What Are The Typical Parts Of A Fence

key elements fence structure

You sit outside in your backyard in Ramsey, MN, admiring the neighbor’s new vinyl fence. You wonder what all the parts of the fence are. You had watched the contractors install it but weren’t sure if you would know what those parts were or even their purpose if someone quizzed you. To you, they stick sticks in the ground and connect them with other sticks. Does each of these parts of a fence serve a purpose? 

This past year, 23 to 100 people searched for “fence parts” every week in Minnesota on Google. Perhaps you wanted a fence but feared it would struggle against multiple Minnesota winters. The idea of not enjoying your fence for years has put you off from building your fence. Here at Northland Fence, we have so much confidence that our fence parts will last that we offer a lifetime warranty on vinyl and 15 years on all other materials. We also offer a 10-year labor warranty on everything. But most of all, we like to inform our customers in our blog about different topics about fences. Today, we are going to discuss the parts of a fence.

Main Fence Components 

A fence comprises several parts that have a purpose in your overall fence installation. Without one, the fence falls apart or loses its appeal. Whether your fence installation project is a vinyl fence, chain link fence, or ornamental fence, understanding how each piece works can give you a better understanding of the mechanisms of your fence. Because Minnesota winters can be rough on fences, it can also give you a better idea of what needs future repair if something happens.

what are the typical parts of a fence

Fence Posts

Fence posts are essential to any fence. They are the key to a long-lasting fence. If the posts are weak or poorly constructed, your fence may not stay intact. Adding fence post caps can make your fence posts add a creative element to your fence, but they are optional to the overall structure of your fence. 

Vinyl fence posts are typically thick, vertical structures. They not only provide stability for the fence, but they also hold the rails and pickets in place. Several types of fence posts may be required to construct a vinyl fence. One type of fence post necessary for vinyl fences is an end post. These posts are used between gates or at the ends of fencing sections. Corner posts are similar to end posts but work best for 90-degree angles, such as in corners. Sometimes, people will use gate posts instead of end posts for their fence gates because gate posts can support the weight of a gate due to being sturdier than standard posts. 

Typically, if a post is not attached to a fence panel or the physical gate itself, it is a blank post. These are used opposite the hinged side of the gate and have the latch receiver attached to them. Vinyl fence posts can also come with accessories such as post caps and post skirts that allow your fence to stand out amongst your neighbors. Post caps give your fence a unique look and prevent water from entering the post. Post skirts can provide a decorative option for your fence. 

Ornamental fence posts are typically square and put into the ground. They are what the fence panels hang from. Their primary purpose is to support the overall structure of your fence. You can also put post caps on your ornamental fence posts to enhance what your fence looks like. They come in several designs to match the appeal you are looking for, such as a ball or a triad. These caps protect your fence posts as well as cover rough metal edges. 

Two types of fence posts make up a chain-link fence: line posts and terminal posts. Terminal posts are in areas where the chain link fence stops for any reason, such as at corners and gates. They are wider than line posts and support the majority of the weight of the fence. Line posts are used between terminal posts and are typically smaller. Their purpose is to keep the chain link mesh from drooping or falling. Terminal post caps do not have rails or wires that go through them; they can be acorn or dome-shaped. They are found at corners, ends, and gates. Line posts can also have caps. However, they typically have a loop on top that allows the rail or wire to go through. 

Fence Pickets or Mesh

Fence pickets and meshes connect between your fence posts. These collections of pickets or meshes are known as fence panels. They come in several styles, giving your fence its aesthetic design. 

Vinyl fence pickets are usually vertical structures between the posts; however, they can also be horizontal, depending on the style. They are often not in the ground and are smaller than the fence posts. However, they can come in a range of designs and sizes. Styles can include lattice, picket, and privacy. Each style looks different and depends on how the pickets are between the fence posts. 

Ornamental fence panels are typically a combination of horizontal rails and vertical pickets. The horizontal components are attached to the posts with screws and brackets. The rails hold the structure together. The vertical pickets are also known as spires and provide the center of the fence’s design. Picket castings can be attached to the spires for decoration purposes. People put these surrounding each spire for a unique structure.

Chain link fence meshes are the most visible parts of the fence. It attaches to rails, wires, and tension bars, which connect to tension bands that hold it in place with the posts. The mesh attaches to these parts with fence ties that hold everything together. Sometimes, people will use tension wire clips to attach the tension wire to the fence mesh. 



Fence trims protect your fence from the weather in Ramsey, Minnesota. Trim can make your fence look more uniform and hide gaps under it, giving it aesthetic appeal. If your neighbor has a dog snooping under your fence, a trim can prevent them from seeing under your fence. This prevention can provide you with an extra sense of security. Trim can also offer extra fence stability as they line your fence panels. 

key elements fence structure

Fence Gates

Your fence’s gate is arguably one of the most essential parts of your fence. They provide the opening to your fence. They can prevent or allow people, animals, or things to go in and out of your fenced-off area or be a decoration that adds to your yard. They might even serve both purposes. Different fences often have various gates that work best for their style. 

Vinyl fence gates can come as either a single or double gate. They will also match the style of your vinyl fence, allowing it to blend in with the rest of the fence. The matching style will enable you to maintain your fence’s aesthetic appearance. 

Ornamental fence gates can match the style of your fence, or they can add their personality decorations and arches. Finial tips are decorative tips you can add to the top of your gate to give it an iconic look. These gates can also be single or double. 

Chain link fence gates are much like vinyl fence gates in that they match the overall look of your fence. They typically come as either a single or double gate. Some people might install diagonal support beams or boards to help bear the weight of the gate and keep it from sagging.

Additional Fence Components

A fence often involves several screws and hinges throughout the fence’s design. These components keep the fence upright, especially in harsh weather found in Minnesota. The good news is having a contractor build your fence ensures that you don’t have to worry about any of these components and what they do.  All you have to do is sit back and appreciate your beautiful fence. Rest assured, your fence is safe and secure.

Located in Ramsey, MN, Northland Fence is the best-reviewed by far in Minneapolis. We always have supplies in stock for every part of your dream fence, and we never have hidden fees for those parts. For more information or to have your dream fence installed, call us at 763-316-4881.


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Whether you’re looking for a beautiful, maintenance-free vinyl privacy fence, a sturdy chain link fence, or a ornamental fence, we’re ready to show you why we’re Minnesota’s highest and best rated fence company.

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