Pricing Guide: How Much Does a Privacy Fence Cost?

The cost of a privacy fence typically ranges from $1,788 to $6,961, with a national average price of about $4,375

Most homeowners pay from $1,788 to $6,961 for a privacy fence. Including material and labor costs, the national average price is about $4,375

Since most fence installers charge for projects by the linear foot, it’s useful to know that the average rate across different materials is about $25 per linear foot. Several variables can drop or raise that rate, and you might end up paying anywhere from $14 to $36 per linear foot

How much does privacy fencing cost?

Solid privacy fences can protect your backyard from outside eyes and excessive noise, and they don’t have to be too expensive. Here is a rundown of possible costs for your privacy fence project:

  • National average cost: $4,375
  • Typical price range: $1,788 to $6,961
  • Extreme low end: $1,400
  • Extreme high end: $8,250

For professional installation of a typical 6-foot privacy fence around a regular-sized residential backyard, most homeowners nationwide can expect to pay between $1,788 and $6,961. Factors like size, fencing material, and the layout of your property determine the exact price of your project. 

A large yard, premium materials like exotic woods or vinyl, or an otherwise complicated project could drive that cost as high as $8,250.

On the other hand, a homeowner looking to save money with budget materials (such as bamboo panels) and a simple fence design could pay as little as $1,400

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Cost Estimator by Size

Most professional fence installers will price your project based on how many linear feet of privacy fencing your yard needs. That means size is probably the biggest influence on the price of your fence. 

Different materials, fence heights, and styles have their own price points, but in general, you can expect to pay about $25 per linear foot for a privacy fence (as opposed to a picket fence, split-rail fence, or ornamental fence that doesn’t provide as much coverage).

The cheapest privacy fences run about $14 per linear foot, while the most expensive are closer to $36 per linear foot

Using that average price of $25 per linear foot, you can figure out a ballpark estimate of how much a fence for your yard size would be. For example, at this rate, a privacy fence for a small backyard of 500 square feet would cost about $1,725 total.

At the same rate, an average backyard of 2,000 square feet would be about $3,375.

If you have a larger backyard of around 3,500 square feet, expect to pay close to $4,500 for your privacy fence. 

Note: Privacy fences are almost always found in the backyard. Since they block views, they aren’t common in front yards. In some cities and in many homeowners associations, you may not even be allowed to have a privacy fence in the front yard. 

Other Factors That Affect Cost 

Not all variables are as easy to quantify and compute as size. The material you choose for your privacy fence, the location of your privacy fence in your yard, the area where you live, and other specifics can drastically alter your project’s budget. 

Taking factors such as these into account when figuring out how much money you would spend on your dream privacy fence makes the process a little more complicated, but it also gives you a much more accurate project estimate. 

Fencing material 

Bamboo privacy fence
Photo Credit: Paul Sableman / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

If privacy is what you’re after, just any fence won’t do. A chain-link fence, for example, would leave your backyard in full view of passersby (unless you install additional privacy slats). The same can be said for aluminum fencing, ornamental wrought iron fencing, and traditional picket fences. 

For a true privacy fence, you need a solid material. Your most affordable option would be bamboo fencing, which comes in solid rolls or panels and runs about $12 to $23 per linear foot.

Various types of wood also make perfect privacy fences, and many are affordable at about $12 to $30 per linear foot

Of all the popular fence materials, vinyl is probably the best for privacy, since it comes in solid, durable panels without any gaps. Vinyl fencing is a more expensive option, though, at around $22 to $38 per linear foot

PRIVACY FENCE MATERIALCOST
*includes material cost and professional labor cost
Bamboo$12 – $23/linear foot
Wood$12 – $30/linear foot
Vinyl$22 – $38/linear foot

Height

Wooden fence with house in the background
Photo Credit: John Mosbaugh / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Standard privacy fences usually stand 6 feet tall. In some places, though, an 8-foot privacy fence is also an option. Check your local building codes and HOA regulations to find out if you can have an 8-foot fence in your neighborhood.

If you decide to go the taller route, it will cost you more — add approximately 25% to 35% more to your budget for the extra material. 

Gates

Wood gate in a concrete building entrance
Photo Credit: Field Outdoor Spaces / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

In most cases, a fence isn’t functional without a gate. You’ll want to keep that in mind when calculating your budget, since gates cost more to install than regular fence panels. The necessary hardware and the extra work it takes to install a gate are what makes it more expensive. 

The cost of a privacy fence gate, which depends on its height and how decorative it is, could add anywhere from $175 to $1,200 to your overall costs. That’s the price per gate for your privacy fence, so if you need more than one gate, double or triple the price. 

Slope of land

Privacy fence with 2 women talking over top of it
Photo Credit: popofatticus / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The levelness of the land around your fence can affect the price, too, not just the fence itself.

If your backyard has an incline, the contractor may have to re-grade the land before they can install anything. The exact price of land grading depends on your property’s terrain, of course, but you can expect it to add $100 to $3,400 to the cost of your fencing project. 

Permits

Whether or not you need a permit to build a privacy fence on your property depends on where you live. If you’re hiring a contractor, he or she can probably handle all the necessary permits for you, and all you’ll have to do is pay.

If you are not having your privacy fence installed by a pro, check your local municipality’s building regulations to make sure you acquire the permits you need before you start building your privacy fence. 

Permits can add anywhere from $20 to $400 to your total project cost, so don’t let a large permit fee surprise you. Check if you need a permit and how much it will cost you early in your budget planning for your privacy fence.

Extra Services

When you’re searching for a fence contractor, take into account any extra services you may need along with your privacy fence installation. 

Do you have any landscaping features that need to be removed to make way for your fence, for example? If so, you’ll want to hire a contractor that can do that for you so you don’t have to a) remove them yourself or b) hire a completely separate service. 

Here are some additional services that often go hand-in-hand with installing a new fence:

Removing trees, bushes, and stumps

Corner of a wood privacy gate showing trees right up next to the fenceline
Photo Credit: Seth Vidal / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

If the obstacles in your yard are especially large or located in a difficult spot, you may not have the expertise to remove them yourself. Hiring a professional to remove things like trees, bushes, and stumps can get pretty expensive, and you don’t want those additional costs to blindside you. 

As you plan out your privacy fence, note any landscape elements that are in the way. When you call a fence contractor for your quote, ask if they can remove them for you or recommend a local tree service to do the job. Most pros will charge based on the size and location of the tree, bush, or stump. 

Added cost: $385 to $1,070 per tree; $75 to $125 per bush; $175 to $516 per stump

Fence replacement

Maybe you want a new privacy fence to replace an old, run-down one. Your contractor can help you there, too, since most fence installers offer to tear down the existing fence and haul it away.

Just as they usually charge for fence installation by the linear foot, your contractor will charge for removal based on how many linear feet of fence they have to dig up. 

The type of fence you need removed can also affect the cost, since some may be more difficult to remove than others. 

Added cost: $3 to $5 per linear foot of fence to be removed

Painting or staining 

Painted picket fence in blue, teal and white
Photo Credit: Michael Coghlan / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Depending on the material you choose for your privacy fence, you may need to paint or stain it after installation. Wooden fences, for example, need some kind of coating to protect them from rot, warping, pests, and other natural nuisances.

Even if you choose a vinyl privacy fence that doesn’t need sealing, you may want to change its color to match your home’s or yard’s aesthetic. 

For painting or staining your privacy fence, you have two choices. You can pay your fence installer to do it for you or you can buy the paint, stain, brushes, tarps, and a ladder and do it yourself. Either way, you’ll pay more for a larger fence or higher quality paint or stain. 

Added cost: $500 to $3,000 

Cost of Installing a Privacy Fence DIY

Some privacy fences are easier to install than others. Vinyl fence panels, for example, snap into place quite simply. Rolls of bamboo or bamboo fence panels can be easy to install, too, and they’re more affordable. 

A wood privacy fence is the most popular option, but it would take a little more work to prepare and install all the individual parts. 

If you want to save yourself a little money by installing your privacy fence DIY, you can expect to spend at least a few days on the project. You should consider asking a friend to help because an extra pair of hands can make the job easier and may even be necessary for some steps in the process.

Equipment needed 

The installation process is different for each type of privacy fence, so you may need slightly different tools for each one.

These are the tools you would need to build your own traditional wood privacy fence. All the necessary equipment is pretty basic, and you may already own most of the tools. 

In case you don’t, we’ve collected average price data from Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Amazon to help you tally approximately how much you would spend if you had to buy all the tools new.    

EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR DIY PRIVACY FENCECOST
Spray paint$5
Work gloves$10
Paint brush$15
Mason’s line$15
Hand saw$16
Protective safety glasses$16
Tape measure$18
Claw hammer$20
Level$21
Post hole digger$50
Power drill$80
TOTAL$266

Cost of materials

A privacy fence for a typical backyard will usually be around 150 linear feet long. Here are the materials you need to build a wood fence of that size. We’ve estimated how much you would need of each material and how much they would cost, based on average prices from Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Keep in mind that your exact project cost could be much higher or lower depending on the type of wood you use. Pressure-treated pine is usually the most affordable lumber, while tropical hardwoods and redwood are typically the most expensive. 

MATERIALS NEEDED FOR DIY PRIVACY FENCECOST
*per item
TOTAL COST PER ITEM
*approximate, based on 150-foot fence
Wood fence pickets$5 x 328 =$1,640
Box of nails$12
Horizontal fence rails$13 x 40 =$520
Concrete mix$20
Deck screws$23
Wood fence posts$28 x 20 =$560
Outdoor paint or wood stain$125
Gravel (large bag)$400
TOTAL$3,300

How to build a wood privacy fence DIY in 10 steps

1. Calculate how much material you need. Measure the perimeter of your backyard (or whatever area you want to fence in) in linear feet. Then, once you’ve chosen what material you want to use, you can calculate how much of it you need. In this DIY example, we include the material costs and construction process for a 150 linear foot fence made of wood. 

2. Outline and plan the fence. Use mason’s line or another durable string you can pull taut to show where the fence will be. You can use this string as a guideline while you install your fence posts and pickets. 

3. Space out fence posts. Every 6 to 8 feet along the outline you created, mark a spot on the ground with spray paint for the fence post holes. The space between each post should be consistent all the way around. Your fence will almost definitely need a gate, so mark two parallel lines to show where the gate will go. 

4. Prepare post holes. With a post hole digger (or a power auger if you have one, to make the job a little easier), dig a hole on each spray-painted mark. The depth and width of each hole depends on the size of your fence posts. Each hole should be three times wider than the post and a third as deep as the post is tall (so, an 8-foot post would need a 2½-foot hole). Dig 3 to 4 inches extra for the gravel base. Call 811 (the diggers’ hotline) before you dig any holes to ensure you avoid underground utility lines. 

5. Pour gravel in each hole. To help water drain away from the posts, each hole will need a gravel base. Pour 3 to 4 inches of gravel in each hole and tamp it down. 

6. Mix concrete. Add water to your concrete mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions until it’s liquid and ready to pour. Choose a fast-acting concrete if you want the posts to set quicker. 

7. Install fence posts in concrete. Stand one post in the middle of each of the holes you just dug. Have a partner hold the posts plumb or brace them with stakes to keep them standing up straight as you pour concrete into the hole. After you pour it, slope the concrete away from the post for drainage. On top of the concrete, backfill each hole with 1 or 2 inches of dirt and pack it in tightly. The concrete has to set before you can move on to the next step, and this might take several days. 

8. Attach horizontal rails. After the concrete dries, attach horizontal rails between each post. About 6 inches from the top and bottom of the posts, attach a horizontal rail using a hammer or drill. For a fence of 6 feet or taller (which a privacy fence will almost always be), you should also include a middle rail for increased stability. Use a level to check regularly that the rails stay straight. 

9. Install fence pickets. With the hammer or drill, attach pickets along every rail. For a true privacy fence, leave no gaps between each picket. Again, use a level as you work to keep all the pickets plumb. 

10. Coat the wood with protective sealant. Once you’ve built your wooden privacy fence, you need to paint, stain, or otherwise coat it to protect the wood from the elements. Every few years, apply a fresh coat to keep the fence in good condition. You can skip this step if you build your privacy fence from a material such as vinyl or bamboo. 

DIY cost vs. professional installation cost

Uneven fence line with different colored materials
Photo Credit: spinster cardigan / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Overall, you can expect to spend about $3,566 on equipment and materials and a few days of your time to build your own wood privacy fence.

If your privacy fence is made of bamboo, you most likely would spend less on materials. If your privacy fence is made of vinyl, you likely will pay more.

Installing a privacy fence should be simple for an avid home improvement DIY-er, but it requires some comfort with tools and light construction, which not every homeowner has. 

If you don’t think you’re up for the job, you can hire a professional fence installer. You would pay approximately $4,900 to have a pro install and paint the same 150 linear foot wood privacy fence as the one in the DIY example. 

Doing the work yourself would save you almost $1,500, but it would require a lot more time and effort on your part. You have to decide which route is the most worthwhile for you. 

Cost of Privacy Fencing by Location

The prices of vinyl and bamboo privacy fence materials don’t usually vary by region, but the same can’t be said for wood. Different types of lumber will have different price points depending on where you live, since some wood is more common in certain areas than others. 

No matter which type of privacy fence you choose, the exact rate of professional labor will depend on the market in your town.

FAQ About Privacy Fences

1. What is the cheapest privacy fence?

If privacy is important for you, your cheapest fencing option is bamboo rolls or panels. There are cheaper fence materials, such as hog wire and chain-link, but they’re see-through and therefore don’t make good privacy fences. 

2. Is it cheaper to build a fence horizontal or vertical?

Vertical wood fences are cheaper than horizontal, and they tend to be more durable and long-lasting, too. 

3. Is it better to use screws or nails for a fence?

Both are viable options. Nails are usually cheaper, but screws tend to last longer and are easier to remove in case you need to make repairs at some point. 

Conclusion

Privacy fences are common in many neighborhoods, and one could turn your backyard into a quiet, secluded oasis.

Privacy fencing isn’t the cheapest fence style, but it’s moderately affordable, with a national average overall cost of about $4,375, including professional installation. Depending on whether you use budget-friendly or more premium materials, that price could fluctuate between $1,788 and $6,961

Alternatively, you could roll up your sleeves and install your own wood privacy fence for around $3,566 in equipment and materials. Again, using different materials or building an especially large or small fence can significantly change what that price looks like for you. 

Main Photo Credit: Bobby McKay / Flickr / CC BY-ND

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin is a writer and indoor plant enthusiast hailing from Florida. She enjoys reading fantasy novels, cuddling with her bulldog, and collecting succulents (because they’re so hard for her to kill).