Understanding Wood Grade and Fence Quality

For natural beauty on a budget, wood fence can’t be beat. It remains a popular choice for cost-effective, earth-friendly fencing that will blend into virtually any environment. 

But like any natural material, lumber’s appearance is variable, and no two boards will be the same. At AVO we rely on a system of wood grades that creates standards to ensure that the structural integrity and appearance aligns with the intended use of the product.

Whether you are a contractor or homeowner, understanding wood grade and fence quality can help you strategically plan and design a fence that better meets your aesthetic standards and budget.

Read on to learn what different wood grades mean and how you can use multiple grades to save money without scrimping on appearance or quality:

Types of Wood Grade

Wood is graded based on how it will be used. The fewer knots and defects, the higher the grade and the more expensive it will be. The appearance quality of the boards you choose will make all the difference in the way your finished fence looks. At AVO, we offer three categories of wood grade:

  • Premium Screen Panels - This lumber is graded for the same appearance on both faces (sides) and edges. Solid knots (no holes) add interest to this type of fence.
  • #2 Screen Panels - This lumber grade allows limited defect characteristics on both faces and edges. Up to four knotholes (no bigger than ½”) allowed for pickets and boards, up to five soft knot holes for rails.
  • Economy Screen Panels - The economy grade has greater limiting characteristics and is the lowest cost. Up to three knotholes (no bigger than 1”) allowed for pickets and boards, up to five soft knot holes for rails. It should also be noted that economy grade are stock panels that are made on the machine.

In addition to measuring knotholes, all wood grade specifications include criteria for bark, wane (curvature), nails, spaces, and dry rot. 

Choosing a Wood Grade

Since price can double from one grade to the next, it’s important not to buy a better grade of lumber than needed. In fencing, a lower grade can be perfectly acceptable, depending on placement and usage.

At AVO, we allow you to select the very best wood pieces to your liking. We can help you determine where higher grade vs. lower grade panels can be placed to get you the best bang for your buck.

For Homeowners: It is important that you and your contractor agree on what your wood fence will look like when completed. You should expect the contractor to only reject those boards that do not fall within the grading rules for your intended use.

For Contractors: It is important to help educate your customers so that they understand how their choices will affect the look and price of their wood fence. We can help you strategize to provide the best quote for your next wood fence project.

Start planning your wood fence project today! Call us at or visit us at any one of our 3 convenient locations and we will be happy to assist you.

You can also submit a “Request for Quote” (RFQ) online at anytime!

More than your local fence company. AVO Fence & Supply knows there is always more to learn when it comes to the latest tips,technology and professionalism in the fencing industry. We’re taking that expertise and sharing it here, to help you grow your fencing business. Start planning your next fencing project today at AVO Fence & Supply.


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