Wood fencing is an umbrella term that covers different types of wood, styles of fence, and yards of different sizes. Considering these variables and more, you can expect to pay an average of $3,222 to have a professional install your wood fence.
A typical price range is $1,996 – $4,448 overall, or $14 – $31 per linear foot. Keep in mind that all these numbers are national averages, and the cost of lumber and labor might vary considerably depending on where you live.
How much does a wood fence cost?
- National average cost: $3,222
- Typical price range: $1,996 – $4,448
- Extreme low end: $839
- Extreme high end: $7,489
Most homeowners will pay between $1,996 and $4,448 for a wood fence installation, including all materials and labor costs.
Those numbers aren’t accurate for everyone, though. An especially simple project, such as fencing in a small area, could cost as little as $839 overall.
On the other hand, a particularly large or complicated project could run the cost up to about $7,489.
On This Page
- Cost Estimator by Size
- Other Factors That Affect Cost
- Extra Services
- Cost of Building a Wood Fence DIY
- Cost of Wood Fencing by Location
Cost Estimator by Size
The overall cost of a wood fence depends heavily on the size of the area you want to fence. The larger the space, the more fencing material you’ll have to purchase and the more work hours you’ll have to pay for installation of your fence. A smaller space, of course, means less of both.
Typically, you’ll pay about $14 – $31 per linear foot of wood fencing, for an average of $23 per linear foot. The type of wood you use, the lay of the land where you want the fence, the specific fence installer you hire, and other variables determine the exact cost per linear foot for your project.
Based on the average rate described above, you can expect to pay about $1,587 total to fence in a small backyard of 500 square feet, about $3,105 for a mid-sized backyard of 2,000 square feet, and about $4,140 for a large backyard of 3,500 square feet.
Other Factors That Affect Cost
Yard size isn’t the only variable that can significantly change the overall cost of your wood fencing project. You have to take other specifics of your needs and desires into account to calculate an accurate budget for your wood fence project.
Type of wood
People have various reasons — color, texture, upkeep, for example — for choosing a particular type of wood for a fence. Some like the rich color of redwood, which runs at about $48 per linear foot (including installation), while others go for more cost-effective options like spruce ($25 per linear foot) or pine ($28 per linear foot).
Because each type of lumber has its own price point, you’ll have to decide which fence type you want to use before you can get a clear picture of what your budget should look like.
Here are some of the most common woods used for fences and how much each costs on average (including materials and professional installation):
|TYPE OF WOOD||COST|
*per linear foot
|Western Red Cedar||$33|
Just as there are several different types of wood for you to choose from, there are many different fence styles that serve various purposes. Privacy fencing would be the ideal solution if you are looking to block out the rest of the world from your backyard, while a white picket fence has become synonymous with the American dream.
Various styles of fence use more or less lumber and require more or less of the fence installer’s time. For those reasons, which style of wood fence you want is another major indicator of overall cost.
Here are the most popular fence styles for homeowners and approximately how much you would pay for each one (including labor costs):
*per linear foot
|Rail Fence (aka: Ranch Fence)||$11 – $29|
|Picket Fence||$12 – $48|
|Privacy Fence||$20 – $45|
Bottom line: Rail fencing is typically the cheapest option, while a solid privacy fence is typically the most expensive.
The height of your fence determines how much lumber you’ll need for your project. The prices in this guide refer to the cost of a standard 6-foot fence. Other common heights are 8 feet and 4 feet.
For an 8-foot fence, add 20% – 30% to your budget for additional lumber. Subtract 20% – 30% for a 4-foot fence.
Most likely, you’ll want to install a gate along with your fence. Because of the gate’s hardware and the extra time it will take to install, this part of your fence will cost more than the rest.
How much money a gate will add to your overall expense depends on its size, complexity, and material. You’ll also pay more for an automatic gate than a manual one.
In general, expect to add $175 – $1,200 to your total costs for professional gate installation.
Slope of land
If the land where you want to build your fence has an incline, your contractor may have to grade the land before he or she starts building. Depending on the size of the space and how much work your land needs, grading can cost an additional $900 – $3,000.
Your city, county, state, or homeowners association may require a building permit for putting up a fence. Those permits can cost you $20 – $400 depending on the size of the project and where you live.
Check your local building codes or ask your contractor to find out if you’ll need to obtain a permit for your wood fencing project.
Sometimes, a fence installation is more than just a fence installation. Your fence project may require additional services, and those services will increase your overall price.
Consider whether or not you will need these extra services and how much each one could potentially add to your budget for your wood fence project.
Tree or bush removal
If a tree or bush interrupts the perimeter of your yard where you want to put your fence, you’ll have to remove it.
For a small bush or tree, you may be able to do the job yourself. For larger plants, though, you’ll most likely have to hire a professional. Your fence contractor may be able to remove the plant for you, or you may have to find a separate tree service.
The cost of tree and bush removal varies depending on the size and location of the plant, along with other factors.
Added cost: About $385 – $1,070 or $10 – $14 per foot
You might have an existing fence blocking the path of your new fence. Most installers will remove and haul away the old fence for an additional fee. The overall cost of fence removal depends on how much fence the contractor has to tear down.
Added cost: $3 – $5 per linear foot of fence to be removed
For a wood fence, painting or staining is an important part of the process, since the coating protects the wood from rot, pests, and water damage. However, paint or stain isn’t usually included in the cost of installation.
If you want your contractor to paint your wood fence for you, you will have to pay extra for the paint or stain itself and the additional hours of labor.
The exact price of painting your wood fence will depend on the quality of paint or stain you choose and the length and height of fence you need painted.
Added cost: $500 – $3,000
Cost of Building a Wood Fence DIY
Homeowners familiar with power tools and home improvement projects will likely find building a wood fence easy, as long as the land you’re building on is flat. Handy homeowners can save some money by going the DIY route instead of hiring a professional.
That being said, inexperienced homeowners would be better off hiring someone to handle this project for them. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you run the risk of pouring thousands of dollars and hours of your time into a fence that will either look unpleasant or fail to stand up to the elements.
These are the tools you’ll need to build your own wood fence. If you already own them, that means no additional cost to you. If you don’t, we have provided the average price you would pay to buy a new tool, based on information from Amazon, Lowe’s, and Home Depot.
|EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR DIY WOOD FENCE||COST|
|Protective safety glasses||$16|
|Post hole digger||$50|
Cost of materials
How much you pay for materials depends on what type of wood you use and how much space you need to cover, just like the cost of professional fence installation.
Here, we’ve provided the average cost of materials for 150 feet of wood fencing. These prices reflect averages from Lowe’s and Home Depot.
|MATERIALS NEEDED FOR DIY WOOD FENCE||COST|
*approximate of a 150-foot wood fence
|Outdoor wood stain||$125|
How to build a wood fence DIY in 10 steps
- Measure for materials. Measure the perimeter of the area you want to fence. When you know how many linear feet of fencing you need, you can calculate exactly how many posts, rails, pickets, and other materials to purchase.
- Mark where the gate will go. If you’re going to install a gate (which you probably will want to do), decide where it’s going to go before you begin installing your fence. Use spray paint to make parallel lines on the ground outlining the space for the gate.
- Outline the fence. Use mason’s line (or another durable string) to outline where the fence will be located. Every 6 to 8 feet along the line, mark a spot on the ground with spray paint. These marks show where you will install the fence posts. Make sure the spacing between each mark is consistent.
- Prepare post holes. At each spot you marked with spray paint, use a post hole digger (or an auger, if you have one) to dig the holes where you’ll install the posts. Each hole’s depth should be equivalent to one-third the height of the posts. For example, if it’s an 8-foot post, dig a hole about 2.5 feet deep, then dig a few more inches for the gravel base. The holes should be three times as wide as the posts. Always call 811 before digging so you know where your underground utility lines are.
- Lay gravel base. In each post hole, pour 3 to 4 inches of gravel and pack it in using the bottom of the fence post or a tamping tool.
- Mix concrete. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix your concrete so it’s ready to pour.
- Install posts. Place a fence post in each hole, sitting on top of the gravel. Pour the liquid concrete in the hole around the post. You may want to have someone else hold the post straight while you pour the concrete. Cover the concrete with 1 to 2 inches of dirt. Before you move on to the next step, give the concrete time to set (which can take several days).
- Attach horizontal rails. Now that the posts are securely in place and the concrete has set, install the horizontal rails between each post. To do so, attach the end of each rail to a post using a power drill and/or a claw hammer. Attach a top and bottom rail between each post. For extra stability, you can also install a middle rail. As you work, use a level to make sure you keep the rails straight.
- Attach pickets. Next, attach the pickets to the horizontal rails. Use your drill and/or hammer to fix every picket to both (or all three) rails between each post. Again, use a level periodically to make sure the tops of all the pickets are flush.
- Paint or stain. Apply outdoor paint, wood stain, or a protective sealant to every wood part of the fence. You can alter the wood’s color if you want, but even if you don’t, you should still apply some sort of coating to protect the wood.
DIY cost vs. professional installation cost
If you don’t already own the required equipment and materials, building your own fence will cost you about $3,566. Remember, that price could be much higher or lower depending on the type of wood you use and how many linear feet of fence you need to build.
To have a professional build and stain the same fence with the same materials, you would pay about $5,200. So, by doing it yourself, you would save more than $1,000.
While the savings might look tempting, remember that building a wood fence won’t be easy. If you don’t already have solid construction skills, you might find this project too difficult to do on your own. Worse, you might end up with a bad fence.
You’ll have to decide for yourself if you’re up for the job and, if you are, whether or not the money is worth the time and effort you would have to put in to build your fence.
Cost of Wood Fencing by Location
The price of lumber varies significantly based on where you live. Certain types of wood are more easily available in some parts of the country than others. As a result, the cost of wood fencing varies by region, too.
You can use the figures in this guide as a starting point, but, because they represent national averages, they may not be completely accurate for your neck of the woods.
FAQ About Wood Fencing
Cedar will give you the most bang for your buck because it’s affordable, pretty, and naturally resistant to common issues such as pests and warping.
Wood fencing is much cheaper than PVC fencing upfront, but wood will require repainting or staining every few years, while PVC is practically maintenance-free.
Your fence’s longevity, like so many other things, depends on the type of wood you use to build it. Most wooden fences should last 15 to 20 years with proper maintenance.
Of all the different types of fencing, a wood fence offers one of the best combinations of affordability and durability. Type of wood, fence style, and the size of the project will be the main influencers of the overall cost of your wood fence. A typical range, including professional fence installation, is $1,996 – $4,448, for a national average of $3,222.
If you decide to build your own wood fence, you can expect to spend about $3,566 on equipment and construction materials. However you slice it, you’ll almost always have to pay a few thousand dollars for a quality wood fence.
Main Photo Credit: R. Miller / Flickr / CC BY 2.0