How Much Does It Cost to Install a Picket Fence?

Average Cost
(100 linear feet of Southern Pine for a 3-foot fence with a gate, installed)

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Reviewed by Irene Pomares. Written by

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. 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 customer paying $1,981 to install a 100 linear foot Southern pine picket fence, including the installation of one gate.

Picket Fence Cost

Picket Fence Installation Costs
National average cost$1,981
Average range$1,600-$2,200
Minimum cost$492
Maximum cost$3,429

Picket Fence Installation Cost by Project Range

100 linear feet of Southern Pine for a 5-foot fence with a gate, DIY
Average Cost
100 linear feet of Southern Pine for a 3-foot fence with a gate, installed
100 linear feet of Redwood for a 5-foot fence with a gate, installed

Picket Fence Calculator

Picket fence prices vary by materials used and labor needed. While wood is the traditional and least expensive material, PVC or composite fences will cost more but last longer. The labor cost to install a picket fence will be greater for properties that have older fences to clear or for those with trees or structures in the way. As a shorter fence, a picket fence cost per foot will be notably less than that of a privacy fence. More ornate designs, such as pointed top or irregular height, and more durable materials, such as metal or cellular PVC, will also lead to a costlier picket fence. This picket fence calculator will provide you with installation and material costs based on your location and requirements.

Picket Fence Calculator

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Picket Fence Cost Per Linear Foot

Picket fence 1 prices will vary widely based on many factors. These include the type of materials chosen, the difficulty of the terrain, and the size of your yard. On average, the picket fence cost per foot will be about $17.50, with this figure including labor and supplies.

Picket Fence Cost per Linear Foot Chart

Picket Fence Cost per Linear Foot Chart

Fence SizeCost
50 linear feet$875
100 linear feet$1,750
200 linear feet$3,500
300 linear feet$5,250

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Picket Fence Cost by Material

There are many options for materials when choosing a picket fence 1. A white wooden picket fence has been the norm for many years, but there are many more options available today. Each comes with their own cost, features, pros, and cons.

How Much Does a Picket Fence Cost Chart

How Much Does a Picket Fence Cost Chart

Picket Fence MaterialCost per linear foot with installation
Wood$10 to $20
Bamboo$14 to $19
Vinyl$14 to $22
Metal$16 to $25
Cellular PVC$23 to $30
Composite$28 to $35

Wood Picket Fence Cost

Wood is the traditional material used for picket fences 1. It is a great choice because it is inexpensive, easy to work with, can easily be painted or stained any color, and comes in a variety of shapes. However, wood will require more maintenance than other materials, including periodic repainting, and is more susceptible to pest damage and rot.  The average cost of a wood picket fence per foot is between $3 and $12 . There are many species of wood available for wood picket fences.

Two popular choices are cedar and pine. Cedar has been a popular choice for fencing for many years. This is because it holds up well to extreme weather conditions and the natural oils present in the wood help to deter damage from insects and rot. Installing a cedar picket fence costs around $17 per linear foot. Pine picket fence costs will be lower, but this type of fence will not last as long as cedar. Nevertheless, pine is very strong and, with the right care, it can last many years. Expect a pine picket fence to cost about $3 and $10 per linear foot for materials.

Bamboo Picket Fence

A bamboo picket fence 1 will add unique character to your property. The pros of bamboo are that it is environmentally friendly, grows quickly, and harvesting it will not lead to deforestation. Bamboo is also 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 has a tendency to crack and split. The fence would need to be sealed once a year. Expect to pay about $14 to $19 per linear foot for bamboo picket fence.

Vinyl Picket Fence Cost

Vinyl 2 picket fences 1 have become increasingly popular. Vinyl fencing needs very little maintenance, no need to paint or stain, high-quality vinyl can be made to look like wood at a distance, it can be recycled, and there is no splintering. The downsides of vinyl are that it can become brittle in cold weather, is prone to shrinking and expanding in extreme weather, it is more expensive up front, is prone to mold, mildew, and algae buildup, and some do not like the look of vinyl in their natural environment. Expect the vinyl picket fence cost to be about $14 to $22 per linear foot.

Metal Picket Fence Cost

A metal picket fence 1 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 can rust, installation is a little more difficult, and the material is more costly. Expect the metal picket fence cost to be around $16 to $25 per linear foot.

Cellular PVC Picket Fence Cost

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 and while it can be painted, that will mean more maintenance. Additionally, it is relatively expensive, is prone to mold, mildew, and algae, and can shrink or expand in extreme weather. Expect the cellular PVC picket fence cost to be around $23 to $30 per linear foot.

Composite Picket Fence Cost

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, there will be no splintering, and this material lasts a long time. Keep in mind that extreme temperatures can cause expansion or shrinking, composite fencing is prone to mold, mildew, and algae, is expensive, and the color may fade. Expect the composite picket fence cost to be around $28 to $35 per linear foot.

Picket Fence Cost by Style

It can be fun to design a picket fence 1 because there are so many options for picket styles. Choose something simple and inexpensive, or opt for uniquely-shaped pickets to add character and curb appeal.

Picket Fence Prices

Picket Fence Prices

Picket Fence Design and MaterialCost per linear foot
Flat Top (western red cedar)$10
Dog ear (western red cedar)$11
French Gothic (cedar)$11
Classic (pine)$12
Pointed Top (western red cedar)$19

Flat Top Picket Fence

A flat top picket looks just like a board with a flat top. It will cost about $10 per linear foot installed for western red cedar 3.

Dog Ear Picket Fence

Dog ear fence pickets are flat on the top and look like the corners have been clipped. A western red cedar dog ear fence will cost about $11 per linear foot installed.

French Gothic Picket Fence

French Gothic includes a pointed arch and was popular from 1100 to 1500 in France. A French Gothic picket fence will also cost about $11 per linear foot installed.

Classic Picket Fence

A classic picket is also pointed at the top, but the pickets are square in shape instead of flat. Expect to pay about $12 per linear foot installed.

Pointed Top Picket Fence

A pointed top fence picket has a simple point at the top, this is also known as a functional spear. The cost is about $19 per linear foot for western red cedar 3 installed.

Labor Cost to Install a Picket Fence

Having your picket fence 1 installed correctly the first time will lead to less maintenance and fewer repairs. 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. The installation process will include tearing out the old fence, if necessary, leveling 4 and preparing the land, measuring out and pouring post holes, attaching the stringer 5 boards, and then attaching the pickets.

A small section of fence can be finished in one day while a larger fence may take several days. The labor cost for installing a picket fence will usually be figured by the linear foot. The labor cost should be around $5 - $15 per linear foot. Some professionals may also charge by the hour. If so, expect to pay between $40 and $60 per hour. This cost will vary across different states in the country. Expect to pay more in big cities with a high cost of living and less in small towns or cities with lower costs of living. Be aware that choosing to hire someone who charges by the hour will leave the door open to unexpected costs. It is easier to budget when knowing the exact cost up front.

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Cost Factors to Install Picket Fence

The cost to install a picket fence 1 will depend on many variables. If an old fence needs to be torn out, that will add about $1 to $2 per linear foot to the cost. If 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 will all add expense. Stump removal averages about $320 and clearing and hauling away brush and debris will cost between $200 and $600. Picket fences are generally 4 feet tall, so if you opt for a special height or design, that will also add extra cost. Also be sure to call to have the local utility company come out and mark utility lines before the project starts so that there are no surprises when digging. Permits are also usually needed when installing a new fence. Expect to pay between $30 and $60 for a fence permit.

Picket Fence Design Ideas

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. 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.

Arched Picket Fence

Choose unique posts to become the focal point of this design. The pickets will arch from shortest next to the post to tallest in the middle back down to smallest again by the next post.

Arched white fence with bushes in the background

Staggered Picket Fence

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.

White staggered fence along a stand of trees

Irregular Heights Picket Fence

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.

Aluminum fence with irregular heights

Scallop Picket Fence

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 up again to the tallest picket next to the post.

Long white fence with trees in the background

Capped Picket Fence

In this design, a top rail 6 is placed on top of the pickets. It is common when surrounding a cottage and adds charm to the property.

Capped white vinyl fence by a green lawn with trees

Picket Fence Colors

Not only can picket fences 1 come in different materials, shapes, and designs, they can also come in different colors. White has long been the most common color, but there are many choices out there. 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 2 fence, they normally come in white or tan. If choosing a color besides white or tan, expect to pay 30 to 40% more.

White Picket Fence

A white picket fence is the most common. This has traditionally been the color that alludes to the American dream and it is also the stock color for vinyl production. Therefore it is easy to find. A white picket fence, house, children, and a dog just screams 1950s, Norman Rockwell middle class life in suburbia. It is simple, yet sophisticated and creates an iconic image. Greet guests through your white picket fence gate and enjoy the white picket fence life.

Brown Picket Fence

After a white picket fence, a brown picket fence is the second-most common. This is because brown is wood’s natural color. Many people choose the natural wood look and stain their wooden picket fence, or paint it brown to resemble natural wood. Many composite picket fences also offer brown choices.

Green Picket Fence

A green picket fence 1 will go nicely in lush greenery. It is another natural choice that fits in with landscaping. Find vinyl 2, metal, and composite products that come in green, or choose green paint. Some homeowners also opt for a combination of white and green. Choose a green fence with white caps or green posts and stringer 5 boards and white pickets. There are many choices and combinations.

Blue Picket Fence

The color blue represents the sky, the sea, freedom, open spaces, and imagination. A blue picket fence can add unique character to a property. There are many shades of blue–choose something subdued or go for a bright blue to draw in the eye. Surround it with bright plants to really make it pop. Paint is the easiest way to get a blue fence, but some vinyl and composite products can be found in blue.

Yellow Picket Fence

Yellow is known as a color that represents sunshine, joy, youthfulness, and happiness. Why not surround your house with a yellow picket fence? Yellow will make the fence pop, especially with dark greenery and vibrant flowers. Again, paint is the easiest way to get a yellow picket fence, it would be difficult to find yellow in vinyl or composite.

Black Picket Fence

The most commonly seen black picket fences are ones made of metal. Black paint is also an option, and black vinyl fencing does exist. Black picket fences, especially ones made of metal just scream elegance. Think of a large manor surrounded by a black metal fence with a large gate. It is a great way to bring elegance to your property.

Red Picket Fence

Red is a symbol of action, courage, and confidence. It has also long been used as an accent color for properties. Many have installed a red door to add vibrance to their home. A red picket fence would do the same.

Picket Fence vs Privacy Fence Cost

Picket fences 1 are short, usually 3 or 4 feet in height, and have space in between the pickets, making them ideal for marking a boundary and enhancing curb appeal. Privacy fences 7, on the other hand, are taller, usually 6 feet, and have less space in between the pickets. This makes it difficult to see into the yard and, obviously, provides privacy. The most common materials for privacy fences are wood, vinyl, and composite. A wood privacy fence 5 should cost between $1,500 and $2,500 for 100 linear feet, and a vinyl privacy fence should cost between $2,200 and $3,100 for 100 linear feet. To compare, a wood picket fence should cost between $1,000 and $2,000 for 100 linear feet and a vinyl picket fence should cost between $1,400 and $2,200 for 100 linear feet.

Picket Fence Maintenance

Proper picket fence 1 maintenance will depend on the type of material that you choose for your fence. All fence types will need to be cleaned and inspected regularly. It is important to catch problems early and take care of repairs as soon as possible. This will cut costs and ensure that the fence lasts a long time. Consider hiring a handyman to perform picket fence maintenance. Expect to pay between $40 and $60 per hour for their services.

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 a good idea if you live in a damp area. Wood picket fences will need to be stained or painted every few years. The cost to paint or stain a picket fence will be about $4 per linear foot. Pests can also damage a wooden picket fence. It may also be a good idea to hire a pest control company to treat your yard with insecticides. A one-time application of pesticide to the perimeter of the home will cost between $50 and $200. Rust can become an issue with some metal fences and needs to be treated right away.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

Picket Fence Gate

A gate is an important addition to any picket fence 1 so that you can gain entry to and exit the yard. Installing a picket fence gate will usually add between $200 and $600 to the cost of picket fence installation. This will depend on the size and style of the gate chosen and how complicated installation is.

Temporary Picket Fence 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. Expect to pay about $90 for a section of fence 7.5 feet long.

Picket Fence Post Caps

Picket fence post caps 8 are a great idea not just for their decorative quality, but also because they protect the posts. The tops of fence posts 9 are the most vulnerable to the elements. By covering them with a cap, the posts will last longer. Post caps on wood posts will also help keep everyone safe from splinters that may occur from dry and cracking wood. There are many choices for picket fence post caps. Basic post caps range in price from $3 to $10 each. There are also solar post caps that will provide light at night and start around $20 each. This could be a great way to illuminate the area near a gate.

Ornamental Picket Fence

An ornamental picket fence 1 is a great way to add character to or compliment the architectural style of your home. Work with a designer to create the perfect addition to your property. Choose from custom pickets and posts and add interesting curves, scroll work, arbors 10, and custom gates. Expect the costs for an ornamental picket fence to start around $20 per linear foot, installed, and go up from there.

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 1 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 all 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.
  • Staining or painting a picket fence. If choosing wood for your picket fence, you will likely have the choice of getting your pickets pre-stained or pre-painted, or completing the painting or staining after installation. The cost to paint or stain a picket fence will be about $4 per linear foot.
  • 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.


  • How much does it cost to put up a picket fence?

A homeowner can expect to spend between $10 and $35 per linear foot for materials and installation for a picket fence 1. The price depends on the materials chosen for the fence, labor costs in your area, and the amount of preparation work needed.

  • 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 9 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 1.

  • 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.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Picket fence: A barrier or railing made out of pointed, spaced, vertical uprights (referred to as pickets), connected by at least two horizontal rails, used primarily for decorative purposes
glossary term picture Vinyl 2 Vinyl: A synthetic plastic made from ethylene and chlorine. Vinyl has many applications in the construction industry and it is widely used in sidings, window frames, roofing and gutters, among others
glossary term picture Western Red Cedar 3 Western red cedar: A very large tree native to the pacific northwest, whose wood is used primarily for outdoor applications such as roofing shakes and shingles, decks, posts, and siding
4 Leveling: The process of evening out the ground's surface, making it either flat or sloped.
5 Stringer: An inclined structure used to support the treads and risers in a staircase
6 Rail: A long bar designed for a person to hold onto, giving them support. They are usually found on the sides of staircases, and can also be found in bathrooms, for example, to help persons with disabilities
glossary term picture Privacy Fence 7 Privacy fences: A barrier or railing, typically composed of solid material, used to form a blockade around a yard, field, or other expanse of land to prevent encroachments from the outside
glossary term picture Post Cap 8 Post caps: An optional fence design detail, positioned on top of each fence post, used to give the fence a "finished" look and to prevent water from entering the posts
glossary term picture Fence Post 9 Fence posts: A sturdy pole set securely in the ground, that is used to support a fence. Fence posts are placed at regular intervals, and the other parts of the fence are attached to them
glossary term picture Pergola 10 Arbors: An arched structure with an open roof and cross rafters, supported by posts or columns, typically installed in a garden, park, or backyard and usually covered with climbing plants or vines.

Cost to install a picket fence varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

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