
• Species & Treatment – Pressure Treated Scandinavian Spruce is used to minimise panel variation while giving optimal life expectancy through protection against wood rot
• Universal – These panels can be rotated by 90 degrees to give a horizontal tongue & groove effect if desired

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