A metal fence primer: typical materials and costs
Fences many uses include privacy, security, safety and decoration. When you ask yourself why you need a fence, your answer should lead you to the right style and fence material to best suit your purposes. A solid wood or vinyl fence is best for privacy, but for safety and security, metal is your best option. Metal can also be decorative, as can other fencing materials.
Metal fence styles and uses
Fences serve to keep things either in or out. For example, they keep children and pets in your yard, or keep them away from a swimming pool when no adult supervision is available. There are five basic metal fencing materials: wrought iron, steel, aluminum, welded wire and chain link. Wrought iron, steel, and aluminum fencing can be considered more ornamental, while welded wire and chain link are utilitarian. Each type has its own uses, advantages and disadvantages:
- Wrought iron is fairly expensive and requires periodic painting to prevent rust. It can be used as an accent around a porch or a front yard.
- Steel fencing has the same look and feel as wrought iron but requires no maintenance or painting. It is most commonly used for safety and security purposes, such as around a swimming pool.
- Aluminum fencing is much lighter and less expensive than either wrought iron or steel, but its big drawback is lack of strength and durability.
- Welded wire is excellent for gardens, aviaries and tennis courts.
- Chain link is used for applications such as dog runs.
Metal fencing manufacturers and costs
Manufacturers of metal fencing include these well-known names:
- Fortress Iron
- Master Halco
- Merchants Metals
Costs for a metal fence vary widely, depending on style, material, height, and number of gates. Ornamental wrought iron, steel, and aluminum fencing are manufactured in panels, usually 4'- or 6'-wide, with heights from 36" to 72". Here are some ballpark prices for each type of metal fence:
- Wrought iron: $17 to $25 per linear foot
- Steel: $11 to $20 per linear foot
- Aluminum: $8 to $16 per linear foot
- Chain link: $2 to $8 per linear foot
- Welded wire: $2 to $5 per linear foot
That is just the cost of the fencing material: gates cost roughly $100 and up--again, depending on size. Posts typically cost between $20 and $40, and chain link fencing requires top and bottom rails as well as fasteners. You should be able to find all your metal fencing materials at a home improvement store or by ordering online.
Get help installing your fence
Many manufacturers provide detailed instructions, even videos, to guide the do-it-yourselfer in constructing a metal fence. However, you may want to hire an experienced fencing installation contractor, particularly if you are installing a safety fence around a swimming pool. There are national and local code requirements for pool fences. If you elect to use a contractor, make sure you get at least three bids and get references. Check out the contractor with the Better Business Bureau and your local contractors' board. If you want some help finding a local contractor, use the form on this page to get started.