How Much Does a Fence Cost? Budgeting for Your Fence to Avoid Your Own Personal Fiscal Cliff.

There's been a lot of talk about fiscal cliffs and budgeting lately; at least on a national level.  So to get into the spirit, we thought we would provide a few helpful numbers to help you budget for your fence project. 

So What Does a Fence Cost Anyway?

The estimates below are based on an average 200 linear foot residential fence - 6' tall with 2  pedestrian gates. 

Treated Pine (Privacy) Vinyl (Privacy) Aluminum (Ornamental)
Fence Materials $2500 $3500 $4000
Concrete $150 $150 $150

As you can see from the table, the type of fence you choose makes a big difference in the overall cost, with aluminum coming in at roughly 60% more than wood (long term maintenance costs not withstanding) and vinyl in the middle. 

The second cost factor to consider is whether to build the fence yourself or hire a fence contractor.  If you have the time and are moderately handy, you can save a significant amount of money by going the DIY route, particularly if you already have the tools.  At a minimum you'll need either an augur (which can be rented) or a post hole digger, circular saw, hammer, drill, level, measuring tape, string, and wheelbarrow.

On the other hand, if you decide to hire a fence contractor or handyman keep in mind that labor rates vary greatly from depending on which part of the country you live, the terrain and soil type, and the skill level of the installation crew.  So, the estimate below may not reflect what you would actually pay for your fence installation. 

DIY Costs vs. Hiring a Contractor
DIY Equipment $100-$500
Labor $1000-$2000

Also note that, just like any other home improvement project, there can be additional costs if/when the unexpected happens.  For example, if you thought that your soil was smooth and sandy, and then you hit a large boulder when you go to dig your post holes.  Or, as happened to one customer, your utilities provider mis-marks your line and you end up hitting it with the augur, cutting out phone service for half the neighborhood.  The point is, you never know what could happen, so budget a little more (10-20%) than you think necessary.  If you don't end up using it, then you can always put it toward a nice vacation.

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