An easy way to figure out privacy fence cost
How much does a privacy fence cost? This is the first question asked by roughly 90% of homeowners who are thinking about installing a new privacy fence. In order to figure out how much you are going to pay for your new privacy fence you will need answer a few questions. First you need to decide whether you are going have your new privacy fence professionally installed or if you are going to install it yourself. Secondly, you will need to decide if you want to have your fence stick built or use prefabricated panels (yuck).
This post will cover how to figure the cost of installing a stick built privacy fence. You might be asking why I am not going to cover how to figure the cost of prefabricated fence panels. Honestly, because I don’t like them. Most prefabricated fence panels are built using non-standard sized lumber such as 1×3″ rails instead of 2×4″ rails and 1/2″ thick pickets instead of 3/4″ pickets. They will not last as long as a stick built fence and they will not follow the contour of your property because everything is already nailed together.
So if you’re still with me and want to learn how to figure the material cost of your privacy fence, here it is.
For my example, I am going to figure the material cost of a standard 6′ tall privacy fence with all treated lumber.
- 4×4-8′ posts
- 2×4-8′ rails
- 1×6-6′ dog ear pickets
- 80# bags of quikrete
A standard section of privacy fence is 8′ long. That 8′ long section of fence will require 1 post, 1 bag of concrete, 3 rails and 17 pickets. Call your local lumber store and ask them for their current prices on these pieces of lumber. For example:
- 4×4-8′ posts: $6.97 x 1 = $6.97
- 2×4-8′ rails: $2.79 x 3 = $8.37
- 1×6-6′ pickets: $1.67 x 17 = $28.39
- 80# bag of quikrete: $4.24 x 1 = $4.24
- Total: $47.97 x 7% (1.07) sales tax = $51.33 per 8′ section
- Per foot price = $6.42
- 200 linear feet of fence x $6.42 = $1.284 material cost
Obviously the lumber prices and the sales tax will vary in your area but this will help you get the general idea. Now divide your total by eight to get your per foot price. In this case my price will be $6.42 per foot of fence. This does not include the cost of nails so be sure that you have a little wiggle room in your budget to add that cost and the cost of items such as gate hinges if you need them.
Once you have your per foot price, measure out the total linear feet of your fence. You can use a tape measure, measuring wheel or even step it off to get an idea of how long your privacy fence will be. Multiply your total footage by the per foot price and you be very close to an exact material total for your fence.
If you are having your fence built by a professional fence builder expect the total cost to be more than double the cost of material. Using my example, I would expect to pay $2,568 bare minimum to have this fence installed by a professional fence builder. You may even pay up to three times the material cost. If this seems high keep in mind that every builder has their own labor rates and their own tools and machinery to pay for. Workers need to be paid and machinery breaks down and needs to repaired or replaced sometimes so rates will vary. The main question that you need to ask now that you know how much the material will cost is this: Is the savings of building your own privacy fence worth the time and effort or is it better for you to just pay someone else to do it? There is no right or wrong answer just take the time to decide on the best option for you.
If you decide to build your own privacy fence let me point you toward by e-book, “You Can Build Your Own Privacy Fence“, to help you along the way. Now that you know how to figure your privacy fence cost, this simple e-book will give you all of the information that you will need build your privacy fence the same way that the professionals build it.
Please feel free to leave any comments or questions and I will respond to them whenever possible.