How To Build A Timber Pailing Fence

A Timber paling fence is one of the most common fences built in Melbourne, we will show you how to build this timber fence yourself, feel free to email us at if you have any questions regarding the construction of this style of fencing

What Does a Timber Paling fence look like?

Standard Timber Paling Fence

Timber Fence Diagram Front
Timber Paling Fence Diagram Back

Dismantling your old Fence

This is fairly straight forward, cut the old fence into manageable sections so you can carry them, do not try and lift to much at once, slow and steady wins the race, when placing the fence on your trailer place the first section with the fence palings facing down, so your fence rails are facing up, the next section make sure the fence rails face down as so they rails lock into place and the palings are facing up, alternating this way will allow you to stack more on your trailer saving you tipping costs and time running to the tip back and forward.

Setting your Stringline

Once the old fence has been pulled down it is time to set your string line, find the front post hole, set your string line on the face of this post, where the old fence was, then go to the back and do the same, this will give you a straight line, make sure you pull the sting line VERY tight like it is almost going to break, this way there will be no sag in the line, not all the old fence holes will line up as fences move over time, you want majority of them to go fairly close to your string line however. – See diagram below

Setting out Timber Fencing holes

Marking out and Digging your Fence Holes

This is a very important step, you have now found your fence line, you want to mark your fence post hole, you want your fence posts a maximum of 2.7m apart, use some marking paint to mark where your fence posts will go, starting at the front of the property, your last hole you dig might be less than 2.7m this is perfectly fine.

Now you want to dig your holes for your fencing holes at 600mm deep, roughly 250mm in diameter, make sure you dig over the string line, so you can move your fence post to the stringline, this is so you can get your fence post as close to the string line as possible, within roughly 5mm of your stringline, ideally 2-3mm off your stringline so your fence is straight, if you’re not finishing the fence this day, make sure you pull the string line down, you do not want anyone tripping over your string line.

You now want to use 1/3 of a bag of cement per hole (around 6-7kg of GP Cement), put the cement into your hole you have dug, then put ¾ of a bucket of water and mix this very well, put your fence post into this hole and get the excess soil you dug out and put this around the fencing post, use your shovel to chop the soil and cement mixture up and down until you see the cement come to the top, repeat this until your cement and soil mixture is at the top, get a little more soil around the post and with your foot firmly press down into the hole until the fence post is fairly stable, use your level to level your post on all four sides making sure your fence post is straight and close to your stringline (without your post touching the stringline)

Leveling Hardwood Timber Fencing Posts

Setting up your fence for construction

Make sure your sting line is tight, very tight, as if there is any sagging in the sting line, your fence will look like it has a bow in it, you want to go to the first fence post in the ground and the front of the property and measure up 170mm off the ground put a nail in the fence post, then to the back again put a nail in your last fence post at 170mm also, put your string line under these nails and flick your string line, making sure it isn’t sticking on anything and it is nice and straight, then go through the fence and put a nail in each fencing post just under the stringline without touching your string line (see diagram), now you can pull your stringline down and put it away, you will no longer need this.

Fence Set out

If your ground is uneven

This is the same process as setting your plinth board on even ground, however if you find the stringline to be more than 50mm off the ground in certain spots you will need to adjust your fence line. You want to always follow the ‘lay of the land’, this may mean your fence might have some angles when you put your fence palings on your fence (see diagram), remember whatever you do when your setting your stringline is what your fence will look like at the end, so it is very important to get your stringline right when setting your plinth board out.

Uneven Ground For Fence

Marking your Fencing Rails and Cutting your Fence Posts

This is also important, this will make sure all your fence rails and tops of your fence posts are the same throughout your timber fence, use a timber fence paling as your template to make sure your timber fence rails and fence posts are all the same (See Diagram for measurements), sit the fence paling you have marked out on the nail you nailed into each fence post and with your timber paling (template) use these markings on your template to mark on your fence post, go through and mark all the fence posts, making sure you put a X on your check outs so you do not accidently cut the top of your post off.

Timber Fence Paling Template

Timber Fence Paling Template

Timber Fence Post View

Timber Fencing Post View

Cutting your Checkouts for your Fence Rails

It is important to set your circular saw to the right depth, you will have a guide on your saw which you can move up and down, release the nut/screw/handle on your saw to change your guard depth, get a rail and lay it flat, set your saw blade so it is just touching the other side of the rail, lock your saw off and check it on another couple of rails to make sure you have this correct, then you’re ready to cut your check outs.

Make sure you do not cut the top of your post line!! Cut all the check outs on the line you drew from your template, then one cut through the middle of the checkout, this will help it when you knock the check outs, out, cut all the checkouts then walk through with your hammer and knock the check outs, they will pop out with a little knock, some may be stubborn.

Once you have knocked out you now have to clean them up, grab a sharp chisel and chisel all the excess timber out so it is nice and clean, get a small piece of your fencing rail to check that each fencing rail will sit in your checkouts nice and clean

Once your fencing check outs are all nice and clean you now need to chop the tops of your fence posts, open your circular saw so it is fully opened the blade is as far as it can go and cut on the line on the angle where you have marked the top of the fence post, if your saw is not big enough to cut all the way through, use a hand saw and finish the cut off.

Nailing your timber Plinth Board

No it is time to nail your plinth board on, these are 150mm x 25mm, you will want to use 90mm framing nails, this step is very important, go to the first post and run your timber plinth board to the third fence post (as your Plinth board will be 5.4m in length) make sure the end of your plinth is nice and flush with the first post, lean it against the three fence posts and mark the plinth board so it sits half on the third post (see diagram), get your set square and mark a straight line, then cut the plinth board to suit and nail into your fencing post, using 3-4 90mm framing nails to nail the timber plinth board into your fencing post, carry on until you get to the end of the fence.

Timber Fencing Plinth

Nailing your fencing rails into your checkouts

This step is a little bit easier as your rails should sit into your fence checkouts, again, start from the front post, place your timber fencing rail into your checkouts, over three posts, mark the fencing rail so it sits in the centre of your fencing post, take your rail out and cut the rail to the right length, once cut to the right length you want to place the rail back into the checkouts you have cut into your fencing post and nail this into your fencing post using 90mm framing nails, where there is a join (where two rails meet) use two nails on each fencing rail, where the whole fencing rail runs fully through your fencing post use three nails, carry on until you have put all your fencing rails in

Timber Fencing Rails

Putting your Timber Palings onto your fence

This is the last stage of building your fence, placing the timber palings should be very easy if you have followed all the other steps correctly, there are two types on palings (under and overs), the under timber  paling is 150mm x 12mm and the over paling is 100mm x 12mm, first you need to put all of the under palings on, putting 1 nail in the top fencing rail and 1 nail in the bottom rail with a 50mm gap between each paling, use a level every so often to make sure your palings are nice and straight, once you have put all of the under timber palings on you can now put the over timber palings on, putting 2 nails in the middle fencing rail, two nails in the top fencing rail and two nails in the bottom fencing rail (See Diagram), if your plinth board is correct you will not have to trim any timber palings, just clean up and you have completed your treated pine timber paling fence

Timber Palings

What you need to build a timber paling fence

Here is a list of tools and materials you will need to build a timber paling fence, some of these items you might need to purchase others you can hire


  1. Hard wood Timber posts (125mm x 75mm)
  2. Treated Pine Fencing Rails (75mm x 50mm)
  3. Treated Pine Plinth Board (150mm x 25mm)
  4. Treated Pine Timber Palings (Under 150mm x 12mm)
  5. Treated Pine Timber Palings (Overs 100mm x 12mm)
  6. 90mm Framing nails (For Plinth Board and Fencing Rails)
  7. 50mm Paling nails
  8. Cement (GP Cement)


  1. Crowbar
  2. Shovel
  3. Stringline
  4. Level
  5. Circular Saw
  6. Hammer
  7. Chisel
  8. Set Square
  9. Pencil
  10. Framing Gun (Hire This)
  11. Paling Gun (Hire This)
  12. Air Compressor (Hire This)

Timber Fencing Contractors Melbourne *Warning*

With over a thousand fencing contractors in Melbourne alone, it can be easy to be caught out by a ‘cowboy’, this week alone we have pulled out a fence that was only completed 2 weeks ago by another fencing contractor.

Not only was this fence put in the wrong spot it was poorly built, the posts we not in the ground deep enough and our clients lost over 300mm of their land, with property in Melbourne being very expensive, loosing 300mm of land could potentially loose you thousands of dollars later on, in Victoria there are laws around adverse position; “In Victoria, adverse possession is covered by the Limitation of Actions Act 1958, the Transfer of Land Act 1958 and the common law. An adverse possession claim may come up in the context of a fencing dispute if a dividing fence has been in the wrong place for more than 15 years”.

While our client originally decided to go with a ‘cheaper’ company, they ended up paying for their fence twice, luckily we came out and pulled out the fence and replaced it on the correct boundary, everyone walked away happy, other than them having to pay for this fence twice.

This week we have also had another 4 phone calls with customers going ahead with cheaper quotes, only to have these fencing contractors run off with their deposits, unfortunately this is very common in the fencing industry as there are no licencing regulations and nothing to stop these fencing contractors taking your hard earned money and not turn up to complete any work

When deciding on a fencing contractor make sure you do your home work, search the company online, look at their reviews, ask to see some of their previous work (most reputable fencing companies will have a sign on their fence), ask how long they have been in business, get 3 quotes, if one quote is a lot cheaper than the other quotes ask yourself, is this too good to be true?

While every fencing contractor will ask for a deposit be wary with a fencing contractor that tells you to pay them the deposit when they turn up on the day, if they do not have any fencing materials with them to build your fence on that day, cancel the job! these people will ask for small amounts to ‘buy material’ never to be seen again.

Contact Us today to be sure that you are dealing with a reputable Fencing Contractor in Melbourne

Timber vs Colorbond

Having a hard time deciding which fence you should have installed?

There are many different styles of fencing to choose from, however there are really only two main types of boundary fences to choose from, timber or colorbond, when considering which is best suited to you there are a few crucial factors you need to decide on, that will define the lifespan of your fence

Once you have read this article you will have the confidence to decide which type of fencing is best suited to you, knowing that you have made the right choice


The ever changing weather in Melbourne can take a toll on your timber fence, with rain, hail, strong winds and our harsh summer sun, a timber fence can warp in these conditions, the rain of winter and heat of summer, timber expands and contracts, which will not give you the longevity of a colorbond fence

These elements are ineffective against colorbond, as it is naturally rust-proof So once your colorbond fence is up, it is no match to our harsh Australian climate


A timber fence will eventually break down from the ever changing seasons, repairs to your timber paling fence will become a necessity in years to come, whether you repair the fence yourself or pay someone to do it there will be some form of cost to you within 10 years of your timber fence being installed, you can oil, stain or paint your timber fence to withstand a lot of the weathering that will occur, however it is proven that a colorbond fence will out last a timber fence.

A colorbond fence installed correctly will require no repairs, no painting and is durable, lasting 20-30 years with no issues,


Timber fencing is the most cost effective fencing in the market, a colorbond fence is generally 30% more expensive than timber, however it last 100% longer than a timber fence.

While Colorbond is more expensive upfront, there are no ongoing costs with a colorbond fence, a colorbond fence is an investment.

The Environment

A colorbond fence is one less tree that is being cut down, timber fencing, while cheap, takes a toll on our forests, timber prices keep going up this is due to the supply and demand of timber that is going into the market.

While colorbond steel needs to be sourced out of a mine, you do not need to replace a colorbond fence as often as a timber fence, thus having less enviormental impact to our children and their childern.

How Long Will You Be In Your Property

This is the easiest way to work out which fence is best for you, if you are thinking about selling your property, or turning it into a rental property Timber Fencing is the way to go, it is affordable and will neaten your property up.

If you think you might be living in your property for more than 10 years, we would suggest a Colorbond Fence, this way you know this is the only time you will need to pay for a fence replacement, set and forget, no maintenance required.

Contact Us today to be sure that you are dealing with a reputable Fencing Contractor in Melbourne