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How to Quote a Wood Fence Installation

Kenneth Black

A wood fence can provide years of enjoyment, privacy and beauty, but one of the most frustrating aspects at the beginning of the building project is getting a firm handle on the costs. Though a contractor can provide you with an estimate, those who want to do it themselves will need to come up with their own calculations. These will take time but should provide you with a budget that is workable. When calculating the costs, remember that you must not only consider the lumber but the cost of any equipment you need as well as fasteners, such as screws or nails. Adding gates will require special materials as well.

  1. Decide on the specifics of the fence. Typically, wood fences are 4 or 6 feet tall. (See Reference 1.) Also, decide how large of a fence you want and measure off the area using a tape measure. This should be expressed in feet.

  2. Determine how many sections you need to complete the fence. Typically, if you were constructing a fence that was 160 linear feet, you would need 20 sections. Remember, you will likely be adding at least one gate to this fence.

  3. Make a materials list. For every 8-foot fence section, which is standard for wood fences, you will need two or three 2x4 rails and 16 6-inch wide fence pickets. Further you will need one 4x4 post for each section, plus an additional post. If you use three 2x4s, you will need 96 screws or nails to complete a section. These screws or nails should be an inch to an inch and one quarter long. Longer ones, such as 3 inches or slightly longer, will be needed to attach the 2x4s to the 4x4s. (See Reference 2.) You will need four to six of these longer ones per post.

  4. Price the lumber and fasteners and multiply the price of lumber, which includes your posts, rails and fence pickets, by the number you need. This will provide you with a fairly accurate measure of your materials cost. Screws and nails are often supplied by the box.

  5. Check concrete prices. Many people prefer to use one bag of concrete per post. Others go every other post, and some may elect for concrete only at the corners. No matter what method you choose, price accordingly.

  6. Don't forget to price gate materials as well. At a minimum, you will need hinges and a locking mechanism of some sort.

  7. Call for a price quote on any rental equipment needed. Many prefer to use a gasoline-powered post hole digger. These are rented by the day.