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Making and Using Batter Boards

Batter boards are used to help ensure your project is level and square. These projects include fences, patios, decks, concrete pads, foundations and more.

Making Batter Boards

Batter boards.

Make batter boards (two stakes and a horizontal cross piece) out of furring strips and screws. Placed at the corners of your layout, batterboards support the layout strings and allow you to easily make adjustments by simply moving the strings.

Drive a batterboard into the ground to mark where the project starts. Tie mason’s string to the batterboard to mark the line where the edges will be set.

Good to Know

If your project is a square or rectangle, make sure the measurements between the corners are accurate and match your project plan.

Checking for Square

checking batter boards for square.

Verify that the layout is square using the three-four-five method.

  1. From an outside corner, measure 3 feet along one line, and make a mark on the string.
  2. Measure 4 feet along the other line, and make a mark on the string.
  3. Measure the diagonal distance between the two marks and adjust the stakes as needed so the distance is 5 feet.
  4. Repeat the squaring process at all corners.

For more information, watch our videos on how batterboards are built and squared in a fence project and deck layout.  


Before beginning any excavation, call 811 to check for underground utilities.

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