Fence Installation Labor Costs

While the chosen material is a significant cost factor, labor is also a significant factor in the cost of installation of a fence. Many contractors include the labor in their pricing, but expect to pay about $30 – $50 per hour for each builder on the project.[5]

The cost of labor varies by geographic location, so the cost could be higher or lower depending on where you live.


Wood Fence Cost by Type

When installing a wood fence, consumers have various options ranging between $3 and $35 per linear foot for the materials only. While most fencing materials won’t set you back more than $20 per linear foot, some types, such as the privacy fence, can cost $20 to $45 per linear foot. Know that the type impacts the overall cost of your project. For instance, it is cheaper to install a split rail style than a picket. The type of fencing you opt for dictates the amount of materials and labor involved in completion. Consider the following choices:

TypeAverage Costs per Linear Foot (Materials Only)

TypeAverage Costs per Linear Foot (Materials Only)Average Costs per Linear Foot (Installed)
Ranch Style / Split Rail$3 – $6$8 – $16
Wooden Pocket$3 – $8$10 – $18
Stockade$5 – $10$15 – $20
Horizontal$5 – $12$15 – $22
Shadowbox$7 – $15$17 – $35
Privacy$7 – $17$17 – $37

Split Rail Wood Fence Cost

The average split rail fence 1 price per foot is $3 to $6 for an attractive and affordable ranch style option. The cost is $8 to $16 a linear foot, installed. Many homeowners opt for a ranch-style with wide gaps and a rustic appearance. Many wood choices are available to choose from for this style with an organic appearance. This type offers less privacy and protection for children or pets.

This type has the lowest barrier of all types. Ranch style fencing is 2.5’ to 3’ tall, meaning minimal security. This is often used in more rural and spacious areas rather than tight residential subdivisions. Due to the shorter height and fewer materials needed, a split rail fence is often the most cost-effective option.

Wooden Picket Fence Cost

The average cost of a wood picket fence 2 per foot is $3 to $8, depending on the supplier and the demand in your area. The cost averages $10 to $18 a linear foot, installed. Homeowners who want some privacy and attractive curb appeal without breaking the bank appreciate the budget-friendly picket fence option. It features the signature pointed tops made famous in colonial times that remain popular in neighborhoods and the front of cottages today.

Prices are slightly more expensive than split rail but are still relatively affordable for a semi-private fencing solution, offering more security than one with a ranch style. Plus, they are easier to install than privacy fences with a 3’ to 4’ height, although they are not as secure for pets or children.

Stockade Fence Cost

Some people prefer to pay a little more for enhanced privacy from a stockade fence, particularly families with young children or pets who like to spend time outside and entertain. Expect to pay $5 to $10 per linear foot for the material. Installed, it averages $15 to $20 a linear foot. This type has wood boards placed next to each other for a tight finish with no gaps. This arrangement creates a solid wood panel for each fencing section. The tops of the pickets are usually pointed for a stylish finish.

Stockade fences can be made from pine, spruce, or cedar and provide an extra layer of security not offered by split rail or picket fencing. Also, stockade fencing is usually easy to repair. You can fix just one section without replacing the entire fence. The main drawback of stockade fencing is that it requires regular painting and staining to maintain its appearance and keep the fence in tip-top shape.

Horizontal Wood Fence Cost

On average, homeowners pay around $5 to $12 per linear foot for a horizontal wood fence for the material. The cost for this fence installed averages $15 to $22 a linear foot. While most types have a vertical composition, you can also have wood panels installed horizontally. This style has become more common in modern homebuilding and is often selected to create a distinguished, high-end look that shows off the natural wood grain. Wood boards can be placed tightly together for more privacy or with slight gaps in between.

Proponents of this horizontal style say it makes yards look longer and bigger and offers decent privacy. However, you have to pay more for a taller fence considering the horizontal layout requires more materials to reach the same height as other fences. Horizontal fencing also requires careful installation and a reputable professional who has experience with this style.

Shadowbox Wood Fence

The cost of material for shadowbox wood fences ranges between $7 and $15 per linear foot for material. The cost averages $17 to $35 a linear foot, installed. They are popular for their aesthetic value, so they are considered a decorative type rather than a standard privacy fence. They are mostly made of red cedar and treated pine wood that gives a natural look on both sides.

Shadowbox wood fences have a lot of advantages. They are not only a cost-efficient solution but are also easy to work with and are environmentally-friendly. Homeowners can customize their look and provide full or partial privacy. However, the wood must be treated regularly to retain that same look. Another downside is that they can start to dry, decompose, and last only around five to ten years.

Wood Privacy Fence Cost

Most residential fences are under six feet. When you decide to go with a taller option, expect to pay a privacy fence 3 pricing per foot of $7 to $17 per linear foot for the material. The cost averages $17 to $37 a linear foot, installed. The price could be a lot more, depending on the features and fixtures you choose. There are lots of reasons, but privacy and security are the main factors behind taller privacy fencing. A six-foot or taller fence can obscure the view of your property by outsiders, though these types require permission from zoning boards and a permit. The taller it is, the more it will cost to construct.

Fence Installation Cost: Types of Fences

Fence-building materials have expanded over the years. Barbed wire, wooden, and iron are still available, but vinyl, electric, invisible, and chain link are newer styles that each have their purpose. You could mix and match fence types to customize your property. For instance, a garden fence could be built with cedarwood and mesh wire, the front yard could have a vinyl picket fence, and the backyard might have a wood privacy fence. Here are the most common types of fences and their average prices.

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Barbed Wire Fence

Barbed wire is an old standby choice of fencing for large properties that need to keep livestock contained. It’s simple to install and easy to maintain. Metal or wooden posts are driven into the ground, then spools of three to five strands of barbed wire are stretched between posts. Barbed wire is only allowed in rural areas. The average cost to install a barbed wire fence is $1.50 to $2 per linear foot.

Electric or Invisible Fencing

Another fencing style used to keep livestock corralled is the electric fence. Wires or plastic strands with threaded wires are attached to wooden posts and connected to an electrical outlet that produces a low or high voltage shock designed to deter livestock from touching the fence. Again, for safety reasons, these are only used in rural areas and away from highways. An electric fence costs $1 to $6 per linear foot.


An invisible fence is installed in the ground at the property lines. The wires connect to a control panel that will trigger a small shock on a dog’s collar when it nears the buried wires. It’s an effective method to keep pets in your yard without having to build a complete fence. The average cost is $200 to $2,500, depending on the size and number of pets.

Ranch Fencing

More attractive than a barbed wire fence is the ranch fence specially designed to withstand the strength or height of the animals being corralled. A split-rail fence is a popular option that splits raw timber logs lengthwise and inserts them into wooden posts. This style costs $10 to $20 per linear foot. Cedar posts and hewn rails are also popular. Wire mesh might be installed to prevent smaller animals from climbing through the rails. An average cost of $1,500 to $2,500 can be expected.

Chain Link Fence

A chain-link fence is a popular low-maintenance option that fits most budgets, is easy to install, and has a long lifespan. A chain-link fence could be made of galvanized steel, powder-coated steel, aluminum, or sometimes vinyl. This style is not as attractive as most fences, but it still gets the job done to keep children and pets safely contained in a yard. A chain-link fence cost ranges between $1,100 and $2,800, including installation.

Wood Fence

A wood fence is a traditional and affordable option if you enjoy a more natural look. The cheapest material is treated pine at $1.50 per linear foot. More exotic wood like redwood will cost closer to $17.50 per piece. Cedar is a popular option that’s durable and less expensive at $7 to $15 per linear foot. A wood fence can be painted or stained, but any additional treatment will require regular upkeep. Wood fences do not have a long lifespan, which is something to consider on a project with an average cost of $1,000 to $4,000.


Privacy Fence

A privacy fence is a common choice if you share adjoining or backyard property and prefer to keep your peaceful evening on the deck a private affair. The best options are wood or vinyl, but metal could also be used—though at a higher price point. Installation of a 150-foot privacy fence ranges between $1,500 and $8,250, with an average of $2,750. Other privacy fence ideas include adding lattice to the top of the fence or growing green-space-friendly privet.

Aluminum Fence

For a low-maintenance option, aluminum might be a great choice if metal is the preferred style. A conversational or privacy fence can be built with aluminum. This type of fence provides durability and security and resists rusting. The cost of an aluminum fence averages $30 to $40 per linear foot, with labor adding another $5 to $15 per linear foot. If it’s not already powder coated to suit your preference, expect to pay another $2 to $5 per square foot.

Wrought-Iron Fence

For a stately, classic look, a wrought-iron fence is a top design option. This type of fence is durable, stylish, and customizable. It’s best to have a pro handle the design and installation of this fence style since it’s more specialized. A wrought-iron fence needs a regular application of rust-inhibiting spray. On average, a wrought-iron fence costs $2,500, and the per-linear foot cost ranges from $30 to more than $100.

Vinyl and Composite Fencing

The biggest benefits of a vinyl fence are how easy it is to maintain and how long it lasts in climates without extreme temperatures. Vinyl fences don’t require painting or sanding, and the boards rarely rot or warp. White is the most common color, but others are available. Some composite vinyl fences include recycled materials like reclaimed sawdust that can be molded to create a faux wood appearance. You can expect to spend between $2,000 and $5,000 or $20 to $40 per linear foot.


Photo: istockphoto.com

Chain Link vs Wood Fence Cost

Comparing wood fence and chain-link is a slightly different story; chain link is effective at providing containment and security around a property, but is cheaper than other metal fencing. Chain-link is also quick to install, though it is less attractive than more aesthetically-appealing wood fences are. Depending on the metal type used in the chain link, it may be lower in maintenance and longer-lasting than a wood fence of similar quality. Chain link comes in several colors and finishes, as well as heights and link sizes. It is a more affordable fencing option than wood and many other types of metal fence. Below is the average cost for installing 209 linear feet of both wood and chain link fencing.

MaterialAverage Costs (Installed)Chain Link$2,450

MaterialAverage Costs (Installed)
Chain Link$2,450 – $4,000
Wood$3,500 – $6,500

Fencing Materials: Cost VS Function VS Aesthetics

Overall, building a fence can be an expensive endeavor between materials, labor costs, and any other unexpected costs that may arise during the build. It may be in your best interest to hire a licensed professional to help make the hard decisions and make sure that you are building your fence to last. Be sure to know what side of the fence is yours vs your neighbors, as it could result in you having to pay if its considered their side!

Questions to Ask About Fence Installation

As you consider building a new fence, you may have some questions. Talking with fence installers can help clear up any concerns you have, and they might even offer suggestions you hadn’t considered. Here are some helpful questions you can ask about fence installation:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • What kind of warranties do you offer?
  • Do you have references I can contact?
  • Do I need a permit to install a privacy fence? If so, does your company obtain it?
  • Will you contact utility companies to check for buried power or gas lines?
  • Can you provide a line-item quote or contract?
  • Do you require a deposit?
  • What kind of fence material is best for my climate?
  • Will you inspect my property first to provide an accurate quote?
  • My yard has a slope in the back. How much more will that cost me?
  • How much will a drive-through gate cost to install?
  • How will you determine how many posts are needed for my property?
  • Do you send a team of builders or only one person?
  • How long would the project take?
  • Can you handle building more than one style of fence in the front and backyard?
  • How long will my fence last?
  • What kind of maintenance will my fence need?
  • What happens if my fence is damaged in a storm?

Other Factors That Affect Cost

Even though the size of a fence is the biggest piece of the pricing puzzle, there are several other factors that can significantly raise or lower your project cost. These factors are part of the reason pricing can go from under $1,000 to several thousand dollars. 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock
Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Each fence material has its own price range. The least expensive option is a simple wire fence, which costs about $1 to $4 per linear foot (including professional installation), while the most expensive is a composite fence at a rate of about $26 to $57 per linear foot. Probably the most popular fence type is a traditional wood fence, which has a mid-range price of $14 to $31 per linear foot depending on the type of wood. 

Typical price ranges (lowest to highest) for some of the most common fence materials (price estimates include material costs and professional labor costs): 

Wire fence$1 – $4
Chain-link fence$12 – $33
Wood fence$14 – $31
Vinyl fence$17 – $38
Composite fence$26 – $57
Aluminum fence$27 – $55
Wrought iron fence$28 – $56

Choosing what material you want for your fence is the first step to figuring out an accurate budget for your project. 


Just like there are loads of different fencing materials, there are several different fence styles. Some fence styles use more material or take more skill to install, resulting in a higher cost for you. Others are simpler and therefore cheaper. 

Typical price ranges for some of the most common fence styles (price estimates include material costs and professional labor costs, prices are from lowest to highest):

Rail fence (aka ranch fence)$11 – $24
Privacy fence$14 – $36
Board on board fence (aka shadowbox fence)$16 – $24
Picket fence$18 – $33


Standard backyard fencing is usually 6 feet tall, but there are other options when it comes to height. Other common sizes include 8 feet for the backyard and 4 feet for decorative fences out front. 

To figure out how much a taller or shorter fence would add to or subtract from your costs, first figure out the approximate budget for your fence at standard size (6 feet) using the price estimates we’ve given so far. For an 8-foot fence, add an extra 25% – 35% to your budget. For a 4-foot fence, subtract about the same amount.  

Photo Credit: Pixabay
Photo Credit: Pixabay


Gates cost more to install than regular fence panels, so you will have to factor in that added cost if you want a gate (which you probably do, for accessibility). The location of your fence and what kind of gate you need will affect how much you will pay to have it installed. An aluminum automatic driveway gate, for instance, will cost much more than a simple wooden walk-through gate. 

Installing a gate will typically add $175 – $1,200 to the overall cost of fencing. 

Slope of land 

If you want to build a fence on a hill or otherwise uneven terrain, that means more work for the fence installer. They may need to regrade the land, which can cost between about $900 and $3,000 depending on how much work needs to be done. 


Ask your contractor or check local regulations to find out if your HOA or municipality requires you to have a permit to build a fence. If you do need a permit in your area, you could pay anywhere from $20 to $400 to obtain it. 

Find a professional fence builder near you


  1. Ashley VanderWall, What is the Best Wood for your Fence?, Outdoor Essentials, https://www.outdooressentialproducts.com/en/Projects/Best-Wood-for-your-Fence
  2. Geoff Williams, How Much Does It Cost to Fence in Your Yard?, U.S. News & World Report, https://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/spending/articles/2017-05-12/how-much-does-it-cost-to-fence-in-your-yard
  3. Central Fence Co, The Cost of Wood vs. Vinyl Fences, https://centralfenceco.com/the-cost-of-wood-vs-vinyl-fences/amp/
  4. Maintenance-Free Outdoor Solutions, Navigating Aluminum Fence Costs, https://maintainfree.com/aluminum-fence-cost/
  5. Florida State Fence, 2019 Fence Installation Cost: Breaking Down Materials and Labor, https://www.floridastatefence.com/2019/05/05/2019-fence-installation-cost-breaking-down-materials-and-labor/


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