Roger Diez | Improvement Center Columnist | December 14, 2011
Nothing symbolizes the American dream like a white picket fence. However, there are other types of fences, used for every purpose from privacy to security to decoration. Fences are made of several different types of wood as well as wrought iron, chain link and modern materials such as vinyl and PVC. They can be three feet high or eight feet high. The one thing they are not is inexpensive, and the bigger your yard, the more it will cost to fence it. You can save a few dollars by carefully shopping for materials, but the biggest cost savings you will realize is by doing the installation work yourself.
Fence prices vary widely depending on the fencing material, the height of the fence, and the area to be fenced. Below are the costs of several different popular fencing materials, expressed in the price per linear foot. To calculate the cost of your fence, select your chosen material and the fence height, and multiply by the linear area you want to enclose. If you are going to do the work yourself, ignore the installation cost. If you plan to hire a contractor, the additional costs for installation seen here after the material costs can give you a starting point for negotiation.
- Redwood fence: $7.25 - $14.50 material; $4.00 - $6.25 installation
- Cedar fence: $7.15 - $14.50 material; $4.10 - $6.25 installation
- Wood picket fence:$4.75 - $6.50 material; $4.25 - $6.50 installation
- PVC fence: $12.75 - $15.50 material; $4.25 - $6.50 installation
- Vinyl fence: $5.75 - $9.25 material; $4.75 - $7.25 installation
- Chain link fence: $5.25 - $8.50 material; $4.75 - $7.25 installation
- Wrought iron fence:$17.25 - $24.50 material; $4.20 - $8.25 installation
- Split rail fence: $5.75 - $8.10 material; $4.00 - $8.25 installation
- Stockade fence: $7.75 - $9.15 material; $4.20 - $8.25 installation
Additional fence costs
In addition to the fence material itself, you will need to purchase quick-setting concrete for setting your fencepost, gate hardware for your gates, and in some cases, special tools. For instance, a chain link fence requires a fence stretcher to tighten the material. This tool can be purchased or rented. Also, wood fences will last longer and look better if they are painted or stained, so include that cost in your budget. Vinyl or PVC fencing, although initially more expensive, requires no painting and will outlast wood. And if you are replacing an old fence, don't forget the cost of tearing it down and disposing of it.