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The Fence Post

How To Install Snow & Sand Fence - Guidelines

March 16, 2009 | by Frank Langone

4 Foot Fences--Recommended Guidelines wood slat snow and sand fence

  • Fences should be as long as possible.
  • Install with a bottom gap of 6 in. under the fence.
  • Steel posts should be on 8 ft. centers.
  • End posts should be 6 ft. or less from the adjacent post and braced.
  • Wood picket snow/sand fence should be pulled taut to at least 250 lb/ft.
  • Synthetic fences should be pulled taut at tensions specified by manufacturer.
  • Plastic fences should be sandwiched between two 2" x 2" boards wired tightly to the steel post at the center and at 6" from each edge.

Height and Bottom Gapplastic snow fence

  • Height is the most important factor in fence design.
  • It has the greatest influence on particle trapping efficiency, storage capacity, and cost.
  • Adding 6 in. to a 4-ft. fence increases its capacity by 30%.
  • Characteristics of the fencing material, such as porosity and size and shape of openings, are relatively unimportant.
  • The gap between the bottom of the fence and the ground increases the height and capacity of a snow fence.
  • The bottom gap reduces snow deposition close to the fence.
  • A gap larger than 8" may be desirable in locations where the fence may become buried.


  • Steel studded T or U posts can support wooden slat or plastic snow fences.
  • Posts for a 4' fence should be spaced 8' apart.
  • Posts must be designed to withstand wind loads, and allow proper tensioning of fencing materials.
  • Plastic snow/sand fences require tensions as high as 250 pounds per foot of height.
  • Posts at ends or corners should be braced longitudinally.
  • Curved fence lines are undesirable - the tensioning forces tend to pull down the fence.
  • The force that the wind exerts on a fence depends on the wind speed, density of the air, upwind topography and ground cover, and the height and porosity of the fence.

Wood Sand & Snow Fencewood snow fence

  • Wood snow fence has slats 1-1/2" wide, held together with double strands of twisted wires.
  • Porosity is typically about 60%.
  • Available with red oxide stain or natural unstained finish.

Plastic Sand & Snow Fenceplastic snow fence

  • Most plastic fences, such as Nordic Plus II by Tenax, are made from black or orange polyethylene.
  • Plastic fencing has high tensile strength, but it can be cut and is susceptible to abrasion.
  • Fence must be well secured to posts.
  • Fencing should be tensioned to the manufacturer's specification.
  • End posts must be adequately braced to allow tensioning of the fence.
Read our blog article "Snow & Sand Fences - Why They Work".


Information was taken, in part, from the Strategic Highway Research Program by The National Research Council. For more extensive and in-depth information about snow fences.

Topics: snow fence, sand fence

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