How Much Does a Fence Cost in Chicago Metro?
If you’re like most homeowners, one of the first questions you ask when you’re considering a home improvement is simple: “How much will this cost?” Almost nobody has unlimited funds, so cost is a major factor in making decisions during the planning phase of the project. Even though installing a fence isn’t one of the most expensive projects, it’s not a trivial expense. Calculating how much a particular installation will cost to complete, though, isn’t simple. It depends on many factors. To help you understand those calculations, here’s a list of the individual variables in the cost equation.
Fence’s Total Length
Whatever materials are used for the project, costs for materials are calculated based on the total length. Contractors start with this information when they create an estimate for their customers. They use cost-per-foot numbers for various materials and other factors to calculate an initial basic price. As soon as you begin planning your project, you should accurately measure your property where the fence will go to determine this length.
Each type of residential fence materials has a basic price per linear foot. At the lower end of pricing, chain link fencing, low picket fences and post and rail materials have the lowest prices. Wood and PVC vinyl privacy fences cost somewhat more per foot. Ornamental aluminum and steel tend to be the most expensive. In many cases the costs overlap somewhat, and the differences between designs are not enormous. Multiply the price per foot by the length, though, and you’ll notice the difference.
Height, Grade and Style
The taller your fence will be, the higher the price, no matter what material you choose. With all types of materials, multiple grades are usually available. For example, chain link mesh is available with wire of different gauges. The heavier the wire, the higher the price per foot will be. For most types of materials, you can control costs by selecting different grades of thickness and quality. The style of the materials, too, is another factor. The more complicated the design, the more expensive it will be. By making choices in these areas, you can control the total cost of your project.
Gates and Accessories
Most fences need at least one gate, and many have more than one. Gates and latches are priced separately, and can be simple and basic or fancy and decorative. Gate width also matters. For some styles, decorative post caps and other elements are also optional features. Even chain link materials can come with colored vinyl coatings. Everything you add to the basic specifications will add to your total cost.
Installing a new fence is a labor-intensive job. Contractors have long experience in estimating the total time and labor that will be needed to complete an installation. They often calculate installation by the linear foot for each type and design. A crew uses at least two skilled craftsmen, and often more. Most fences also require special equipment, like post hole diggers. When you get a price quote for the job, installation may be the largest figure on the estimate sheet. Different contractors may quote different installation prices. That’s why you should get more than one estimate, so you can compare. You can eliminate this expense, to a large degree, by installing your own fence.
Compare a Range of Options to Control the Cost of Your Fence
Before getting serious about planning for your fence, try to determine a maximum amount you want to pay. Your home improvement budget may help you set this limit. With that target price determined, you can begin making the choices that affect project costs. Contact at least two contractors and consult with them. They’ll be happy to give you total estimates for a range of materials and designs. Their long experience lets them help you find a solution that will meet your budget restrictions. If you’re thinking about building the fence yourself, you’ll be able to do the calculations as you shop for materials. Either way, being flexible with your plans is the key to getting the fence you want at a price that doesn’t break the bank.