Fencing: How much does it cost?!?

June 25, 2014

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We have been busy the past couple weeks nailing down a lot of details pertaining to the upcoming fencing project for our yard and we have learned so much. Fence jargon–it exists! Our search to find something similar to our inspiration photo started out rough. A nearby fencing company with something very similar to our inspiration photo would not give us a pricing estimate and told us that the price would scare us away from that one anyhow. Consider us scared! I searched a lot of other fencing websites nearby, but none of them listed anything near what we had in mind.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 10.28.05 PM

I extended our search online and finally got a ballpark figure of what I thought we could expect financially (why is cost such a secret?!) when we received one quote for $9000. Ouch. That didn’t include labor or anything. I was starting to think that I was going to have to soften up on the look I was going for. My parents told me to go check out a local fencing company they used just to see if they had anything similar. They had about 15 designs displayed, but none of them were what we really wanted. But, I started talking to the owner about what we wanted and he took us back to their shop and basically let me design our fence. It’s not exact, but it’s real close. He told me he would email an estimate to us the next morning and I don’t think we slept a wink that night.

Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 9.59.07 PMThe price came back at $6771.50 with labor. We squealed. We screamed. That’s a lot of money, but for fencing our whole yard–and not having to do it ourselves– we learned that’s an excellent price. As with any major project, there are things that can go wrong, so we have some additional money set aside for that. For instance, Shane (the fence guy) warned us that the underground utilities may or may not be an issue. We called 811 and had the city come and mark where all the underground utilities are on our lot (for free!) so we know what we’re dealing with there. Another issue in Idaho is underground plastic sprinkler lines–they are impossible to mark and we should expect that there will be causalities–as there normally is in already established yards. And lastly, because we have a lot of trees and shrubs on your lot, we need to be prepared to move or lose some. The fencing equipment can dig through roots; however, once you start getting those larger roots, say 3-8 inch roots, the post placement/spacing may have to be adjusted slightly to avoid hitting a large root.


A few of you mentioned permits in our last post and I am so glad you did because I honestly hadn’t thought about that. Luckily, in our area, you don’t need a permit for a fence. BUT, we are kind of a corner lot, kind of in a cul-de-sac–GRAY AREA at its finest–and there are some rules about that. For instance, the side fence of a corner lot has to be 3ft tall OR 50% see-through. A 3-ft tall fence would basically diminish our reason for getting a fence in the first place, but the design of our fence is 50% open, so whether we count as a corner lot or not–we should be safe. We are going to double check with our Planning & Zoning office to make sure. The last thing we want to have to do is tear down our brand new fence.

I can’t tell you how not fun it is to drop $7K on a fence. We wish we were buying some new appliances for the kitchen to be honest! But, this is something extremely necessary in our lives and for our home. Not to mention, a huge step in updating our exterior. One reason this home had trouble selling was the back yard was so small. By installing this fence, we are actually expanding the “backyard” by enclosing our large side yards as well and adding a lot of privacy, too. It’s worth it? It’s worth it. It’s worth it! (On repeat in my head as I watch our savings deplete.)

As a side note, the estimate we received is for 161 ft of 6ft fence and 114 ft of 4ft fence (we’ll be using that along our back yard to blend with our neighbor’s existing fence). If you have had a fence installed, would you mind sharing the cost and your location? I think it could be really beneficial to others!

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What do you think?

  1. Don Davies says:

    Thanks for this Chris and Julia. I think contractors opening up fencing prices are helpful and it gives the customers like me time to carefully study the budgeting and finances. Much like two years ago when I had my contractor put up my TREX composite fencing in my AZ home. I had time to prepare and know the budget ahead of time, helping me make the fence project a success!

  2. Nice and helpful post without a doubt! Just fyi I come to know about numerous valuable things from your article.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  3. Jess Spencer says:

    Looks great! I do have one question, though. Won’t Greta just learn how to open the lock and get out? Haha- that girl seems determined!

  4. Jack says:

    I have a 24′ x 24′ vegetable garden that I wanted to fence in to keep animals and children out. After calling a few contractors and researching fencing options, we went with a 4′ high no-dig vinyl picket from WamBam. We purchased about 98 ft. of fencing including gate for around 1.8K delivered. We installed it during our free time over the course of two weeks.

    We went with this selection because we didn’t think we were getting the most out of our money with local options. For example, we received a quote of 1.4K for a 18′ x 18′ area with a 3′ high wood picket. I love the fence, and would install it again at our next house.

  5. Callie says:

    Wow – you all are confirming that any future fences we need will again be built with our own sweat – ouch the prices! (Okay, maybe it’s worth it if you have real jobs and kids or wouldn’t enjoy it…we are physics grad students with more energy than money)

    We built just over 100 ft of privacy fencing in Oklahoma (setting posts in deep concrete, yay tornados) for around $600. We did the most basic dog-eared privacy fence and didn’t use the pre-made paneling in order to save money. We used deck screws to assemble (careful not to overdrill as another commenter mentioned – your drill setting helps with that) and that made it go a lot faster. I blogged about it although didn’t break down the costs in the blog post:

    Julia, it’s fun to see the fencing designs you’ve been looking at! It would be a fun challenge for my future self to try a more complex design next time…

  6. That IS a great price! We’ve paid the deposit on ours, and we can’t wait to get it up and say “PEACE OUT” to the ugly chain link!

  7. Adrianne D says:

    We had 160 ft of 6ft high vinyl privacy fence (0% see-through) installed for $7000 (give or take). I’m in New York on Long Island and everything is more expensive here. :(

  8. Ashley Carmody says:

    Last year we spent $7000 fencing in our backyard for our 96 lb Bernese Mtn dog and now for the little one we are expecting. It’s a 6 ft white vinyl privacy fence and it was worth every penny!!! Would never hesitate to spend it again so hopefully that puts your mind at ease!

    • tracee says:

      i’m in jacksonville, nc and also used Andy’s fence. AMAZING! we have the 6ft wood privacy fence and our neighbors got one at the same time so we split the fourth side. it was about 7 years ago and it still looks brand new and has held up through all the hurricanes without even one casualty.

  9. Katrina says:

    We just had a fence installed in coastal NC – north of Wilmington & very near the beach. It is a 6 ft tall privacy fence with posts set in concrete. We had to fence in 3 sides of our yard and we were able to tie into an existing fence along the back. We upgraded a step or two from the basic dog-eared style to have the top finished flat and caps put on the posts. 305 feet with 2 gates cost us $2,900. That is approximately $9.51 per foot. We will have to stain or paint it ourselves once it dries out… I did a little research and I estimate that to be another $800-1000. I was told by our realtor that $10-12 per foot for a basic stockade fence was average in our area.

    Any tree removal, gates, upgrades, permits, or obstacles will increase your costs. If your HOA or county code allows you to tie-in with an existing neighbors fence that will save you money.

    The only problem we have is that the back fence line that we tied into is owned by our neighbor… they do not maintain it properly nor will it ever be an exact match to our fence. My husband would like to plant a hedge to block out the ugliness and that will be a significant additional cost…

    • Katie NC says:

      Katrina- I’m in Wilmington and have just started thinking of fixing my fences in my yard. What company did you go with? I am familiar with Seegars but that’s about it. I’d love your input

      • Katrina says:

        We are in the Sneads Ferry – Holly Ridge area and used Andy’s Fence out of Jacksonville! Andy was wonderful in person and his company was great to work with remotely. They gave us a written estimate that was bang on and it took them about a month to order all the wood/parts and install. Pricing was reasonable. Apparently, he has horrible reviews on Google? But we had a really great experience. Clay’s Fencing was also recommended to us but we had difficultly trying to get a written estimate from them.

      • tracee says:

        i’m in jacksonville, nc and also used Andy’s fence. AMAZING! we have the 6ft wood privacy fence and our neighbors got one at the same time so we split the fourth side. it was about 7 years ago and it still looks brand new and has held up through all the hurricanes without even one casualty.

    • Katie NC says:

      Wow- thanks guys!!!! I’ll add Andy’s to my project list.
      Thanks again!

  10. Sheree says:

    In the Twin Cities metro area we put up a full 6ft cedar privacy fence with two gates around our entire property. We have a small, 50 ft wide urban lot. I don’t know the exact dimensions of the fence but it was about $4000 total with labor. We stained it ourselves which saved about a grand. Best thing we ever did- even though our neighbors were quite perturbed. In our urban ‘hood you are either a fence lover or a fence hater.

    • Marin says:

      Who did you have install your fence? I am also in the Twin Cities and my friend just got an estimate from Home Depot for a 6 ft cedar fence for a smilar sized, small urban yard and their estimate was $7,000.

      • Jackie says:

        Also in the Twin Cities and we got a couple of comparable quotes. We ended up going with Midwest Fence, if you’re curious. I believe we fenced 140 feet around the yard with two gates, 6 foot cedar. They also took out the chain link. Paying $5,000 for new fence and fence removal and haul away. We went with the board on board (extra privacy) privacy fence.

  11. Mia B says:

    You are going to love it! Putting up a new 8′ privacy fence has totally changed the feel of our backyard. Since we had to practically sell a kidney to do it, we’re going in phases, and this is just for one side of our large lot. We got a deal through a landscaper friend, for an 8′ cedar, cap & trim privacy fence, steel posts (tornado country!) about 104 linear feet, somewhere in the $3800-4000 range.

    I second the recommendation for a large gate – especially for DIYers and if you are still doing work on your property! We asked for a 4′ gate, which really ended up somewhere around 3.5′, and was just talking to a tree trimmer yesterday about getting a stump grinder back there. He says it’s going to be really close but he thinks he could do it. With vinyl, maybe you could get a 6′ gate, designed like a french door – and keep one side that you use a lot and one side that you just can open for special needs. Good luck!

  12. Laurene Jackson says:

    Chris and Julia,
    Shane built our fence nine years ago. We love it. He’s very good, our fence looks awesome and at the end of the day, the estimate was exactly what he charged us. That doesn’t always happen with contractors. ;) The year after we put it in, we had one panel that had started to rise. We called Custom Vinyl, and no problem, they came right out and fixed it. Jennifer R is correct in saying that vinyl fences don’t look new forever, but we can change out panels if we feel the need – which we haven’t. Shane is a great guy and does good work. He also built us a nice front porch railing, replacing our very pretty, but HIGH MAINTENANCE wooden one. We have always been glad we spent the money for vinyl.
    One thing we did a little differently was put in an extra wide gate. It’s come in handy more times than not. Try moving a hot tub or even a trampoline through a narrow gate and you’ll know why. :)
    BTW Chris – Josh worked for Shane for a year before his mission. I’ll be surprised if you’re not happy happy happy when it’s done. Best luck!

    • Julia says:

      Thanks for the kind words Laurene! We trust Shane even more now and can’t wait to see the final product. Also, about the gate, we are doing 2–4ft french door gates for that reason exactly!

  13. Treana B says:

    We are starting with removing trees and stumps, possibly putting in a driveway to a garage that does not exist yet and then installing a fence. I think we are nuts. I also think that me saying “we” means me and my best friends at Home Depot or Lowe’s or a local company that isn’t going to rob us blind. I think we will do a great job.

  14. Rebecca says:

    I spent 9K on a 6ft white vinyl privacy fence in PA (sorry I don’t remember distance around the yard) . After we installed that my husband and I decided to install aluminum fence around our pool which cost $3500. I highly recommend vinyl and aluminum. Its maintenance free. With three kids I can’t be bothered with having to seal & stain a wood fence in the next 20 years.

    One thing I was a stickler about was I wanted my entire fence to be LEVEL. I hate when fence runs with the ground level and goes all wobbly up and down around the yard. Because of this some areas of our yard had larger gaps under the fence than others. After our fence was installed we had our yard graded and landscaped and the gap is gone. Take the above idea into consideration because if you want your fence level in areas you have to request it and make sure the installers do it.

    • Julia says:

      That’s one of the main reasons we are happy we are able to hire this job out. We want to make sure it is level! And that’s a major skill.

  15. Jennifer R. says:

    Yes, fences are so expensive! When we bought our house we really underestimated this and just thought “we’ll just put up a fence, no biggie!”

    Our neighbors both have chain link. Just so happens both of their fences slightly encroach on our property. We decided we would just link to them. I don’t like the look of chain link from the front and we wanted more privacy in the back because our home backs up to a large park. We did a 6 ft pine wood privacy fence along the back side and 4 ft picket fencing along the front. We used 4×4 posts and tried to bury each as close to 24 inches as we could. We stained the picket fence in Sherwin Williams alabaster opaque woodscapes stain and it has held up great 2 years later. Stain allows you to have the white look but it lets the wood breath so no chipping, bubbling, etc. can happen.

    Our total cost was around $2000. We borrowed an augger from a friend. We bought in early November and the fence was up by January. We were out in the freezing cold setting posts and putting everything up. Here are lessons we learned:

    1 – you really need to set posts carefully and deep. If you hit something, back out and call the utilitity company. If it just a root, work through it somehow. Some of our posts were only able to get 15 inches deep and now they are leaning. We are going to have to add a few posts to keep the fence looking good.

    2- if your property is AT ALL uneven, do not use premade panels. We did the privacy fence in components and it looks good. The picket fence only came in panels so we tried but it looks sloppy because the ground is not straight. We are going to remove the panels and redo it in components, keeping our posts. The posts are really the hard part so it is just a lesson learned for us.

    3. Use a nail gun. We thought screws would be more secure, and more the rails they are. But for attaching individual wood pickets to the rails you want nails because screws have the tendency to burrow down the picket to just pop off eventually in a wind storm. Plus nails are so much faster!! We now have screws and nails in that privacy fence and it is not going anywhere.

    4. Get some tie downs and long cords for dogs. For the few months we didn’t have a fence, these were so helpful. Do not use heavy chains, you can get 30 ft lightweight chords. You still need to watch your dog when they are out, but you can do it from the warmth of your home through the window rather than walking them in the cold.

    We made lots of mistakes, but we learned so much too. We saved tons of money by doing it ourselves. We got two quotes and those were $5K and $6K for what we did for $2K. We just don’t have that kind of money. We live in north Alabama, btw. Also I would suggest to anyone looking at vinyl fencing to ride around and look at fences that have been up a few years. I have never been impressed by one that was not brand new. All of the ones I have seen have holes in the hollowed pickets or yellow staining, but maybe they have gotten better. I prefer wood for this reason.

  16. Melissa says:

    We live in western NY and got a 4ft. black chain link fence installed this spring. Total of 290 feet plus 2 10ft gates & 1 normal gate…it cost us 5,680 total for material and labor. You got an awesome deal for vinyl!!

  17. Kates says:

    I live in Iowa and to fence 3 sides of my house it cost us roughly $4000 for a wood semi-private 4.5 foot fence. We only did three sides because on one of the longer sides their was an existing fence and it was owned by the neighbors and they planned on re-fencing in a year or two (but that never happened). That included two doors and supplies and labor. If we would have included the 4th side it would have been well over $5000. Oh we also had a very small yard. I would say that your price quote is amazing!

  18. Tanja says:

    While that is a lot of money and yes it would be nice to spend it on something else it sounds like a good deal. We had to redo one side of our fence, we used cedar (in the pacific north west its popular for fences) and it cost us $2500. That’s about 70ft long.

  19. Ellen says:

    So happy to read about your fencing. I would love to fence in our yard, as we have street on three sides of our lot, but am scared to even look into the cost to do so!

  20. Kelly says:

    I had about 300 sq feet total of 6ft pressure treated dog-eared privacy picket fence installed in the back of my yard, and a 4ft version installed in the front, and 3 gates total. Cost was about $6500 for materials and labor. We went with Lowes though, who ended up contracting out to a local company, but we got to finance it for a year no interest. The guys did it in a day and custom built it to our ground because we had two medium-sized dogs that I didn’t want escaping out under any gaps.

    They told me the vinyl would be double that price, now I assume because we needed the full privacy panels (live on a busy street), plus we live near a major metro area on the East Coast so I assume everything is more expensive anyway :(

    $6700 for a maintenance-free vinyl sounds good. I would have loved vinyl, especially after I spent a few weeks staining our fence (sucked hard). The only downside to vinyl is if something cracks or breaks, you can’t just replace one picket or board, you have to get a whole new panel. Maybe get a few extras just in case?

  21. jessica says:

    Don’t forget to budget for a new swing set!!!

    • Julia says:

      Haha! Yes! Greta reminds me on the daily.

    • Alicia says:

      We just put up a fence ourselves with help from our neighbor (he did his at the same time). Basically all we had to pay for was materials and tool rentals since we did the labor. We paid just under $1000 for three sides of a cedar three rail fence (this was the fencing type required by our HOA). With my husband and neighbor working, it took 3 full 12-hr days to finish.

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