How to Estimate Privacy Fence Costs

Looking for some added privacy for your property?  Installing a pool or hot tub and want to enclose it as opposed to your entire yard?  Needing a bit more security to keep intruders away from your family and allow your pets to roam free without a leash?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then the type of fence that best meets your needs is a privacy fence.

Privacy fences typically range between 4 and 6 feet in height and come in several different fence materials and styles.  Out of all the fences on the market, privacy fences require more of an investment on the part of the homeowner.  Whether you choose to install it yourself or work with a professional fence company, know that there are several factors to consider when estimating privacy fence costs.

Below are some things to consider when estimating privacy fence costs.  You can use these suggestions as a way to get started with your calculations.  The best thing you can do is contact us and we’ll send out one of our expert fence consultants to give you an exact privacy fence cost for your home. 

Check Your Local Zoning Laws Regarding Privacy Fences

Before you purchase materials and start building, always check to make sure your fence solution meets all local zoning laws.  Despite what some homeowners may think, there are areas where there are both height limitations and boundary requirements for fences.  Some counties allow for fencing on a property line, others require an offset. If you have any doubts, have a survey done to identify your property lines.  In addition to verifying your local zoning laws, also check with your local Homeowner’s Association (HOA) as they may offer strict guidelines on the types of fence (and in some cases, colors) you can build.

Know How Much Privacy Fence You’ll Need to Estimate the Cost

Your first major step is to know the actual land area where you plan to install your privacy fence.  If you live in a townhome community or a highly planned single family sub-division, this is easy to determine as your home often comes with a plat, which is a map drawn to scale, that shows the divisions of a piece of land.  However, if you no longer have access to one, you can always purchase a measuring wheel to define the amount of fence you will need in total.


As you measure the area, remember you’ll typically need a post about every six to eight feet, depending upon the style of fence you choose and the panel size.  A common mistake many DIYers make is forgetting to account for the posts, which are one of the most expensive parts of the fence given their large size and the fact that you need to drill holes at least three feet in the ground and pour materials such as concrete to set them.

For digging the post holes, you can often use post hole diggers or—if you have access to one—you can also use a power auger.  Check with your local hardware store to see if you can rent one.

Decide What Kind of Privacy Fence Materials You Want to Estimate the Cost

Once you’ve measured the area, choose your materials and your height.  Wood fences are often the most economical choice and they often come in pre-built panels.  We recommend using western red cedar, pressure-treated southern yellow pine, or oak and black locust.  Some of the most popular styles of wood privacy fences include:

  • Stockade Fences— Constructed with the boards placed tightly against one another, giving you a solid panel.
  • Board on Board Fences–Constructed with an overlapping pattern of vertical slats where every other board is attached to the opposite side of the fence rails.
  • Board and Batten—similar to a solid board or board on board fence, but it has narrow battens (or bars) over the joints for a more finished look.


If you have the freedom to customize your privacy fence to your liking, you can also design a custom top for additional height or privacy.  Homeowners often choose decorative latticework as a way to extend the fence’s height while also providing some extra visual appeal.

You may also wish to apply a stain on your fence to either retain its natural wood look and feel or enhance it with a unique color or stain to match your unique decorating style.  Just remember that stains are not permanent and need re-applying after a few years.  If you’re looking for both privacy and little to no maintenance, consider buying a vinyl privacy fence.

Vinyl fences are among the most expensive of fencing materials, but homeowners love it because it’s stronger than wood, requires little maintenance and will last as long as you own your home.   With a vinyl privacy fence, you can go with a solid board or board on board panels; you can also add decorative latticework to this fence as well.


Pricing for a wood fence varies, depending upon the quality of the wood used.  If you’re installing wood panels, the price can range between $55 and $95 a panel; if you’re installing board on board, the boards can range between $14 and $18 per foot.  For vinyl, the average panel runs between $99.00 and $195.  Note that this does not include the pricing for hardware or posts.

Be careful if your goal is to find the cheapest price for your materials.  While it’s true you may save by buying materials from a large box store, be mindful that cheaper privacy fence prices may mean lower quality materials.  In the case of a wood fence, a lower grade wood means your materials may need replacing sooner than you think—meaning you may spend a great deal more time and money replacing parts of your fence by choosing an inferior piece of wood.

Buying vinyl panels from a box store may appear to save you money but the reality is that some vinyl kits in box stores use cheap hardware and thinner vinyl pieces that require more support than when using 100% virgin vinyl.

Bottom line: If you plan to install a fence on your own, do as much homework as possible to learn about different grades of wood, vinyl and the hardware required to ensure its stability.  What may seem like a great deal at first may result in decreased savings when you factor in the cost for hardware and the amount of time involved for installation.

Remember Your Gate As Part of the Cost of A Privacy Fence

No matter what materials you choose, remember to factor in the cost of a privacy fence gate as well. You’ll also need to account for how much hardware you’ll need to install the gates.

Depending upon your taste and any restrictions within your community, you can choose to build your gates from a different material than the rest of the fence.  For example, you could offset the visual look of solid white vinyl by installing an aluminum gate or purchase a vinyl gate that looks like wood grain to go with a wooden fence.  A gate is a great way to make a statement on your property, just remember that if you don’t plan for one, you’ll have some issues with coming in and out of your yard!  And yes…that has happened among a few DIYers!

The Cost for Not Calling Before You Install A Privacy Fence

Always call Miss Utility before you dig!  Most fence posts need to have one third of their height underground; gateposts on aluminum fences should be a minimum of 2 feet deep. You don’t want to run the risk of hitting pipes or wires underground, so always make this one important call—cannot stress it enough!

In addition to not hitting utilities, you do not want your fence directly on top of them. If the county needs to do repair work, your fence will be torn out.

Make sure you also properly clear the area where you will install your fence.  If you’re replacing a fence, you’ll need to have the old one removed.  If there’s any kind of trees or shrubs or rocks that sit on the fence line, you’ll need to clear those as well.  If any of these items are particularly large or heavy, factor in the cost of hiring someone or renting equipment for removal from your property. This also helps determine the final factor for installing a fence: labor.

Factoring the Cost of Labor for A Privacy Fence

For the DIYer, installing your own fence is where you can save the most money.  Just make sure you research how to install a fence and remember that fences, just like Rome, are not built in a day.

We see many DIY enthusiasts try to rush the process and attach their panels to the posts before the posts have a chance to dry completely.   Make sure you also use the best materials to set your post.  We recommend the use of sand, gravel and cement to set your posts.

Fence installation is a two-man job at the very least; never try to do this on your own as you can easily make a mistake without someone to help set a panel or post.

If you want your privacy fencing installed the right way, save yourself the worries and frustration of a DIY gone bad and get a professional fencing company to do the job for you.

Ready to Buy A Privacy Fence?

If you’re ready to start your privacy fence project and want either just materials or a company to help you develop and install a privacy fence for your property, come by our storefront in Frederick, MD or contact us today!  We’re happy to help determine a privacy fence estimate by sending out one of our consultants.

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