How Much Does a Fence Cost?

Are you thinking about installing a fence or paying a professional to do it for you? If so, there are a few things you need to understand about the process to make an informed decision. Building a fence costs approximately $2,620 for the average installation. Some owners can save as much as $1,000 off that price while the upper price boundary is over $4,000. These calculations come from various project reports and regional surveys.

When deciding to install a fence, keep in mind that there are many options, including aluminum, chain link, vinyl, wood and wrought iron. Since you are presumably building a fence to provide a combination of privacy and security, you'll want to choose the type of fence that best achieves those goals at an acceptable price. What follows are the factors that will help you make the best decision.

 

wood fence installation

 

Fence Installation Cost Factors

You'll want a solid estimate for your project before you begin the build. There are five major cost considerations:

  1. Parts: You can either acquire some of them yourself or rely on the fence contractor to get them and be charged later. While they will charge a markup fee, they receive discounts that could make the entire process cost-effective for you.
  2. Permits: You will have to contact your local municipality to see if a permit is required. Permit cost varies by location.
  3. Utilities: You will have to verify the fence doesn't interfere with their services. It's possible the fence could strike underground pipes or wires. Call 811, which exists in every state. Note that not calling could lead to costly repairs on the part of the homeowner.
  4. Grading: There's a chance your costs could be higher for a fence installation if the land is sloped higher because it makes installation more difficult.
  5. Labor: Expect to be charged per linear foot for materials and have labor and materials charged together.

Understand that the different materials each have unique installation costs depending upon their build complexity.

  • Chain-link fences are especially cost-effective.
  • The install cost of wood fences fluctuates depending upon the type of wood used.
  • Vinyl is more expensive than wood or chain-link.
  • Specialty materials such as aluminum and wrought iron cost the most.

Two additional considerations with regard to installation are fence height and property size.

Fence Height

The most popular fence size is six feet. This height provides enough view obstruction that only a small percentage of people can see over it while few pets can hurdle it. Presuming that you choose one of the most popular fence materials, wood or vinyl, you should expect to pay $7 to $19 per linear foot unless you select add-ons such as fancy patterns and ornamentation. Those can raise the price significantly.

Property Size

Even if you don't hire an installer, you should still evaluate your project as having a set cost per square foot. Also note that if you measure improperly, you may unintentionally schedule a build on a portion of land you don't own. This can lead to legal issues if there is a dispute about property rights. As such, it's critical that you properly measure the size of the property. Any miscalculation will have tremendous financial ramifications, and you also may wind up short on materials, forcing another trip to the store. Consider hiring a land surveyor to measure your land for $300 to $700. Ask to see their measurements for the land as a second form of verification for your own calculations. At this point, you should have a good idea how willing you are to perform the work on your own.

 pvc fence installation

 

Fencing Costs by Material

You've probably noted the discrepancy in fence pricing between wood and vinyl. The pricing gap is actually much larger if you use more expensive materials. Here is a breakdown of expected costs for each major material as well as the pros and cons of each one. This chart is intended only as a guideline - actual costs may vary.

Fence Type

Fence Cost
per linear foot

Labor Cost
per linear foot

Metal/Chain

$7

$10

Wood

$12

$12

Vinyl

$27

$13

Aluminum

$29

$10+