Building your own fence can be a rewarding, budget-saving project. Professional fence builders can buy their materials at a contractor's discount, but once the retail mark-up is added, you may end up paying more for materials than if you had bought them at full-retail price. With knowledge of the supplies necessary to build your fence and price lists from various vendors, you can accurately estimate the cost of building your own fence.
Relative Costs of Fencing Materials
Price-per-foot can vary widely, depending on the style of fence you choose. Decorative custom iron fences are typically the most expensive due to the cost of materials and labor-intensive methods fabrication. The least expensive fences are those made with steel or wooden posts and wire infill. Between the two extremes are fences commonly used in rural yards and urban or suburban neighborhoods. Picket-type, wooden privacy and chain-link fencing are all moderately priced fencing materials.
To calculate the cost of fencing materials, start with an overhead sketch of your fence project and a list of supplies. Include dimensions on your sketch. Draw fence posts; one at each corner and others, spaced 6 to 8 feet apart between the corner posts. Write the lengths and number of rails (horizontal members) and the total length of your infill material. Make a list all supplies, fasteners, hardware and optional supplies such as concrete, paint or stain.
An online search of local building supply stores, including weekly specials, is the most efficient method of finding prices for your materials. Locally owned lumber or building supply stores may not list their current prices, but it is worth your while to call or visit to obtain a price list. Compare prices from different vendors. You may save money by purchasing your supplies from multiple sources.
Negotiating a Price
Take your price-comparison list with you when you go to buy fencing supplies. Oftentimes lumber and hardware purveyors are knowledgeable about not only the materials, but also about building techniques. By developing a relationship with a reputable local vendor, you can often negotiate a lower price. Managers or owners often have the authority to sell you materials at the contractor's price or will inform you of an upcoming sale. In exchange for your loyalty, you may also have access to valuable free advice from an expert.
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