View Full Version : Deck rail w/ livestock panels.... details?

David Meiland
06-03-2010, 04:04 PM
Have a request here for a deck railing with what we call "horse panel" (heavy 4" x 4" wire mesh) as the infill panels. The usual detail is to set your posts, set your bottom rails between posts, cut the panels to size, and then use a bunch of 1x2 as stops, installed from both sides, to capture the panel. After a while the space between the stops along the bottom is filled with leaf litter and moisture. I just finished repairing someone's railing that was built with tempered glass and stops, and the stops have trapped an impressive amount of water and rotted the whole thing out.

I'm debating running dadoes in the sides of the posts to catch the ends of each panel, and using some kind of split bottom rail detail, maybe a 2x3 on each side, up on edge, screwed together to sandwich the panel. Hopefully this would stay fairly clean and last longer than the usual water trap.

Another approach might be to dado the bottom rails and then drill drain holes out thru the bottoms of the dadoes every so often.

Or.... simply drill the ~1/4" holes @ 4" OC in the bottom rail that allow the panels to sit there. Each hole would be a weak point....

Anyone got good ideas for stuff like this?

06-03-2010, 08:31 PM
This seems like a good place for some of that PVC stock. Get some 3/4x3/4, drill holes partway through every 4" and picture frame the grid. Then set in place and nail or screw through the PVC into the rail.

06-03-2010, 08:33 PM
Hey- if someone's got a CNC up there you could probably drop of a sheet of Azek and they could mill it up while you drank a cup of coffee, then back to the site.

Or you just set up a grunt with a drill press that you've pre-set to drill 1/2" deep holes and marked out 4" story pole for them to register off of.

06-05-2010, 12:43 AM
Have a request here for a deck railing with what we call "horse panel" (heavy 4" x 4" wire mesh) as the infill panels.

Is the wire stiff enough for the sphere test? Or is it just a short drop?

David Meiland
06-05-2010, 08:48 AM
It's actually a drop right into a pond. The wires are approx. 3/16" thick and the panels are very stiff.

Allan Edwards
06-05-2010, 08:56 AM

Isn't the panel (we call it cattle panel) stiff enough and the wire thick enough so that you could just staple it into the cross pieces, top and bottom? Without the 1x2.

06-05-2010, 09:41 AM
I have done about five of these. I always use steel square tubing for the posts. The utilitarian style is 2"x 2" posts with the panels bolted to the backside of the post (1/4" x 1" flat for a stiffener). This is usually where the is no access to the back. Then galvanized channel for the railing. The deck style is 4" x 4" tubing and the panels are cut to fit between the posts and then use 1/4" x 1" sandwiching the panels to the post like a narrow piece of channel. I have used both wood and channel for the railing on these. They tend to be expensive for the client but it seems popular right now.


06-05-2010, 12:49 PM
What about sandwiching the wire between two 2x4's (upright) on the bottom? Then you'd have drainage, but strength. You could use 2x2's top and sides. Not much reveal, but strong and easy.

David Meiland
06-05-2010, 02:20 PM
The panels are strong enough to be self-supporting, for the most part. I'm going to go with the sandwich detail at the bottom... rip a 2x6 in half and use one half on each side. The panels will be fastened to at the bottom rail, but will sit in dadoes on the sides and top with no fasteners.

I've done some railings with metal posts but this is a northwest shingle style house and they want want cedar.

06-05-2010, 06:24 PM
Please post some pictures when you are done. It sounds interesting.

06-05-2010, 09:53 PM
My brother in law has made these with drilled holes even in the posts, installing post, panel, post, panel, etc. Very clean but he says the panels are not dead on 4" OC and it's kind of a pain.
Naturally they call it pig panel since that's different from everyone else's name. I'm not even sure it's the same stuff actually. Only seen it once around here and never used it.

David Meiland
06-05-2010, 11:16 PM
I called it livestock panel in my post but locally we call it horse panel or hog panel, and yeah, the 4" OC thing is only a rough idea.

Dick Hackbarth
06-06-2010, 06:24 PM
Set your posts and bot. rails, and measure exact panel sizes needed. You can get stl. bar stock channels 1.25" or 1.5" wide, with .5" wide flanges, by .125" or .188" thick. Make a four sided frame of these channels, with the flanges point out to ultimately contact the wood posts and rails. Cut your 4"x4"x3/16" round wire mesh with the first horiz. wire 3"+/- form the rails, and the first vert. wires 3"+/- form the posts, thus max. adjustment without looking too far out of whack. You can use the actual wire mesh panel to mark the individual channels for drilling since the 4x4 is not exact. When you drill you can weld the wires on the inside of the channels (legs pointing out) so that the welds will be hidden. Sand blast and paint all stl. Screw this frame to the posts and rails. Rip the 2x bot. rail top surface with two slopes to drain; and same with the top rail. In addition, dado the bot. of the top rail to receive the top frame channel. Install the top rail last.

You could do essentially the same thing with 1.5"x2" wooden frame. Rip the top of the bot. frame piece to drain. Cut the 4x4 mesh as above. Set it on a work bench, with proper height blocking, for wires to be at mid-width of frame pieces, and hammer tap the frame pieces to it to locate drill holes. For the bot. frame piece only drill .25" holes for .188" wire, otherwise drill .188" holes. In the bot. frame piece insert wire 1.5" for the 2" depth and inject epoxy or caulking from the bottom until it fills the hole around the wire.