Board on Board Fence

Greg Spevack

May 11, 2023

What is a board on board fence?

A board on board fence is a type of privacy fence constructed with an overlapping pattern of vertical pickets. This type of fence conceals the gaps left between the boards due to shrinkage. The first layer of pickets consists of 6” wide boards installed with a 1 ½” gap. The second layer consists of 4” wide boards installed to overlap the first layer and cover the gaps.

Pros and Cons of Board on Board Fences


  • Lasting privacy is the main advantage of a board-to-board fence over other wood privacy fences. With a typical stockade privacy fence, wood shrinkage causes gaps between the pickets that will compromise privacy. Due to the overlapping pickets, no gaps will ever be visible on a board-to-board fence.
  • More visual interest is created by the texture of the overlapping boards.


  • A board on board fence will cost more because the boards overlap by 1″ to 1 1/2″. You will need up to 30% more pickets for a board on board fence than a stockade style fence. If you plan to finish your fence you will need more supplies to cover the additional pickets. The vertical boards will need to be finished before installation to cover the overlapping edges.

Types of Board on Board Fences


wood board on board fence in florida
Wood board on board fence with detailed top cap

Wood is by far the most common material used to construct board on board fences. Popular wood choices for installation of a board on board wood fence in Southwest Florida include:

  • Cypress
  • Pressure treated pine
  • Eastern White Cedar
  • Western Red Cedar
  • Redwood


vinyl board on board fence florida
Vinyl board on board fence with post caps

Vinyl is the option if you want a board on board privacy fence, but you want to be sure it will last.

Vinyl offers more durability and requires much less maintenance. A vinyl board on board fence won’t rot or crack due to the heat and humidity of South Florida weather. Insects also do not like to chew on vinyl.

Vinyl fencing can be cleaned with regular soap and water when it starts to look dirty. No expensive and time intensive refinishing will be needed.


composite board on board fence florida
Composite board on board fence built with Trex®

You can now obtain composite board on board fence panels manufactured by companies such as Trex.  Composite fences offer one of the most durable fencing materials. 

Composite fencing is manufactured from recycled plastic and wood fiber.  This creates a strong, durable, and dense material.   The plastic exterior resists sun fading, can’t be eaten by insects, and resists moisture and mold. A composite board on board fence is a great choicefor our Southwest Florida climate.  

The other big advantage of composite fencing is the wide range of textures and colors that look just like wood.  Get the look of a wood privacy fence without the durability and maintenance issues.

Board on Board Fences with Top Caps

Nearly all board on board fences will be finished with a top cap and side trim on top of the fence.  Most board on board fence panels will be manufactured with a cap and trim.

The top cap is the horizontal board laid flat on the top edge of the fence. On a wood fence, the top cap keeps moisture from reaching the exposed ends of the vertical pickets. The ends of the pickets absorb water more quickly than the surface.

The side trims are attached to the vertical surface of the fence just under the top cap. Side trims can be on one side or both sides of the fence.

You can add even more aesthetic interest with a lattice fence topper. A narrow section of lattice runs the length of the fence.

Board on Board Fence Panels

Wood and vinyl board on board fences are available as pre-built fence panels. These panels will typically be six feet high and eight feet wide and ready for installation.

Horizontal Board on Board Fence

horizontal board on board fence florida
Horizontal board on board fence with stepped installation

A horizontal board on board fence places the pickets horizontally attached to the posts.  Fences with horizontal boards have been gaining in popularity for their sleek modern look.

Note that quality lumber must be used to build a horizontal board on board fence. You do not want the horizontal pickets to sag in the middle.

Composite and vinyl horizontal fence panels in a board on board style are a viable option.

Board on Board fence vs Side by Side

Board on board fences have overlapping pickets while a side by side fence will have pickets installed edge to edge. A stockade style privacy fence is an example of a side by side fence. As discussed above, a board on board fence will never have a gap while pickets installed side by side will shrink and expose a gap over time.

Board on Board Fence vs Shadow Box Fence

A board on board fence has overlapping pickets installed on the same side of the horizontal rail. A shadowbox fence alternates the pickets on the opposite sides of the fence rail. While a board on board fence will never have a gap a shadow box creates gaps as part of the design.

Is board on board fence more expensive?

As mentioned above, a board on board fence will cost more because the pickets overlap. You will need to calculate how many additional pickets will be needed for the length of your fence.  Board on board fence panels will cost somewhat more than traditional stockade fence panels.

How long will a board on board fence last?

The durability of a board on board fence will depend on your choice of materials.


Board on board fences are a popular type of privacy fence for their visual interest and aesthetic appeal. When deciding between different styles, always consider what best suits your needs and budget before making any final decisions!

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