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Wood Fence Cost Guide

Wood fencing is affordable, lightweight and adaptable to nearly any style or building site. The right fence can add privacy, keep children and pets in the yard, block noise and wind and keep unwanted visitors out of the swimming pool. Well-made wood fences also improve a home's curb appeal. When starting a fencing project, homeowners should consider that different types of wood come in kits, as pre-made panels or as individual pieces. Wood prices change frequently, and they vary by region, season and species of wood. Labor and installation costs and requirements also change with every fence. Online calculators as well as lumberyards, home centers and local fence installation companies are good sources of current fence wood costs when budgeting a home improvement project.

  • Uninstalled 4-foot tall picket panels cost between $3 and $75 per linear foot.
  • Most 6-foot privacy fence costs from $25 to $100 per panel.

Styles of Fences

Traditional fence designs include picket fences, vertical board fences, post, rail and more. Property owners should choose a style and material that works well with the design of the home and the level of privacy and security required.

  • Picket fences stand 3 to 4 feet tall and feature widely spaced pickets that do not require pressure treatments. An 8-foot length of 42-inch tall pine picket fence costs approximately $25.
  • Privacy fences work best for noise and wind protection and for preventing prying eyes from seeing the yard. Boards can overlap or lay edge to edge with no gaps between the boards. Costs vary from about $28 per 8-foot panel for whitewood to $95 or more for the same panel in redwood.
  • Post and rail fences traditionally enclose fields or large areas of land because they use relatively little wood. They create a bold boundary between properties. Ten-foot long red cedar rails cost about $9 each, and each post costs about $10.
  • Shadowbox or board-on-board fences look equally finished on both sides of the fence. They feature a more open design than a privacy fence, allowing for better air circulation. This fence uses more boards than a solid privacy fence, and pickets hang on both sides of the rails. A 6-foot tall, 8-foot long cedar panel of shadowbox fence costs about $195.

Species of Wood for Fences

There are as many types of wood for fences as there are fence styles. Prices vary by the type of wood and the treatment it receives.

  • Southern Yellow Pine is affordable and durable. It is treated to resist rot, insects and decay. Some companies offer a ten-year or even a lifetime warranty on this wood. An 8-foot wide panel of 6-foot tall pressure treated privacy fencing costs approximately $45.
  • Redwood is a sap-free and stable premium softwood. It can be costly, but redwood lasts years with good maintenance. An 8-foot wide panel of redwood privacy fencing costs about $95.
  • Cypress is related to Redwood but can generally be purchased for a third of the cost. Cypress is sap-free and stable with small, tight knots.
  • Eastern White Cedar is also free of sap and naturally resists rot and insect infestation. An 8-foot wide panel of 6-foot privacy fencing costs approximately $110.
  • Western Red Cedar offers excellent rot and insect resistance. This is one of the most popular woods for fencing thanks to its beauty and durability; most fence companies guarantee cedar boards for 10 years. Cedar posts should be set directly into the ground rather than in concrete. This type of wood costs approximately $80 for an 8-foot wide panel of 6-foot privacy fencing.
  • Whitewood fences are made from inferior woods such as spruce, pine and fir. They are cheap and must be treated to deter insects and rot. Even with treatment, they last only about half as long as woods that are naturally rot-resistant. A 6-foot tall by 8-foot wide privacy fence panel in whitewood costs about $28.

Fence posts are usually wood, plastic or metal. Wood posts must be pressure treated because they will be partially in the ground and exposed to bugs and wetness.

Wooden Fence Labor and Installation

Labor and installation costs directly correlate with the complexity of the fence design, the slope of the site, the evenness of the ground and the presence of trees or other materials to remove before construction. Easy access to the site for material delivery helps lower labor costs while rocky ground or soil that is difficult to dig increases costs.

Property owners can minimize installation and labor costs for wooden fences by sticking with standard 90-degree intersections, simple alignment and designs and ordinary gates. Customization that increases costs can include electrical items like intercoms or bells on gates requiring licensed electricians to install power.

Wooden Fence Care and Maintenance

Homeowners can expect wood to warp and split as it dries over the first year. Some maintenance is required to waterproof wood fences annually or reapply stains every three to five years. Well-built wood fences should last 10 to 15 years, and rot-resistant woods may last about 20 years with good maintenance. Water repellant sealants cost between $10 and $20 per gallon while stains cost between $15 and $20 per gallon. Pressure treated wood does not require a sealant.

For longest wood fence life, property owners should use a proven wood species in the best grade possible. Many fence projects use steel posts rather than wood ones because they last longer and support the fence better.

A quality wood fence provides an affordable, versatile and easily maintained border to a yard or property. Wood gives a natural appearance and finishes easily with stains or paint. A new fence can hold a variety of decorations, planters, lights and birdhouses to individualize a yard and beautify the surroundings.


Last updated on Jul 29, 2014

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