Decide how tall you want the fence to be. The standard height of a privacy fence is either 6 or 8 feet, with 6 feet being by far the most popular. You can choose any size, but keep in mind that the taller the fence, the more money it will cost to build. If the framing has already been installed, you will be limited to the slat size for which the frame was designed. Measure one of the vertical posts and buy the slats that are the same height as the posts.
Calculate how many slats you will need. Most privacy-fence slats are 5-1/2 inches wide, so you can divide that number into the total length of the fence in inches. Remember to buy several extra slats to allow for cutting errors. For example, if you were putting up a 150-foot fence, you would multiply that by 12 to get 1,800 inches. Then divide that by the width of the slats, 5-1/2 inches, for a total of 327 slats needed. To allow for errors and future board replacements, you might consider buying, for example, 340 slats instead. This formula works for most standard fence designs, in which the slats cover the posts. If you have an alternative design, remember to take the width of the posts into account when making your calculations.
Visit your local hardware or home-improvement store to see their selection of privacy slats. Most slats will come in different types of wood, ranging from low-cost pine to high-quality cedar. The functionality will be the same regardless of the wood type, but various woods will look better than others. This decision should be based entirely upon your personal taste and budget, but remember that nicer woods will usually cost more. When you've made your selection, relay your measurements and calculations to the store to make sure you're buying the right slats for your needs. If you don't want to haul the slats home, most stores will deliver them to you for a small fee.
- Shop around at several stores to make sure you're getting the best price.