The History Of Fences
The earliest fences were used to allow landowners to stake their claim and also to define their property boundaries. Today, some people still use fences to serve these purposes, but they also rely on them to provide important security, keep children and pets safely contained, protect a swimming pool area, and make the property look more appealing overall.
The Appeal Of A Fence
Fences come in all sort of materials, sizes, styles and shapes. What suits you best will probably depend on your needs, your goals and your taste. Perhaps you want to define your property line and add some separation from your neighbors. Maybe you want to be able to let your children play without fear of them wandering off or encountering strangers. Or you might want to be able to let your dog off the leash safely. A fence can be an important strategy in all of these cases. In addition, if you have a swimming pool, a protective fence can be essential to keep children away.
Cost Factors To Weigh
When shopping for a fence, you’ll need to consider your budget and the quality you expect. It’s important to understand that you may be able to get a great deal on an inexpensive fence but if the product won’t stand up to the elements and needs to be replaced in a few years, you can end up regretting your choice down the road. In addition, some fence materials require more maintenance than others, so you’ll need to weigh the upkeep into the equation when deciding on a fence. Finally, you’ll also need to consider your climate and weather conditions to select a fence that will live up to your expectations.
There are a wide variety of choices to explore when you decide you’d like to buy a fence. Read on for a brief overview of some of the common fence types and what you can expect from each one.
This is a popular choice for fences and comes in many different styles. You can find a fence made from pressure treated wood, which is environmentally friendly and is one of the more affordable, and more popular, choices on the market today. If you plan to paint your fence, fir or pine will do the trick. But if you prefer to stain your fence or let it weather over time, cedar can be a good choice. This type of wood fence can be beautiful to look at and also durable, too, since it’s resistant to rot and to insects. Regardless of the type of wood fence, you can opt for pre-made wooden panels, or can spend more on a fence built by separate wood pieces that are put together right in your own yard. While wooden fences can be quite attractive, it’s important to know that they will require some maintenance to keep them looking fresh over time.
Aluminum fences can look similar to wrought iron fences but cost less. They are also durable and resist weather damage, which can make them easy to care for. Many people select aluminum fences to secure their pool area.
Chain Link Fences
This can be a good choice when security is a concern. Chain link fence sections are attached to metal posts cemented into the ground to hold them in place. Chain link fences are also durable and can handle most weather conditions. While this type of fence doesn’t offer much privacy, it can keep people out of your yard and keep your dog in, so it may serve some very practical purposes.
You can find vinyl fences in a wide variety of styles, colors and designs, mimicking wood or iron fences, so there is something that will fit most people’s tastes and landscape. This makes vinyl fences a very popular choice today. The main benefit with vinyl fences is that they are weather resistant and don’t require any maintenance. Most vinyl fences also come with a guarantee that they will be durable and long lasting.
Wrought Iron Fences
This is often the most elegant and high-end fence selection. The metalwork can be found in different patterns and styles, including ornate options that can bring a formal touch to your yard. Wrought iron fences are usually more expensive than most of the other materials. Just keep in mind that they can be prone to rusting over time, but if you are willing to make the effort to maintain a wrought iron design, this will be a choice you aren’t apt to regret.
Fence Style Choices
In addition to selecting a material for your fence, you’ll also need to decide on the style of fencing that best meets your needs and also works with the overall design of your house and your yard. If you’d like a rugged feel to your fence, you might consider a split-rail fence, while for a softer, more charming effect, a picket fence can be a good pick. A post and rail fence can be used to define your property while still maintaining a proper an airy, open feel. A solid wood panel fence can work well if you want to show off plantings. Or you might select a privacy fence, which will protect your yard from the eyes of others. These are just a handful of the many options you can find when you shop for a fence. In addition, you’ll need to pick a gate style that will work with the fence design you select.
How To Find
When shopping for a fence, you can look in the yellow pages for fence companies or look for ads or fence contractors in your local newspaper. You can also look for fences at home improvement stores such as Lowes and Home Depot. Or, you can do a search online for fence companies and find local options. In addition, you can find websites that offer searchable directories of vendors in your area. These include the Fence Company Directory and the US Fence Guide.
What It Costs For A Fence
The cost of a fence will span a wide range depending on the size of your yard, the material you select and the style fence you want. The height of the fence, thickness and quality of the material will also affect the fence cost. In addition, the gates, the number of posts and the time required for the installation will vary a great deal depending on your logistics and can greatly impact the overall price. As a result, fence companies caution that it’s very difficult to give any pricing without knowing your preferences and your yard’s specific dimensions. With that in mind, here are some very general ballparks on what it costs for a fence made for different materials:
- A wooden fence cost starts at about $8 a linear foot for a basic, four-foot high cedar picket fence and goes up to about $20 a linear foot for a cedar solid panel privacy (6 foot) fence in tongue in grove style.
- A chain link fence cost is about $8 to $10 a linear foot.
- An aluminum fence costs about $10 to $15a linear foot.
- A vinyl fence cost is about $10 to $20 a linear foot. (Remember that while this can add up, you may make your money back in what you save on maintenance over the years.)
- A wrought iron fence is the top of the line and as such, can cost as much as $50 a linear foot.
So the cost for a fence ranges from $8 to $50 a linear foot, plus installation.
- Installation can add $600 to $1,000 per 100 feet of fence. (This is about the amount that can typically be installed in one day).
To give you an idea of how this might play out, let’s say that you have a half-acre yard that requires 600 feet of fencing. If you opt for a 4-foot high cedar picket fence, you would need 75 sections (8 feet wide) and 76 posts. The material would cost between $6,000 and $9.500 and the installation would add another between $4,000 and $7,000. This means you can expect to spend between $10,000 and $16,500.
Additional costs include:
- Gates, which start at about $100 for a small basic gate and go on up to $10,000 for an extra wide vehicle gate.
- Removing an existing fence can add another $1 to $2 a foot into the job.
A Final Note
When you decide to add a fence on your property, it can be a good idea to check with your city or town and find out if there are any requirements you need to meet before you get started with this project.
Last Updated: Feb 19, 2012