Building a Slatted Screen Fence

Slatted Screens (or horizontal fences) are simple structures and most can be built using a few simple tools and without any specialist carpentry skills.

The most difficult part of building any screen is setting the posts, and this needs to be done regardless of whether you are building a screen using pre-built panels or components.  Once this is done the rest of the job is very simple.  Individual battens are nailed or screwed directly to the posts, leaving a suitable gap in between each board (typically 19mm) to create the slatted effect.


How to build a Western Red Cedar slatted screen fence

Install 90x90mm posts - these provide the main structure of the fence and are usually set in the ground in concrete at intervals with around 1.83m (6ft) centres. This can be increased or decreased slightly depending on your screen board lengths.

Typically a 1.83m high fence uses 2.44m posts, setting approximately 600mm of the post into the ground with concrete.



Using 1.83m or 3.66m slatted screen boards is advised as it makes it easier to keep a balanced appearance with posts.

Install each screen board directly onto the post, starting at the bottom. Fix each post using stainless steel nails, ensuring they are straight using a spirit level.





To create a uniform gap within proportion, an 18-20mm space is recommended between boards. A simple trick is to balance the face of a loose board on top of the fixed board, then fasten the next board above this, removing the loose length once completed.



Repeat the process. If your first board is square then the remaining screen boards should automatically follow suit, though it is always good practice to check as you go along.





For extra stability and to help keep the screens straight use a vertical 1.83m batten at the midpoint between posts, or between each 800mm span for wider panels, fix with one nail per batten.





Optional finishing - Once all screen boards have been installed, fasten a 94mm trim board vertically to cover any nailing. Nail the trim board at the top, middle and bottom to secure. Whilst not necessary, this creates the slatted panel effect and hides joints between boards or fastenings.