- Typical Range: $1,667 to $4,075
- National Average: $2,839
From vinyl to chain link to picket, fences are a proven way to boost curb appeal, corral pets and kids, and deter unwanted visitors. Fences can spruce up a property and increase a home’s value. Installing a fence might be more affordable than expected, depending on the materials. On average, homeowners spend between $1,667 and $4,075 for a new fence installation, with a national average of $2,839. Fence installation costs between $13 and $50 per linear foot. Wood fences cost less than metal fences, but many homeowners like a low-maintenance vinyl fence, too. Whether you’re considering building a full privacy fence or a quintessential white picket fence, we’ve compiled the top factors to review when building a fence.
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Factors in Calculating Fence Installation Cost
Homeowners can expect materials and labor to each make up 50 percent of the overall cost to install a fence, according to HomeAdvisor. The size of the area being fenced will also affect the price, so consider measuring the area first. If the site being fenced is not free of debris or there are a lot of rocks or roots in the soil, it may cost more to properly dig holes for the fence posts. In most areas, you will need a building permit or permission from an HOA.
A qualified local fence builder will know if local building codes require a permit to build a fence. There may be restrictions regarding the height of the fence or the materials used. On average, building permits cost between $400 and $800.
Fencing a property is a time-intensive project, so labor typically makes up half of the total price. Labor rates vary based on the fence material and how much work it takes to install the fence posts. Expect to pay between $30 to $80 per hour for building a fence. Most pros can complete 150 to 200 linear feet within 20 to 35 hours.
While a wood fence remains a standard choice, vinyl is fast becoming a more popular option. Other choices include wrought iron, chain link, aluminum, or steel. Installing a chain-link fence is the cheapest option at $17 per linear foot, while a wrought iron fence is more expensive at $40 or more per linear foot.
Location of the Fence
It typically costs more to install a fence in a rural area since materials and laborers must be transported from farther away. Some materials also cost more depending on the region. If a fence is located in an area that’s hard to reach, there may be added fees for location obstruction. Overgrown trees, narrow space, and parked vehicles can affect the ease of access.
Ground Condition and Trees
In some cases, trees may need to be removed to install a fence, which would be an additional cost. A significant root system will slow down digging fence-post holes, which increases labor costs. The same is true for rocky soil or existing concrete. If bedrock is found at the post depth, additional equipment will be required to bore through it.
Additional Costs and Considerations
When budgeting for a fence installation cost, there are only a few additional considerations beyond the primary factors mentioned above since building fences is less complex than most construction projects. If a yard has a slope or thick vegetation along the property line, the price of a new fence will increase to accommodate the landscaping. Fence installation costs might also increase if a builder needs to remove old fencing or install extra posts or gates.
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A significant factor that affects the fence price is whether the property has a slope or not. For a small slope, it may be best to have the ground graded evenly for a more level fence line. Significant changes in terrain will require special measuring and building techniques to align the fence properly. This process increases labor costs, but it’s worth the extra effort to have a sturdy fence. Fencing a yard with numerous obstructions or angles will also cost more since more posts will have to be installed.
Removing Old Fencing
As is the nature of most outdoor structures, fences are affected by time and weather. Old fence panels will need to be removed before installing new ones. Eager homeowners may enjoy tearing out an old fence, but some stone or iron fences will require extra equipment to remove. Leave the hassle to a pro who can make short work of fence removal and disposal for an average rate of $3 to $5 per linear foot.
Gates and Posts
Posts should be set in concrete, usually below the frost line, which will help extend the life of the post. Check to see if local building codes have a depth requirement for your region. The cost of posts and concrete averages between $5 and $150, depending on the post material. Posts are typically spaced 4, 6, to 8 feet apart. Adding a gate will increase the price depending on material, size, and style. A walk-through wooden gate averages $150 to $250, but a drive-through gate may cost $150 to $600 with another $100 to $250 for labor.
Most suburban areas run their power infrastructure underground which can be an issue when digging. Accidentally hitting a power or gas line can have disastrous consequences. Homeowners and fence builders should check for underground gas, power, or electrical lines before digging to prevent problems. Local power companies typically check these for free, but working around them may increase the overall cost.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Do I Need Fence Installation?
You might be wondering if you really need to build a fence. Perhaps you need garden fencing to keep wild rabbits out, or you would like some privacy from the neighbors, or maybe you want to deter any unwanted two- or four-legged visitors. Whatever the reason, installing a fence can increase your home’s value and even hide unsightly junk piles from view.
Fencing Can Increase Your Home’s Value
A home with a backyard fence is considered more secure, even if it’s just a chain-link fence. An attractive fence boosts a home’s curb appeal. Adding plants or vines is another way to enhance the appearance of a fence and the home’s attractiveness. A home that has a well-maintained fence on the property may sell more quickly, too.
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Fencing Provides Improved Security
A house with a sturdy fence surrounding the backyard typically is more successful at deterring strangers from entering the yard. You can keep your lawn equipment and toys in the backyard and feel more confident that they won’t be stolen. A fence is also helpful for keeping deer and other wild animals off the property—if it’s built high enough.
Fencing Provides Enhanced Privacy
Even the friendliest of neighbors can become tiresome. One of the best and easiest ways to create a quiet environment for your family is to install a fence along the property. A standard 6-foot fence should be sufficient to enjoy soaking in a hot tub without a neighbor walking up for an evening chat. For additional sound and view blockage, consider adding trees near the fence line.
Fencing Establishes Property Boundaries
Even a small yard can experience property line challenges. Strangers might walk across the lawn to cut the corner, or a neighbor might want to build a structure that infringes on your property. Building a fence on your property’s boundary can prevent any encroachment or trespassing that happens–intentionally or not.
Fencing Can Keep Unappealing Sights Out Of View
Not every backyard view is paradise. Whether your patio overlooks a dilapidated structure or messy neighboring yard, a privacy fence can hide eyesores while allowing you to enjoy an evening outdoors. In this case, a chain-link fence won’t quite do the job, so choose a full paneled fence made of wood, aluminum, or vinyl.
Fence Installation Cost: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Since fence installation costs are split evenly between materials and labor, installing a fence on your own is a tempting prospect. On the surface, it seems pretty straightforward: Dig a hole, put in a post, and hang a fence panel. In reality, building a fence can be complex if the ground is unevenly graded or challenging to dig into, and hanging fence panels evenly takes care and skill to ensure the fence is straight and sound. While a chain-link fence may be the easiest of all the fences to consider DIY-ing, wrought-iron fences and other metal fences are best left to professional installers who are familiar with the material and have the equipment to handle it.
While you’ll save money installing some types of fences on your own, you’ll lose money in the extra time it takes to build it. A professional team of installers can build up to 200 linear feet in less than 4 days, but it may take double the time to do so yourself. They also have the equipment needed to build a fence and are comfortable using it all, whether it’s circular saws, concrete mixers, drills, or post hole diggers.
As is usually the case, there’s added peace of mind when using qualified installers since they are licensed and insured against any accidents, and they may have a warranty that covers damage to the fence. That’s a helpful advantage, especially if your area experiences significant weather events or the yard is frequently used by rambunctious teens. A professional installer will know how to handle the obstacles your property may have, including bedrock, trees, structures, and more. You’ll feel confident that the fence is level, sturdy, and straight for years to come.
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How to Save Money on Fence Installation Cost
Depending on the type of fence you select and the total area being enclosed, fence installation costs can quickly add up. Consider these tips for how to save money when building a fence:
- Get multiple quotes. Always ask for several quotes from fence contractors to ensure you’re getting a reasonable price, quality workmanship, and a warranty.
- Be selective. Choose a fence style that suits your house, needs, and budget rather than the most expensive style.
- Consider sourcing your own materials. In some cases, you might be successful finding a good deal on the preferred fence material by shopping independently.
- Choose an experienced contractor. Ideally, a professional fence installer will have more than one person working on the job, and they’ll be proficient enough to complete the job promptly.
- Consider long-term maintenance. Wood fences require more frequent upkeep than most other fence types. Though they have a cheaper up-front cost, they may cost more in the long run, so consider which is better for your budget.
- Prepare the yard ahead of time. Remove any objects or landscaping from the work area to prevent the installers from slowing down or possibly damaging an item during installation. They can complete the job faster if they can work efficiently.
- Collaborate with a neighbor. If your property shares a fence line with a neighbor, consider asking them to split the fence installation cost.
Questions to Ask About Fence Installation
As you consider building a new fence, you may have some questions. Talking with fence installers can help clear up any concerns you have, and they might even offer suggestions you hadn’t considered. Here are some helpful questions you can ask about fence installation:
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- What kind of warranties do you offer?
- Do you have references I can contact?
- Do I need a permit to install a privacy fence? If so, does your company obtain it?
- Will you contact utility companies to check for buried power or gas lines?
- Can you provide a line-item quote or contract?
- Do you require a deposit?
- What kind of fence material is best for my climate?
- Will you inspect my property first to provide an accurate quote?
- My yard has a slope in the back. How much more will that cost me?
- How much will a drive-through gate cost to install?
- How will you determine how many posts are needed for my property?
- Do you send a team of builders or only one person?
- How long would the project take?
- Can you handle building more than one style of fence in the front and backyard?
- How long will my fence last?
- What kind of maintenance will my fence need?
- What happens if my fence is damaged in a storm?
Fence building isn’t as complex a process as building a house, but some questions may need addressing. With the information above, homeowners should know what to expect regarding fence installation costs, but here are answers to some frequently asked questions, just in case.
Q. How much does it cost to put up a fence?
Labor is usually half the total fence installation cost. The average range for installing a fence is $1,667 to $4,075, depending on the materials and size of the property. Chain link and wood fences are the cheapest, and metal fences are the most expensive.
Q. How long does a fence last?
The lifespan of a fence is dependent upon the material. There is variation between different woods: a cedar fence may last 15 to 30 years, an untreated pine fence might last only 5 to 12 years, and treated pine may last 20 years. Regular maintenance will increase the life of a wood fence. A vinyl fence resists weathering if it’s built in climates without extreme heat or cold and can last 20 years or more. Galvanized chain-link fences may last 20 years or more, depending on the coating and weave. Metal fences typically need a rust-inhibitor coating applied every few years to lengthen the lifespan.
Q. What types of fences can I get?
It depends on your needs and location. In a rural area, barbed wire or electric fences can keep livestock enclosed. In urban areas, you might prefer an invisible electric fence to keep pets in the yard. For aesthetic purposes, a 3-foot conversation fence might be suitable in the front yard, but an entire privacy fence may be preferred for the backyard. Fences can be made of split rails, wood panels, decorative wood, mesh, chain link, vinyl, composite vinyl (faux wood), aluminum, steel, or wrought iron. More than one fence type can be built on a property, and a fence builder can easily coordinate the colors and styles.
Q. Does a fence add to the value of a home/property?
Yes. A well-kept fence boosts the value of your home by offering security, privacy, and curb appeal. Potential home buyers will appreciate that the property is already secure and finished.
Q. How do I maintain my fence?
A wood fence requires frequent maintenance since it’s most susceptible to moisture. Staining a fence will help lengthen the longevity of the fence. A wrought-iron or steel fence will need to be treated with a rust inhibitor to prevent rusting. Vinyl fences are low maintenance and can be sprayed off with water when they appear dirty.
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