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How much does split rail fence installation cost?

January 4, 2024
How much does split rail fence installation cost

Ever wanted a fence that not only keeps things in but also exudes natural charm? Perhaps you’re not looking to shut the world out entirely but rather define your property lines or provide a rustic touch to your outdoor space. 

The split rail fence is definitely what you’re looking for! 

The cost of a split rail fence ranges from $15 to $35 per linear foot, including installation.

For a better understanding of the expenses associated with installing a split rail fence, here are the factors influencing the cost and any additional charges you might encounter.

Factors That Affect the Cost of Split Rail Fence Installation

Fence Length

Fence Length

The length of your fence is a big factor when it comes to the cost of putting up a split rail fence. The longer the perimeter of the designated area, the greater the demand for materials and labor which directly impacts the overall project cost. 

While bulk purchases may offer slight material savings in extensive projects, they might not make up for the extra money you’ll need to pay for more workers.

The price for each foot ranges from $4 to $12, depending on the materials used. A simpler fence with two rails costs around $4 per foot, while a fancier one with more rails can cost up to $12 per foot. 

Including labor, and it usually falls between $10 and $30 for each foot.

Fence Height

Fence Height

The height of your split rail fence is another factor that affects how much you’ll spend on it. A standard split rail fence is usually around 4 feet tall, but some homeowners might want it taller, especially if they’re using it to keep animals inside. 

If you opt for a 6-foot fence, it comes with an extra cost—about 25% more. This is because a taller fence needs more materials, and it might take longer to build, leading to higher labor costs. 

It’s worth knowing that the same reason why a privacy fence generally costs more to install than a split rail fence is because of these extra materials and longer construction times. 

Material

A homeowner can choose to construct a split rail fence using various materials. Here are some options:

Aluminum

Aluminum

While not the most common material for split rail fences due to its higher cost, aluminum is a great option for homeowners seeking durability and low maintenance. The material itself is pricier than other options, ranging from $20 to $40 per linear foot.

However, its lightweight nature, durability, rust-resistant coating, and a variety of styles and colors can justify the higher expense.

Cedar

Cedar

Priced at $25 to $35 per linear foot, cedar is a budget-friendly alternative for homeowners. However, it’s important to note that labor costs may be higher for cedar fences due to the extra assembly work required. 

For a 150-foot fence, homeowners can expect a total cost falling between $1,800 and $4,500. The material features a rustic aesthetic, resists rotting, and deters insects. 

Cedar fencing is known for its durability which can last between 20 to 25 years.

Black Locust

Black Locust

Opting for a black locust wood split rail fence costs within the range of $20 to $40 per linear foot, covering both material and installation. This premium hardwood outshines cedar and pine in terms of strength. 

It is resilient against extreme weather conditions and possesses a natural resistance to rot, ensuring its longevity. With a lifespan of 20 to 25 years, a black locust wood split rail fence is a durable investment.

Composite

Composite

For homeowners seeking an affordable and long-lasting option, composite is a great choice. Composite material is a blend of recycled wood shavings and plastic, forming boards that replicate the appearance and texture of natural wood grain. 

It is a durable material that is resistant to rot, pests, fading, and warping. However, it’s important to note that composite material may become brittle in cold temperatures, making it less suitable for colder states. 

The cost for composite split rail fencing typically ranges from $10 to $25 per linear foot for materials and $15 to $33 per linear foot including labor.

Vinyl

Vinyl

Vinyl is crafted from smooth molded plastic panels and has a variety of color choices. It is also resistant to rot, pests, and warping but may become brittle in colder temperatures. 

While vinyl can mimic the appearance of wood, it lacks the rustic warmth of the traditional wood split rail fence. A vinyl split rail fence is priced between $10 and $25 per linear foot for materials and $15 to $33 per linear foot including installation.

Pine

Pine

Pine is a cost-effective option for constructing a split rail fence, falling within a range of $8 to $12 per linear foot for materials. With installation, it typically costs from $12 to $30 per linear foot

However, it’s important to note that it needs staining or painting to protect it against the elements, which can contribute to the overall project cost. Pine fencing typically lasts for a period of 10 to 15 years.

Steel

Steel

Steel is a durable yet relatively costly choice for a split rail fence, with material costs ranging from $15 to $20 per linear foot and $25 and $45 per linear foot with installation

The need for concrete-filled post holes adds to the complexity of installation. 

Despite its higher upfront cost, the durability and low maintenance needs of a steel split rail fence might make it a worthwhile investment for homeowners seeking longevity, similar to considerations for aluminum.

Although less common than other materials, steel fences have extra strength, durability, and weather resistance.

Labor

Labor

Opting for professional installation of your split rail fence means that labor expenses will constitute approximately 50% of your overall project cost. The cost of labor alone ranges from $4 to $8 per linear foot of fencing. 

Labor costs can significantly affect the total cost of your project, especially if your fence is being put up in a tricky place, like on rocky surfaces, slopes, or around existing landscaping features.

Additional Costs That May Be Incurred

Property Survey and Permits

Property Survey and Permits

When planning to fence your yard or install a fence close to property boundaries, a property survey, sometimes called a land survey, is often needed. 

Depending on the location, a permit might also be required, with the combined cost ranging between $125 and $250. Additionally, utility companies may charge around $75 to $100 to mark underground utility lines.

Old Fence Removal

Old Fence Removal

If the new split rail fence replaces an existing one, factoring in the cost of removing the old fence is also important. Removal expenses typically range from $3 to $5 per linear foot, depending on the type and quantity of the old fence.

Tree or Debris Removal

Tree or Debris Removal

In cases where trees or landscaping debris gets in the way of the fence location, a professional removal service may be needed. Homeowners with heavily wooded land may opt to relocate the fence to save on removal expenses.

Land Grading

Land Grading

While split rail fencing suits properties with rolling hills, steep slopes may need land grading for proper installation. A contractor might have to excavate and regrade the land, which can add between $900 and $3,000 to the total project cost.

Gates, Doorways, and Accessories

Gates, Doorways, and Accessories

Adding gates or doorways to a split rail fence costs between $100 and $200 per gate. Homeowners can also choose to include accessories such as lighting or decorative elements, each contributing to the overall installation cost.

Wire Mesh

Wire Mesh

Installing wire mesh on a split rail fence is usually done for security or deterring animals. It comes at a low cost, approximately $0.60 per linear foot. It can be a DIY addition or installed by a contractor during fence construction.

Number of Rails

Number of Rails

The number of rails in a split rail fence contributes significantly to the overall cost. While a standard design typically features two rails, homeowners have the option to customize by going for additional rails. 

It’s important to note that as the number of rails increases, so does the required material which can raise the overall cost of the fence.

How much does DIY split rail fence installation cost?

How much does DIY split rail fence installation cost

If you have construction experience and a willingness to invest effort, putting up a split rail fence on your own can save money. 

For DIY split rail fence installation, you will only have to spend on materials, which can range from $10 to $20 per linear foot. 

However, it’s important to know that it involves digging holes for the fence posts, and you might need to rent some equipment for that. Professionals with the right tools can do it faster and better.

Also, if you make a mistake during the process, the fence might easily collapse or be blown during extreme weather conditions. 

So, while doing it yourself might save money, hiring professionals to get the job done can give you a fence that lasts longer and looks better.

Cost-Saving Tips

Cost-Saving Tips

Here are some practical tips to help you save on your split rail fence installation project:

  • Carefully select the material: Carefully selecting the type of material for your split rail fence can greatly affect the cost. 

While cedar and pine are often more affordable, exploring various options and their durability can also guide a cost-effective decision.

  • Compare prices when shopping: Take the time to shop around and compare prices from different suppliers for materials. Prices can vary, and finding the best deals can result in substantial savings.
  • Purchase materials in bulk: If your project involves a considerable length of fencing, consider buying materials in bulk. Many suppliers offer discounts for larger quantities which can help you save on overall costs.
  • Reuse old materials: If possible, consider reusing materials from an existing fence. Salvaging usable components can reduce the need for new materials and therefore lower overall costs.

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