How Much Does Fence Installation Cost? A Guide to Budgeting for Fencing

How Much Does Fence Installation Cost? A Guide to Budgeting for Fencing

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The cost to install a fence runs from cheap to expensive depending on multiple factors: how long it is, how tall, what it’s made from, if it’s on a hill or set in rocky ground, whether you hire a professional to install it or do it yourself.

An average yard has 150 linear feet of home fencing on the property line, so cost estimates will range from about $2,500 for a wood privacy fence, $2,100 for chain-link fencing, and $1,700 for a picket fence using mid-grade materials.

New Fence Cost Per Foot

A new fence costs a minimum of $1 and a maximum of $44 per foot with most homeowners spending $10 to $18 per linear foot for materials and installation. A wood picket fence costs $10 to $14 per foot, while a privacy fence ranges from $13 to $19, and a vinyl fence runs $15 to $30.

Fence Cost Per Foot
Type Cost Per Foot Average Cost of 150 LF
Wire $1 – $7 $150 – $1,050
Post and Rail $6 – $16 $900 – $2,400
Bamboo $6 – $12 $900 – $1,800
Wood Picket $10 – $14 $1,500 – $2,100
Panel $11 – $13 $1,650 – $1,950
Pool Fence $12 – $16 $1,800 – $2,400
Chain Link $9 – $30 $1,350 – $3,900
Split Rail $12 – $17 $1,800 – $2,550
Shadowbox $12 – $16 $1,800 – $2,400
Privacy $13 – $19 $1,950 – $2,850
Board on Board $16 – $22 $2,400 – $3,300
Wood $17 – $22 $2,550 – $3,300
Vinyl $15 – $30 $2,850 – $3,300
Composite $23 – $37 $3,450 – $5,550
Aluminum $24 – $32 $3,600 – $4,800
Metal $24 – $32 $3,600 – $4,800
Wrought Iron $24 – $44 $3,600 – $6,600

Fencing Cost Per Acre

The cost to fence 1 acre runs a minimum of $1,050 and a maximum of $33,400 with most homeowners spending an average price of $2,016 to $9,011. The cheapest backyard fence is barbed wire which costs as little as $1,050 an acre, wheres a split rail wood fence costs about $7,000 for 1 acre.

The larger your acreage, the less fencing material you need and the cheaper your price per acre will be. For a one acre square, you need 835 feet of fencing material, whereas 2 acres needs 1,180 feet, and 10 acres only needs 2,640 feet of material! If the acre is not square and contains corners or slopes, the price will be more.

Cost To Fence Per Acre
Acreage Wire or Electric Split Rail or Wood Vinyl or Composite
¼ $500 – $850 $2,500 – $7,100 $6,200 – $17,000
½ $750 – $1,200 $3,550 – $10,050 $8,900 – $23,600
1 $1,050 – $1,700 $5,000 – $14,200 $12,500 – $33,400
2 $1,500 – $2,350 $7,100 – $20,100 $17,700 – $47,000
5 $2,300 – $3,750 $11,200 – $31,700 $28,000 – $75,000
10 $3,300 – $5,300 $15,800 – $44,900 $39,000 – $105,000
20 $4,700 – $7,500 $22,400 – $63,500 $56,000 – $149,000
25 $5,200 – $8,400 $25,000 – $71,000 $62,000 – $167,000
40 $6,600 – $10,550 $31,700 – $89,800 $79,000 – $211,000
100 $10,500 – $17,000 $50,100 – $142,000 $125,000 – $335,000

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Privacy Fence Installation Cost by Material Type

Privacy fence costs depend on the type of material. The most common types of privacy fences are wood, vinyl, aluminum and board on board. There are many varieties within each category that can affect cost. For example, there are several different types of wood that each has varying longevity and cost.

We’ll go over the most common privacy fences found around homes and their costs.

Wood

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Wood is the most common material used for privacy fences. It is strong, versatile and can last for up to 20 years. However, wooden privacy fences can be costly depending on the type of wood used.

Pine, cedar and redwood are among the most popular. Cedar is arguably the best type because of its natural oils that protect it from moisture, insect damage and decay. Cheaper wood material like pine may require frequent treatment to protect from the elements. Pine also won’t last as long.

Vinyl

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Vinyl is a popular option because of its versatility. There are many styles and colors to choose from, like faux wood or white vinyl. Vinyl is more costly than wood, but it lasts longer and is more durable. Vinyl doesn’t suffer from rot, corrosion or warps. Vinyl can be fairly low maintenance as long as it’s installed properly.

Board on Board or Shadowbox

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Board on board and shadowbox fences are more of a style than a material. A central rail is installed across the fence where boards are placed on alternating sides. This creates an overlapping pattern that looks the same on both sides of the fence making it a great option for a 6-foot privacy fence in a backyard.

Board on board fences can be made with wood, vinyl, aluminum and composite materials. They are attractive options for many homes. Keep in mind that this fence style is not completely private—anyone looking at the fence from a side angle will be able to see through the small gaps between the boards.

Other Cost Considerations to Building a Fence

Figuring out what fence materials to use is not even the first step to building your fence. Before you even start the first step would be to get a fence permit. You usually don’t need a permit if you are building a fence that is 6 feet or under, but it is still good to check with your local planning and zoning office, or your HOA (if you have one). A fence permit can cost between $25 to $50.

Other things to consider that will affect the overall cost are:

  • Hole digging labor and equipment 
  • Slope leveling labor and equipment
  • Additional equipment if the ground is soggy
  • Job complexity (corners add labor and material costs.
  • Are you wanting a gate? Gates add anywhere between $150 to $500 per gate.
  • Are you wanting an extra-long or extra-high fence? That could add 20%-30% to your installation costs.

Like with most projects, always take into consideration the full scope of the project and don’t just go off of a quick napkin calculation of length/price.

Cost of Installing a Privacy Fence DIY

Some privacy fences are easier to install than others. Vinyl fence panels, for example, snap into place quite simply. Rolls of bamboo or bamboo fence panels can be easy to install, too, and they’re more affordable. 

A wood privacy fence is the most popular option, but it would take a little more work to prepare and install all the individual parts. 

If you want to save yourself a little money by installing your privacy fence DIY, you can expect to spend at least a few days on the project. You should consider asking a friend to help because an extra pair of hands can make the job easier and may even be necessary for some steps in the process.

Equipment needed 

The installation process is different for each type of privacy fence, so you may need slightly different tools for each one.

These are the tools you would need to build your own traditional wood privacy fence. All the necessary equipment is pretty basic, and you may already own most of the tools. 

In case you don’t, we’ve collected average price data from Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Amazon to help you tally approximately how much you would spend if you had to buy all the tools new.    

EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR DIY PRIVACY FENCECOST
Spray paint$5
Work gloves$10
Paint brush$15
Mason’s line$15
Hand saw$16
Protective safety glasses$16
Tape measure$18
Claw hammer$20
Level$21
Post hole digger$50
Power drill$80
TOTAL$266

Cost of materials

A privacy fence for a typical backyard will usually be around 150 linear feet long. Here are the materials you need to build a wood fence of that size. We’ve estimated how much you would need of each material and how much they would cost, based on average prices from Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Keep in mind that your exact project cost could be much higher or lower depending on the type of wood you use. Pressure-treated pine is usually the most affordable lumber, while tropical hardwoods and redwood are typically the most expensive. 

MATERIALS NEEDED FOR DIY PRIVACY FENCECOST*per itemTOTAL COST PER ITEM*approximate, based on 150-foot fence
Wood fence pickets$5 x 328 =$1,640
Box of nails$12
Horizontal fence rails$13 x 40 =$520
Concrete mix$20
Deck screws$23
Wood fence posts$28 x 20 =$560
Outdoor paint or wood stain$125
Gravel (large bag)$400
TOTAL$3,300

How to build a wood privacy fence DIY in 10 steps

1. Calculate how much material you need. Measure the perimeter of your backyard (or whatever area you want to fence in) in linear feet. Then, once you’ve chosen what material you want to use, you can calculate how much of it you need. In this DIY example, we include the material costs and construction process for a 150 linear foot fence made of wood. 

2. Outline and plan the fence. Use mason’s line or another durable string you can pull taut to show where the fence will be. You can use this string as a guideline while you install your fence posts and pickets. 

3. Space out fence posts. Every 6 to 8 feet along the outline you created, mark a spot on the ground with spray paint for the fence post holes. The space between each post should be consistent all the way around. Your fence will almost definitely need a gate, so mark two parallel lines to show where the gate will go. 

4. Prepare post holes. With a post hole digger (or a power auger if you have one, to make the job a little easier), dig a hole on each spray-painted mark. The depth and width of each hole depends on the size of your fence posts. Each hole should be three times wider than the post and a third as deep as the post is tall (so, an 8-foot post would need a 2½-foot hole). Dig 3 to 4 inches extra for the gravel base. Call 811 (the diggers’ hotline) before you dig any holes to ensure you avoid underground utility lines. 

5. Pour gravel in each hole. To help water drain away from the posts, each hole will need a gravel base. Pour 3 to 4 inches of gravel in each hole and tamp it down. 

6. Mix concrete. Add water to your concrete mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it’s liquid and ready to pour. Choose a fast-acting concrete if you want the posts to set quicker. 

7. Install fence posts in concrete. Stand one post in the middle of each of the holes you just dug. Have a partner hold the posts plumb or brace them with stakes to keep them standing up straight as you pour concrete into the hole. After you pour it, slope the concrete away from the post for drainage. On top of the concrete, backfill each hole with 1 or 2 inches of dirt and pack it in tightly. The concrete has to set before you can move on to the next step, and this might take several days. 

8. Attach horizontal rails. After the concrete dries, attach horizontal rails between each post. About 6 inches from the top and bottom of the posts, attach a horizontal rail using a hammer or drill. For a fence of 6 feet or taller (which a privacy fence will almost always be), you should also include a middle rail for increased stability. Use a level to check regularly that the rails stay straight. 

9. Install fence pickets. With the hammer or drill, attach pickets along every rail. For a true privacy fence, leave no gaps between each picket. Again, use a level as you work to keep all the pickets plumb. 

10. Coat the wood with protective sealant. Once you’ve built your wooden privacy fence, you need to paint, stain, or otherwise coat it to protect the wood from the elements. Every few years, apply a fresh coat to keep the fence in good condition. You can skip this step if you build your privacy fence from a material such as vinyl or bamboo. 

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DIY cost vs. professional installation cost

Photo Credit: spinster cardigan / Flickr / CC BY 2
Photo Credit: spinster cardigan / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Overall, you can expect to spend about $3,566 on equipment and materials and a few days of your time to build your own wood privacy fence.

If your privacy fence is made of bamboo, you most likely would spend less on materials. If your privacy fence is made of vinyl, you likely will pay more.

Installing a privacy fence should be simple for an avid home improvement DIY-er, but it requires some comfort with tools and light construction, which not every homeowner has. 

If you don’t think you’re up for the job, you can hire a professional fence installer. You would pay approximately $4,900 to have a pro install and paint the same 150 linear foot wood privacy fence as the one in the DIY example. 

Doing the work yourself would save you almost $1,500, but it would require a lot more time and effort on your part. You have to decide which route is the most worthwhile for you. 

Fence Installation Cost: Types of Fences

Fence-building materials have expanded over the years. Barbed wire, wooden, and iron are still available, but vinyl, electric, invisible, and chain link are newer styles that each have their purpose. You could mix and match fence types to customize your property. For instance, a garden fence could be built with cedarwood and mesh wire, the front yard could have a vinyl picket fence, and the backyard might have a wood privacy fence. Here are the most common types of fences and their average prices.

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Barbed Wire Fence

Barbed wire is an old standby choice of fencing for large properties that need to keep livestock contained. It’s simple to install and easy to maintain. Metal or wooden posts are driven into the ground, then spools of three to five strands of barbed wire are stretched between posts. Barbed wire is only allowed in rural areas. The average cost to install a barbed wire fence is $1.50 to $2 per linear foot.

Electric or Invisible Fencing

Another fencing style used to keep livestock corralled is the electric fence. Wires or plastic strands with threaded wires are attached to wooden posts and connected to an electrical outlet that produces a low or high voltage shock designed to deter livestock from touching the fence. Again, for safety reasons, these are only used in rural areas and away from highways. An electric fence costs $1 to $6 per linear foot.

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An invisible fence is installed in the ground at the property lines. The wires connect to a control panel that will trigger a small shock on a dog’s collar when it nears the buried wires. It’s an effective method to keep pets in your yard without having to build a complete fence. The average cost is $200 to $2,500, depending on the size and number of pets.

Ranch Fencing

More attractive than a barbed wire fence is the ranch fence specially designed to withstand the strength or height of the animals being corralled. A split-rail fence is a popular option that splits raw timber logs lengthwise and inserts them into wooden posts. This style costs $10 to $20 per linear foot. Cedar posts and hewn rails are also popular. Wire mesh might be installed to prevent smaller animals from climbing through the rails. An average cost of $1,500 to $2,500 can be expected.

Chain Link Fence

A chain-link fence is a popular low-maintenance option that fits most budgets, is easy to install, and has a long lifespan. A chain-link fence could be made of galvanized steel, powder-coated steel, aluminum, or sometimes vinyl. This style is not as attractive as most fences, but it still gets the job done to keep children and pets safely contained in a yard. A chain-link fence cost ranges between $1,100 and $2,800, including installation.

Wood Fence

A wood fence is a traditional and affordable option if you enjoy a more natural look. The cheapest material is treated pine at $1.50 per linear foot. More exotic wood like redwood will cost closer to $17.50 per piece. Cedar is a popular option that’s durable and less expensive at $7 to $15 per linear foot. A wood fence can be painted or stained, but any additional treatment will require regular upkeep. Wood fences do not have a long lifespan, which is something to consider on a project with an average cost of $1,000 to $4,000.

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Privacy Fence

A privacy fence is a common choice if you share adjoining or backyard property and prefer to keep your peaceful evening on the deck a private affair. The best options are wood or vinyl, but metal could also be used—though at a higher price point. Installation of a 150-foot privacy fence ranges between $1,500 and $8,250, with an average of $2,750. Other privacy fence ideas include adding lattice to the top of the fence or growing green-space-friendly privet.

Aluminum Fence

For a low-maintenance option, aluminum might be a great choice if metal is the preferred style. A conversational or privacy fence can be built with aluminum. This type of fence provides durability and security and resists rusting. The cost of an aluminum fence averages $30 to $40 per linear foot, with labor adding another $5 to $15 per linear foot. If it’s not already powder coated to suit your preference, expect to pay another $2 to $5 per square foot.

Wrought-Iron Fence

For a stately, classic look, a wrought-iron fence is a top design option. This type of fence is durable, stylish, and customizable. It’s best to have a pro handle the design and installation of this fence style since it’s more specialized. A wrought-iron fence needs a regular application of rust-inhibiting spray. On average, a wrought-iron fence costs $2,500, and the per-linear foot cost ranges from $30 to more than $100.

Vinyl and Composite Fencing

The biggest benefits of a vinyl fence are how easy it is to maintain and how long it lasts in climates without extreme temperatures. Vinyl fences don’t require painting or sanding, and the boards rarely rot or warp. White is the most common color, but others are available. Some composite vinyl fences include recycled materials like reclaimed sawdust that can be molded to create a faux wood appearance. You can expect to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 or $20 to $40 per linear foot.

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Hiring Your Fence Company

There is so much information and so many options available when it comes to building a fence that it might be a good idea to approach this project over a few months rather than on a long weekend. Get all your ducks in a row—measure out your area, get permits, follow HOA guidelines, and study zoning laws first. Once you have a plan, be sure to get at least 3 estimates from local contractors. Having a professional fence installer do the job will be faster and more economical in the long run.

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References

References 1,918 Customers on HomeGuide Lowe’s | https://www.lowes.com Home Depot | https://www.homedepot.com Promatcher | Promatcher.com Fencing Direct | https://www.fencingdirect.com/ Menards | https://nards.com Tractor Supply | https://www.tractorsupply.com CS Online | https://www.csoonline.com Amazon | https://azon.com Agriculture.com | https://www.agriculture.com Building Journal | http://www.buildingjournal.com Inch Calculator | https://www.inchcalculator.com

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