How much does it cost to install a picket fence?
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Picket Fence Installation Cost Guide
Updated: August 26, 2022
It has long been a quintessential piece of the American dream to settle down in a house with a white picket fence. This type of fence is a decorative way to distinguish a boundary. Picket fences are normally short, made of upright pickets installed with space in between, along horizontal supports. Some people install these fences instead of chain-link or privacy fences for curb appeal. Costs for this project will depend on the type of picket fence chosen, the size of the fence, and the amount of prep work needed.
The cost to install a picket fence ranges between $1,600 and $2,200, with the average homeowner paying $1,981 to install a 100 linear foot Southern pine picket fence that measures 3’ high, including the installation of one gate. At the low end of the spectrum, you can expect to spend about $492 for 100 linear feet of Southern Pine wood picket fencing with a gate, but without installation. At the high end, you may spend as much as $3,429 on the installation of 100 linear feet of Redwood 5-foot fencing with a gate.
Picket Fence Price
|Picket Fence Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$1,981|
Picket Fence Cost per Foot
The picket fence cost per linear foot is $5 to $35 for materials only or $10 to $45 installed, including labor and supplies. Picket fence prices vary widely based on many factors. These include the type of materials chosen, the difficulty of the terrain, and the size of your yard. The type of picket fencing you choose impacts the design, such as if you choose a premium scalloped finish or a more ornate look as opposed to basic wooden picket fencing with minimal design features. Fencing is priced by the linear foot because the labor costs depend on how much fencing needs to be installed. Also, fence materials are sold this way, so it is easiest to factor in all the costs. The table below shows an estimate of the cost of materials and installation for the different lengths of common fencing.
|Size||Cost (Materials Only)||Cost (Installed)|
|50 Linear Feet||$250 - $1,750||$500 - $2,250|
|100 Linear Feet||$500 - $3,500||$1,000 - $4,500|
|200 Linear Feet||$1,000 - $7,000||$2,000 - $9,000|
|300 Linear Feet||$1,500 - $10,500||$3,000 - $13,500|
Picket Fence Cost by Height
The cost of a picket fence based on its height ranges from $10 to $35 per linear foot for materials only or $15 to $40 per linear foot installed. Picket fences and fence panels come in heights ranging from 4 to 8 ft., with standard sizes including 4 ft., 6 ft., and 8 ft. fence panels. The cost increases 25% to 30% with added height, so the taller the fence, the more it will cost. The cost also depends on the materials, whether you use pre-made panels or have the fence built from scratch, and other factors. In the table below, you see an estimate of the costs for materials and the combined cost for materials and installation for the most common fence heights.
|Height||Cost per Linear Foot (Materials Only)||Cost per Linear Foot (Installed)|
|4 Feet||$10 - $20||$15 - $20|
|6 Feet||$15 - $25||$20 - $25|
|8 Feet||$25 - $35||$30 - $40|
Picket Fence Cost by Material
You can expect to spend between $5 and $35 for materials only or between $10 and $45 on the installation of your picket fence, based on the type of material you choose. There are many options for materials when choosing a picket fence. A white wooden picket fence has been the norm for many years, but there are many more options available today. Each comes with its own cost, features, pros, and cons. Some people choose more durable products like PVC or composite fencing for more durability, but those will also be at the high end of the price range.
|Material||Cost per Linear Foot (Materials Only)||Cost per Linear Foot (Installed)|
|Wood||$5 - $30||$10 - $40|
|Bamboo||$10 - $15||$15 - $20|
|Vinyl||$10 - $20||$15 - $25|
|Metal||$15 - $35||$20 - $45|
|PVC||$20 - $25||$25 - $30|
|Composite||$25 - $30||$30 - $35|
Wood Picket Fence
The cost of a wood picket fence per foot is between $5 and $30 for materials only or $10 to $40 installed. Many species of wood are available for wood picket fences. Wood is the traditional material used for picket fences. It is a great choice because it is inexpensive, easy to work with, can easily be painted or stained any color, and comes in various shapes. However, wood requires more maintenance than other materials, including periodic repainting. It is more susceptible to pest damage and rot.
Two popular choices are cedar and pine. Cedar has been a popular choice for fencing for many years. It holds up well to extreme weather conditions. The natural oils in the wood deter damage from insects and rot. Pine picket fence costs less, but this type of fence will not last as long as cedar. Nevertheless, pine is very strong and, with the right care, it lasts many years. In the table below, you will see the most common types of wood and their costs per linear foot for materials and installation.
|Type of Wood||Cost per Linear Foot (Materials Only)||Cost per Linear Foot (Installed)|
|Spruce||$5 - $10||$15 - $30|
|Pine||$5 - $10||$10 - $25|
|Cedar||$5 - $15||$15 - $30|
|Western Red Cedar||$5 - $15||$15 - $30|
|Pressure-Treated||$10 - $25||$20 - $35|
|Douglas Fir||$15 - $20||$25 - $40|
|Redwood||$15 - $30||$25 - $40|
Bamboo Picket Fence
Expect to pay about $10 to $15 per linear foot for a bamboo picket fence installed or $15 to $20 per linear foot for the fencing alone. Bamboo is hardened grass, not hardwood, so it is in a different category. A bamboo picket fence adds unique character to your property. The pros of bamboo are that it is environmentally friendly, grows quickly, and harvesting it does not lead to deforestation. Bamboo is attractive, can be stained, and turns a nice silvery color as it ages. The cons of bamboo are that it can be difficult to find, is susceptible to rot, and needs to be kept away from the ground. It also tends to crack and split. The fence would need to be sealed once a year.
Vinyl Picket Fence
Expect the vinyl picket fence cost to be about $10 to $20 per linear foot installed or $15 to $25 per linear foot for materials alone. Vinyl picket fences have become increasingly popular. Vinyl fencing needs very little maintenance with no need to paint or stain. High-quality vinyl can be made to look like wood at a distance, can be recycled, and does not splinter. The downsides of vinyl are that it can become brittle in cold weather, shrinks and expands in extreme weather, is more expensive up front, and is prone to mold, mildew, and algae buildup. Some homeowners do not like the look of vinyl in their natural environment.
Metal Picket Fence
Metal picket fence costs $15 to $35 per linear foot for materials alone or $20 to $45 per linear foot installed. A metal picket fence adds a distinguishing quality to any property. Metal fencing offers curb appeal, is extremely durable, and requires little maintenance. However, metal fencing does not offer as many color options. Some types of metal rust, installation is a little more difficult, and the material is more costly. The table below shows the costs for aluminum and steel, the most common choices for metal picket fences.
|Metal Type||Cost per Linear Foot (Materials Only)||Cost per Linear Foot (Installed)|
|Aluminum||$15 - $25||$20 - $35|
|Steel||$15 - $35||$25 - $45|
PVC Picket Fence
Expect the cellular PVC picket fence cost to be $20 to $25 per linear foot or around $25 to $30 per linear foot installed. Another type of plastic, cellular PVC, can be made to look like wood from a distance. Cellular PVC fencing is becoming more popular because it is rot-resistant, can be made into a variety of shapes, and requires little maintenance if not painted. The cons of cellular PVC fencing are that the stock color is white. While it can be painted, that means more maintenance. Additionally, it is relatively expensive, is prone to mold, mildew, and algae, and shrinks or expands in extreme weather.
Composite Picket Fence
Expect the composite picket fence cost to be $25 to $30 per linear foot for materials or around $30 to $35 per linear foot installed. This material is comparable to low-maintenance decking. The pickets come with a texture that looks like wood and are prefinished in a stained tone. Little maintenance is needed. With no splintering, this material lasts a long time. Keep in mind that extreme temperatures can cause expansion or shrinkage. Composite fencing is prone to mold, mildew, and algae, is expensive, and the color fades.
Picket Fence Cost by Style
You can expect to spend between $10 and $30 per linear foot installing a picket fence by style. Designing a picket fence is fun because there are many options for picket styles, colors, and other unique customization options. You can choose something simple and inexpensive or opt for uniquely-shaped pickets to add character and curb appeal.
Flat top fences are just like the name suggests. They are flat on top are the most basic and affordable design. You can also find the dog ear style, which looks like the corners have been cut off the top, almost creating a triangle, but with a flat top. French Gothic picket fences are more ornate and have higher installation costs. Then, you have the classic picket fence where the squared pickets feature a dog ear point or standard point. The table below shows the most common designs and their prices.
|Design||Cost per Linear Foot (Materials Only)||Cost per Linear Foot (Installed)|
|Flat Top||$5 - $10||$10 - $15|
|Dog Ear||$10 - $15||$15 - $20|
|French Gothic||$10 - $15||$15 - $20|
|Classic||$15 - $20||$20 - $25|
|Pointed Top||$20 - $25||$25 - $30|
Labor Cost to Install a Picket Fence
The labor cost to install a picket fence should be around $5 to $15 per linear foot. Some professionals charge by the hour. If so, expect to pay between $40 and $60 per hour. Hiring a professional is the best option because they have the experience and necessary equipment to do the job quickly, efficiently, and correctly. Just be sure to find a reputable fencing professional and check that they are licensed and insured. This cost varies across different states. Be aware that hiring someone who charges by the hour opens the door to unexpected costs. It is easier to budget when knowing the exact cost upfront.
Having your picket fence installed correctly the first time leads to less maintenance and fewer repairs. The installation process includes tearing out the old fence, leveling and preparing the land, measuring out and pouring post holes, attaching the stringer boards, and then attaching the pickets. A small section of fence can be finished in one day. A larger fence may take several days.
The cost of installing a picket fence depends on many variables. Suppose the ground is not level, the fence will be located in a difficult-to-reach location, there is poor soil, or there are plants, trees, or structures in the way. These all add expense. Services like stump removal and land clearing may be necessary in these instances. Picket fences are generally 4 feet tall, so opting for a special height or design adds extra cost. Also, be sure to call to have the local utility company come out and mark utility lines before the project starts, so there are no surprises when digging. Permits are also usually needed when installing a new fence.
Cost to Replace a Picket Fence
The cost to replace a picket fence ranges from $18 to $20 per linear foot, including installing a new fence and removing an old one. If an old fence needs to be torn out, that adds $1 to $2 per linear foot to the total cost. If you already have a picket fence, but it has fallen into disrepair, it could be time for a replacement. Perhaps you are replacing a different fence with a picket fence style because it is more appealing and does not block your home off as much. Replacing a fence will always be a bit more expensive than installing a new one.
Picket Fence Colors
Picket fences come in different materials, shapes, designs, and colors. White has long been the most common color, but many choices are available. Traditionally, this color alludes to the American dream and is the stock color for vinyl production. After white, a brown picket fence is the second-most common. This is because brown is wood’s natural color. Find the color that best matches your house and the vibe of the property. If painting a wooden fence, the color you choose should not affect the cost. If opting for a vinyl fence, they normally come in white or tan. If choosing a color besides white or tan, expect to pay 30% to 40% more.
Green picket fencing goes nicely in lush greenery and is another natural choice that fits in with the landscaping. Moreover, blue and yellow are colors that add a unique character to a property and can be surrounded by plants and flowers to make the color pop. Red also serves as an accent to enhance the landscaping and make the fence pop. Black is a color that screams elegance, especially ones made of metal, but it can be used in other materials.
Picket Fence Design Ideas
Expect a complicated fence design to add about $1 to $2 per linear foot to pay for the extra labor to cut the fence pickets. In addition to the designs of the individual pickets, there are also many choices for the overall fence design. Install a basic fence with all pickets at the same height, or check out other designs with pickets at different heights and in different patterns.
- Arched: Choose unique posts to become the focal point of this design. The pickets arch from shortest next to the post to tallest in the middle and back down to smallest again by the next post.
- Staggered: In this pattern, the tops of the pickets can be mitered. They are then placed with the miters facing alternating directions to add interest to the fence.
- Irregular heights: in addition to using two different pickets, two different picket heights can be used. Alternate one long picket and one short picket to add contrast.
- Scallop: a scallop design is the opposite of an arched design. It starts with tall pickets at the post, gets progressively shorter until the midpoint, and then rises again to the tallest picket next to the post.
- Capped: in this design, a top rail is placed on the pickets. It is common when surrounding a cottage and adds charm to the property.
Picket Fence Post Caps
Basic post caps range from $3 to $10 each. There are also solar post caps that provide light at night and start around $20 each. This could be a great way to illuminate the area near a gate. Picket fence post caps are a great idea not just for their decorative quality but also because they protect the posts. The tops of fence posts are the most vulnerable to the elements. Covering them with a cap makes the posts last longer. Post caps on wood posts keep everyone safe from splinters that may occur from dry and cracking wood. There are many choices for picket fence post caps, including galvanized, lighted post caps, pressure-treated wood post caps, solar LED post caps, pyramid fence post caps, and more.
Temporary Picket Fence for Dogs
Expect to pay about $90 to $100 for a section of fence 7.5 feet long when you need temporary fencing for dogs. A temporary picket fence for dogs is a great way for homeowners or renters to give their dogs a place to roam and play without fencing in the whole yard. These fences do not require digging, posts, or permits. These fences are easily set up and moved around as needed, but they may not be a secure choice for dogs that are known to run and jump or try to escape.
Proper picket fence maintenance depends on the type of material you choose for your fence. All fence types need to be cleaned and inspected regularly. It is important to catch problems early and take care of repairs as soon as possible. This cuts costs and ensures that the fence lasts a long time. Consider hiring a handyman to perform picket fence maintenance.
Vinyl and composite fences should be hosed off or pressure washed regularly and cleaned with a bucket of cleaning solution and a sponge once a year. A mold prevention coating may also be good if you live in a damp area. Wood picket fences need to be stained or painted every few years. Pests can damage a wooden picket fence. Hiring a pest control company to treat your yard with insecticides may also be a good idea. Rust can become an issue with some metal fences and must be treated immediately.
Pros and Cons
There are several considerations in choosing a picket fence, including the pros and cons of this option. Installing a picket fence adds a nice touch to the home and improves curb appeal without blocking the view of the house or the view out from the house. A picket fence is simple to install. Compared to most fencing products, it is relatively affordable.
Picket fences are not designed for security or to contain animals or children that can easily get over the gate, through the picket posts, or even just knock into the fencing and cause it to fall over. Ultimately, picket fencing has more pros than cons, offering the best of both worlds for people who need light-duty or medium-duty fencing options when the design is as important as function, if not more so. These fences are also installed quickly, which is another perk.
Picket Fence vs Privacy Fence Cost
While you will spend $10 to $40 to install a picket fence, you could spend between $10 and $75 to upgrade to a privacy fence. Some people want more privacy than a picket fence offers. Picket fences are short, usually 3 or 4 feet in height, and have space between the pickets, making them ideal for marking a boundary and enhancing curb appeal. On the other hand, privacy fences are taller, usually 6 feet, and have less space between the pickets. This makes it difficult to see into the yard and provides privacy. The most common materials for privacy fences are wood, vinyl, and composite. The table below shows a breakdown of both types of fences and their average costs.
|Fence Type||Cost per Linear Foot (Installed)|
|Picket||$10 - $45|
|Privacy||$10 - $75|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Picket Fence Gate
A gate is an important addition to any picket fence so that you can gain entry to and exit the yard. Installing a picket fence gate usually adds between $200 and $600 to the cost of picket fence installation. This depends on the size and style of the gate chosen and how complicated the installation is. Most people choose traditional hinged gates that match the design and material of their fence, whether it is wood, vinyl, composite, or metal. If you choose a driveway gate or sliding gate, you may pay more for the size and complexity of the installation.
Paint Picket Fence
If you choose to paint a picket fence that you have installed, you will spend $40 to $60 per hour for a painter or $2 to $14 per linear foot for fence painting or staining. This depends on how the job is priced and whether your fence will be painted before installation during prefabrication or if painting is a final step after installation. The type of picket fence and the material it is made from impact the cost. Although most people paint wooden fences, you can also paint metal fences. If you want a different composite or vinyl fencing color, it is best to order it in the color you want.
Ornamental Picket Fence
Installing an ornamental picket fence starts around $20 to $25 per linear foot and goes up from there. An ornamental picket fence is a great way to add character to or compliment the architectural style of your home. It is considered an enhancement because it is a much more custom design of a standard picket fence system that creates a one-of-a-kind finish. Work with a designer to create the perfect addition to your property. Choose from custom pickets and posts and add interesting curves, scrollwork, arbors, and custom gates.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Permits and licenses. Permits are usually needed for installing a new fence. Check with your city to find details. Fencing permits are usually between $30 and $60. It is also important to make sure that the fencing contractor you plan to hire is licensed and insured.
- DIY. It is possible to install a picket fence yourself if you have the experience and necessary tools. However, hiring a professional will ensure that the fence is installed correctly from the beginning. A fence that is not installed properly will be prone to more problems and might need costly repairs in the future. A professional will have the necessary tools and knowledge for a quick, efficient, and quality picket fence installation.
- Warranty. Many fencing manufacturers offer a warranty on their products. Be sure to ask about this when choosing a fencing material and retain all necessary documentation. Also, ask your fencing professional if they offer a warranty on workmanship.
- Alternative materials. Think out of the box and create a unique and eye-catching fence. Think about recycled materials or items that can be reused. A few ideas are using tree limbs for the pickets, recycled house shutters, corrugated metal, wooden latticework, horizontal planks, repurposed bifold doors, recycled wooden pallets, and adding marbles to pickets.
- Inspection fees. A fence is usually inspected by the city after installation to make sure it meets code. The fee for this should be included in the cost of a permit.
- Local building codes. Be sure to check with both your HOA and your city about local building codes. Most cities and HOAs have rules about fences in the front yard. The heights of fences in the front yard are usually restricted and some HOAs may not allow fences in the front yard at all.
- What is the easiest type of picket fence to install?
It is easiest to install a picket fence that comes in panels. This will take less time than attaching individual pickets.
- How deep should a picket fence post be?
The general rule for fence posts is that 1/3 of the height of the post needs to be in the ground. A 4 foot tall fence will need 1.3 feet of post in the ground.
- Should I leave a gap between fence pickets?
Pickets are usually spaced 2 ½” apart in a picket fence.
- Should fence pickets touch the ground?
No, if fence pickets touch the ground, they are prone to rot. The best practice is to keep fence pickets between 2” and 5” above the ground.
- How does Home Depot install picket fences?
Home Depot offers picket fence installation services by connecting customers with local contractors that they have a partnership with. They offer these services with several of their building products to help consumers make easier choices.