How much does it cost to install a wood fence?
Installing a wood fence can add more privacy to your home and improve its look. You might be considering installing your fence as an upgrade to your current fence, or as a part of a new home construction project. The process of installing a wood fence requires an inspection of the property and grading with an estimate from the installer, getting the proper permits, planning, preparing and setting the fence posts 1, attaching the railing 2 to the fence posts 1, and finally installing the boards.
You have several design options to choose from when installing a new wooden fence, as well as height options. Heights range from around 3’-6’ or taller. Popular styles include ranch fences, picket fences 3, privacy and semi-privacy fences, they are made with several different types of wood like pressure treated pine, spruce, tropical hardwoods 4, black locust 5, white oak 6, western red cedar 7 and others.
This guide will go into detail on the cost per foot of different types of wooden fences for ¼ acre (209 linear feet), which is the approximate size of the average residential yard.
- Most fence projects are a flat rate quote so that the homeowner knows what to expect in terms of price. Flat rate quotes for ¼ acre fencing projects start at around $2,000 for the lowest quality wood and smallest fences such as ranch style fences, up to around $10,000 for higher quality woods and larger fences like 6’ privacy fences 8. If they are charged hourly, labor costs are $25-$50 per hour per laborer.
- Ranch style: for ¼ acre (around 209 linear feet) the total cost would be $1,880-$3,135 for a basic ranch style fence.
- 3’-4’ wooden picket: for ¼ acre (around 209 linear feet), the total cost would be $2,300-$4,600 for a basic wooden picket fence 3.
- Basic 6’ privacy fence 8: for a very basic ¼ acre (209 linear feet) privacy fence 8 the total cost with materials and installation would be $3,135-$5,840.
|Ranch Style/Split Rail|
The lowest cost option
Easy and fast to install
Wide range of woods
Offers minimal privacy and security
Lowest barrier (2.5’-3’ tall)
Not a good protection for children or pets.
|$3-$6 per linear foot|
|3’-4’ Wooden Picket|
It offers more security than a ranch style fence
Easier installation tran a taller privacy fence 8
Not secure for pets nor children
|$5-$13 per linear foot|
|6’ Privacy Fence 8|
The best option in terms of privacy and security
Most pets won’t be able to jump it
Young children should be safe
Highest installation and material costs
Permits may be required
|$8-$18 per linear foot|
Enhancement and improvement costs
- Using a higher quality wood like white oak 6, black locust 5, western red cedar 7 or tropical hardwoods 4 will increase the material price by 20%-50%.
- Redwood 9 is one of the most expensive woods for fences because of its beauty and durability, but it must be stained and treated.
- Tropical hardwoods 4 can be used to create beautiful fences and they are extremely hard, durable, dense and heavy, but they are some of the highest priced woods.
- Western red cedar 7 is resistant to weather damage, moisture and rot and it is a good middle of the range option.
- White oak 6 is also weather resistant, but it has the tendency to warp or bow.
- Black locust 5 is a very tough wood and has low maintenance requirements. It is recommended for those who keep horses.
- Sealant can weatherproof the wood and protect it from rotting and deterioration. The cost of exterior wood stain sealant can range from $100-$200 per 640 oz (5 gallons). 5 to 10 gallons will be needed for ¼ acre of fencing.
- Fence post caps and toppers cost between $5-$50 each depending on the material used such as vinyl 10, wood or metal. They improve the look of a fence and some have lighting installed.
- Adding a gate can cost another $200-$600 per gate, depending on the wood used and the complexity. The lower end of the spectrum would cover an inexpensive wood like pine and at the higher end the wood used might be western red cedar 7 or black locust 5.
- Installing fence posts 1 in concrete instead of gravel provides more stability and it can cost an extra $2-$4 per linear foot.
Additional considerations and costs
- It’s common to upgrade an existing chain link fence to a wooden fence because of the improved privacy and security.
- Increasing the height of a privacy fence 8 to 8’ can be desirable in some areas for additional security, privacy or because of the topography. This will add an extra 25%-35% to material and labor costs compared to a 6’ privacy fence 8.
- A DIY fence project is difficult to undertake, as it normally requires multiple people, but it can be done by experienced homeowners, who want to save on labor costs.
- A professional wood fence installation will may come with a limited warranty on materials, but warranties are more common on other materials like vinyl 10 or steel.
- It’s essential that water, electric and gas lines are located on a property before any digging is performed. Many jurisdictions offer a free underground utility locate service and will send a locator to mark the approximate location of the different utility lines on the property.
- Removing existing fencing and hauling it away can cost between $2-$5 per linear foot. For an existing 209-foot fence, the cost would be $418-$1,045 for removal and disposal.
- A zoning permit may be needed for fence installations in some residential areas, particularly if the fence is above a certain height, and this can cost between $200-$400 for a contractor to obtain.
- Difficult fence installations with steep slopes 11, obstructions or other access problems can add 20%-40% to normal labor costs.
- Wooden fences require some maintenance such as staining and painting, and this can cost between $100-$200 per year plus the time of the homeowner or the cost to hire a contractor.
- Privacy fences 8 are designed to be built an average of 6 feet in height for the purposes of privacy, but other fences that are not designed for privacy may be shorter. There are other benefits of a privacy fence 8 such as acting as a security deterrent from burglars, preventing pests or animals from entering a garden, offering a safe area for children, and clearly defining the borders of a property.