Home>Discussions>YARD & GARDEN>Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
12 posts / 0 new
Last post
Dan in Medford
Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
Dan in Medford

Hi,

I am getting quotes on a fence installation in Medford MA. I am fencing a 35 foot straight run, that will include a 16 foot driveway gate (2 8 foot sections), and a 4 foot walking gate. The quoted price for a 4 foot open baluster fence was almost 8000 dollars! That is over 200 dollars a foot!. Looked at Angies list, and a few other for industry pricing, and a wood/vinyl fence should be 30-60 dollars a foot. What am i missing here???

I am considering Cedar or maybe Vinyl (although the cedar looks much better in my opinion). I was surprised to hear that the cost would be the same for either cedar or vinyl. Does that price make sense?

Over time, i plan to have plants grow over and through the fence, which i think may be problematic if refinishing the cedar fence every few years (how often should it be done?). Vinyl appears maintenance free, so plants could just be left alone, but may eventually get heavy and bend the fence?

For reference, this will be a 4 foot open baluster picket style fence. 6x6 posts, 1x6 on the bottom, 1x4 on the top, pickets sandwiched in the middle.

I plan on getting some more quotes, and would be interested to hear from any fencing companies that operate in Medford, if you are interested in bidding on the job.

dj1
Re: Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
dj1

Without knowing about the proposed gates: You got an expensive bid, so move on to the next contractors and let them bid. Always make sure you got everything spelled in the bids, with no hidden clauses.

A. Spruce
Re: Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
A. Spruce
Dan in Medford wrote:

Hi,

I am getting quotes on a fence installation in Medford MA. I am fencing a 35 foot straight run, that will include a 16 foot driveway gate (2 8 foot sections), and a 4 foot walking gate. The quoted price for a 4 foot open baluster fence was almost 8000 dollars! That is over 200 dollars a foot!. Looked at Angies list, and a few other for industry pricing, and a wood/vinyl fence should be 30-60 dollars a foot. What am i missing here???

I am considering Cedar or maybe Vinyl (although the cedar looks much better in my opinion). I was surprised to hear that the cost would be the same for either cedar or vinyl. Does that price make sense?

Over time, i plan to have plants grow over and through the fence, which i think may be problematic if refinishing the cedar fence every few years (how often should it be done?). Vinyl appears maintenance free, so plants could just be left alone, but may eventually get heavy and bend the fence?

For reference, this will be a 4 foot open baluster picket style fence. 6x6 posts, 1x6 on the bottom, 1x4 on the top, pickets sandwiched in the middle.

I plan on getting some more quotes, and would be interested to hear from any fencing companies that operate in Medford, if you are interested in bidding on the job.

I do not know what the average per foot price is in your area, however, that does sound quite high for what you're getting. What I would recommend is that you price the materials yourself, then double that number, that's going to be a fairly close approximation of what you're looking at for an installed fence.

I am not a fan of vinyl fencing, like siding, it's design changes regularly and without warning, so when you have a problem or failure your only option is total replacement. With a wood fence, repairs can be made to it. No, I would not suggest staining or otherwise finishing the fence, let it weather naturally and it will forever be maintenance free, save for periodic repairs due to post rot or vehicle damage, that sort of thing.

Lastly, I would question your design, 6x posts, 1x rails? No! 1x does not have the rigidity needed to hold a span without significant sag, you would be better off with 2x rails. The 6x post is fine, overkill, but fine. 1x for pickets is standard practice. I think you are also going to find having gates of 8' in length difficult to keep on their hinges. That is a lot of cantilevered weight, and the constant operation of them will have them loose, wiggly, and sagging in no time. The better option here would be to have a metal frame made, then attach the pickets to that. Definitely use 6x posts to support the weight of the gates, preferably braced back 4' to 8' to keep them stable.

Dan in Medford
Re: Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
Dan in Medford

thanks,

The price and panel size will change slightly. I am curious about your thoughts on cedar vs pt posts, all concreted according to the contractor. He said the pt post would warp and crack, and that both cedar and pt should last about the same amount of time.

Due to the wood design, the cost of cedar vs a similar vinyl fence will be the same, i am considering if i should just go with vinyl for longevity.

dj1
Re: Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
dj1

Quote: "Due to the wood design, the cost of cedar vs a similar vinyl fence will be the same, i am considering if i should just go with vinyl for longevity."

If you want to talk longevity, Cedar will outlast vinyl.

As far as the posts, I haven't seen irregular problems with PT posts, but Cedar posts will be just fine.

Things to watch:
- Fasteners: Tell your installer not to use nails or staples. Insist on deck screws, and don't skimp on screws.
- Railings: Make sure they are supported by rail hangers (2 for a buck). Ask the installer to install 3 of them, not 2.
- Fence boards: Make sure the installer hangs them so they are not in contact with the earth. Also, reject damaged boards.
- Posts: Where the posts meet the concrete, make sure rain water will be able to drain down.

And finally, once correctly built, your CEDAR fence will look absolutely great.

Please send pictures via a host like photobucket.

A. Spruce
Re: Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
A. Spruce
Dan in Medford wrote:

thanks,

The price and panel size will change slightly. I am curious about your thoughts on cedar vs pt posts, all concreted according to the contractor. He said the pt post would warp and crack, and that both cedar and pt should last about the same amount of time.

Due to the wood design, the cost of cedar vs a similar vinyl fence will be the same, i am considering if i should just go with vinyl for longevity.

Cedar is a pretty good rot and pest resistant wood, so as long as the posts are not subject to constant moisture issues, they should last you a good long time. Pressure treated does check and crack, however, well hand picked materials will minimize this problem, as for twisting, as long as the ends are captive, lumber of any type, does not tend to twist or have problems.

If I were building the fence I'd use a Postmaster type steel post, then you will have zero issues with post rot and your fence should outlast you! Postmaster (brand name ) are a formed post that are designed to incorporate the framing and be covered by the pickets, so you will never see the posts when the fencing is installed properly. There are other brands, but you want a formed post with perforated edges, DO NOT use chain link posts, which are round and require additional, ugly hardware to attach the fencing, this cannot be hidden and will be hideous until the end of your days.

Dan in Medford
Re: Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
Dan in Medford

Postmaster steel posts look like an amazing, and durable product. I will ask my contractor if he can get them, and use them with our selected design.

Doing research it looks like they are a bit more than PT but far cheaper than Cedar posts. There will be added labor and cost for some covering boards i am sure.

I emailed the company asking if i could mount an 8 foot steel framed driveway gate on the posts. I think it would look a whole lot nicer than having a steel tube behind a post.

Thanks for all the feedback, very helpful!

A. Spruce
Re: Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
A. Spruce
Dan in Medford wrote:

Postmaster steel posts look like an amazing, and durable product. I will ask my contractor if he can get them, and use them with our selected design.

Doing research it looks like they are a bit more than PT but far cheaper than Cedar posts. There will be added labor and cost for some covering boards i am sure.

I emailed the company asking if i could mount an 8 foot steel framed driveway gate on the posts. I think it would look a whole lot nicer than having a steel tube behind a post.

Thanks for all the feedback, very helpful!

Postmasters, and similar brands/style of posts are more expensive than wood or PT posts, usually $25-$30 per post, however, they are the same or LESS cost than chain link posts which require additional hardware and result in an ugly finished product. The posts pay for themselves almost immediately when you figure that these posts will never rot off. I've only gotten 5-7 years out of a wood or PT post in mildly wet conditions, less in severely wet conditions.

As for your gate posts, I'd go with a large steel post and box it with wood to give it the strength and aesthetics you are looking for. If you can back brace the post to carry the weight of the gate, all the better, no matter what kind of post you use. As for covering line posts with pickets, you're going to add 2 or 3 pickets per fence section to cover the steel posts, so will you be spending extra, not really. Again, the expense you go to now in the use of steel posts is going to pay for itself by not ever having to replace a post for as long as you own the property.

dj1
Re: Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
dj1

Regarding gates:

To combat gate sagging, I install a wheel on gates wider than 4 feet. Of course the driveway or walkway should be paved and leveled for the wheel to be effective.

To combat other types of sagging...well see a doctor.

Dan in Medford
Re: Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
Dan in Medford

Project Update:

The fence is installed, pics to come soon! After seeing the fence i feel there were some problems with the workmanship:

1. The 8 foot driveway gates are metal frame with pickets attached, attached to round steel posts. The fence company attached tension bars on each gate, but one is attached from the top of the hinge side, to the bottom of the latch side. - The second one is attached from the bottom of the hinge side to the top of the latch side (which makes no sense.) - I plan to ask the fence company to redo that gate.

2. I asked to have the fence follow grade, but the runners were not cut at a proper angle leaving gaps near each post. - Correcting this would probably require new panels. I am concerned the fence company will resist doing this due to cost. Any advice on getting them to fix this?

3. The decorative fence caps were nailed down from the top, with large visible nails, not tacked from the side. Is this normal? - I'd rather not have nails through the tops of all the caps and plan to ask for new caps with more discrete nailing.

4. A few boards/posts have minor damage, some have cracks.

I have put down a deposit before they started, and would like these issues sorted before making final payment. How common is it to have problems like this, and how likely am i to get the fence company to correct this? - We are talking big bucks for fences these days...

A. Spruce
Re: Fence cost seems high, advice please on price!
A. Spruce

Your luck with these fixes will be directly related to how inclusive your contract was. If what you say you asked for is in written form, then they have no choice but to fix the issues, if all you bought was "fence installation", well, that could mean just about anything and you're not likely going to get far.

A company that cares about its workmanship and the happiness of the customer will work with you on a resolution, a company that doesn't care, won't.

The gate issue seems a bit of a no brainer, one was done correctly (top hinge to latch bottom ), the other wasn't. They should correct it.

You say you asked that the fence follow grade and that a few panels may need replacement. Did the company use premade panels or did they build the fence on site from scratch? Was this in the contract?

IMHO, post caps are not only for decoration, they are to keep water from entering the top of the post (assume you have wood posts by your description ), driving a nail through the top of the cap defeats both of these purposes. Again, should be a no brainer fix, but will depend on the integrity of the company.

Material cracking, if this is normal cracking, no problem, if this is damage from mishandling/misinstallation, then it should either be repaired (fence pickets ) or you should be compensated (for posts ).

The only control over the company you have is with your final payment, withholding it until you are satisfied with the work is within your rights, however, know that your property can be liened until payment is made, so when all is said and done, make sure you get a lien release from anyone associated with the job, the company, any subs, the suppliers, etc.

Lastly, document EVERYTHING, it will all be necessary if you have to take this to court.

Pages

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.