first photo of white beautiful fence
by Cedar Rustic Fence Co.

What Is the Cheapest Fence to Have Installed? A Practical Guide

Fences are a valuable addition to any home, boosting privacy, safety, and visual appeal. Naturally, installation costs are a major factor for anyone considering a fence project. While finding the most cost-effective solution is smart, durability, upkeep needs, and the long-term impact on your property must also be weighed. Let's dive into some budget-friendly fencing choices and discuss how to find the best value for your home.

Key Considerations When Seeking an Affordable Fence

Before settling on a specific style, take a moment to assess these aspects:

  • Material cost and availability: Different fencing materials come with a range of price tags. Availability in your area matters, as this can influence transportation and overall costs.
  • Installation costs and complexity: How difficult the fence is to install will significantly impact labor costs. Chain link or split rail fences are generally DIY-friendly, while options like vinyl or wrought iron often demand professional help.
  • Durability and maintenance requirements: A low initial price means less if the fence needs frequent repair or replacement. Consider how well the material holds up to weather and pests to determine the true long-term costs.
  • Aesthetic appeal and property value impact: Your fence's appearance plays a role in your house's curb appeal and can even affect its value. While a basic fence might get the job done, it could visually detract from your home, something to keep in mind.

Understanding Your Affordable Fence Options: A Quick Comparison

When searching for the most budget-friendly fence, it's vital to compare what's out there. Factors like cost, lifespan, upkeep, and visual appeal vary widely. Below, you'll find two tables offering a clear picture of popular fencing choices and their typical price ranges.

Fencing Type Material Cost Installation Difficulty Durability Maintenance Privacy Aesthetic Appeal
Split Rail Wood Low Easy Moderate Moderate Low Rustic, traditional
Pallet Wood Very Low Moderate Low to Moderate Moderate Moderate Rustic, unique
Chain LInk Metal Low Easy High Low Low Industrial, utilitarian
Hog Wire Metal Low Easy High Low Low Minimalist, functional
Bamboo Living Moderate Moderate High Moderate High Exotic, natural
Chicken Wire Very Low Easy Low Low Low Functional, utilitarian
Barbed Wire Very Low Easy High Low Low Rural, agricultural
Electric Low Moderate Low Functional, utilitarian
Trellis Low to Moderate Easy to Moderate Moderate Low Low to Moderate Decorative, garden-like

We've also included cedar and vinyl examples to highlight the cost differences between budget-friendly options and higher-end choices.

Fencing Type Material Only Cost (per linear foot) Installed Cost (per linear foot)
Split Rail Wood $7 - $15 $12 - $30
Pallet Wood $0 - $5 $5 - $15
Chain Link Metal $5 - $15 $10 - $20
Hog Wire Metal $2 - $5 $7 - $15
Bamboo Living $3 - $10 $10 - $25
Chicken Wire $0.50 - $2 $5 - $10
Barbed Wire $0.10 - $0.50 $1 - $3
Electric $1 - $3 $3 - $8
Trellis $5 - $20 $15 - $35
Cedar Wood $10 - $25 $20 - $40
Vinyl $15 - $30 $25 - $50

Armed with this information, you can confidently weigh the pros and cons of each fencing option and make the best choice for your needs. Remember, while the initial price is important, consider the long-term value of your investment. A durable, low-maintenance fence that enhances your property's appeal can save you money and boost its value over time.

Top Affordable Fencing Options: Practical Choices for Your Property

When seeking budget-friendly fencing, you've got a surprising number of materials to consider! Each has its own unique benefits and tradeoffs. Let's explore...

Wood Fences: Timeless and Versatile

Wood fences offer a classic warmth that suits a wide range of home styles. While certain wood types can get pricey, several affordable options exist, such as split rail, picket, and pallet fences. Wood fence installation costs typically range from $7 - $15 per linear foot for materials only. Professional installation adds an average of $12 - $30 per linear foot.


  • Natural, appealing look
  • Versatile in terms of possible designs and styles
  • Some styles are DIY-friendly


  • Needs regular upkeep (staining, sealing)
  • Susceptible to weather and insect damage
  • Certain woods can get expensive


  • Split rail fences
  • Picket fences
  • Pallet fences
  • Reclaimed wood fences

Split Rail Fences: Rustic Charm on a Budget

With their timeless appearance and cost-effective design, split rail fences (also known as post and rail) offer a smart solution for many properties. Their simple construction uses less lumber than solid-panel fences, making them ideal for larger areas or if you simply love the classic look.


  • Budget-friendly materials and installation
  • Often easy enough for DIY projects
  • Classic, country-style aesthetic that complements many homes


  • Offer minimal privacy
  • Exposed wood may require more frequent upkeep
  • Less sturdy than some other wood fence styles

Split rail fences feature horizontal timber logs or rails suspended between vertical posts. This open, minimalist design uses less material than full plank fences, making it an economical choice for large properties or those seeking a traditional, rustic look.

Pallet Fences: Upcycled and Unique

Pallet fences are a popular choice for those seeking an eco-conscious and budget-friendly fencing option. Think of it as the ultimate DIY upcycling project!


  • Materials are very low-cost (often free from businesses or construction sites)
  • Eco-friendly, giving old pallets a new purpose
  • Unique, rustic appearance


  • Labor-intensive to take apart and rebuild pallets
  • Durability can be less than traditional wood fences
  • Wood quality and appearance may be inconsistent from pallet to pallet

Building with Pallets: Pallets are often readily available for free from construction sites, warehouses, or local businesses. By carefully disassembling them and using the wood to create fence panels, you can create a one-of-a-kind fence at a fraction of the cost of new lumber.

Metal Fences: Durability and Affordability

Metal fences are a smart choice for homeowners who value strength, low upkeep, and cost-effectiveness. Some popular metal fencing options include:


  • Highly durable and long-lasting
  • Minimal maintenance required (no staining or sealing)
  • Many affordable styles available


  • Offer less privacy than solid fences
  • Can have a utilitarian look (though this varies by style)
  • May rust over time without proper coating/maintenance


  • Chain link fences
  • Hog wire fences
  • Corrugated metal fences

Chain Link Fences: A Classic for Security and Affordability

Chain link fences are a tried-and-true choice for their affordability and long lifespan. Their woven metal design creates a secure boundary ideal for containing pets, defining property lines, or enclosing play areas.


  • Very budget-friendly materials and installation
  • Highly durable and long-lasting
  • Easy to install and maintain


  • Minimal privacy (though this can be improved with slats)
  • Basic, industrial appearance
  • Prone to rust without proper coating

Chain link fencing features interwoven metal wire forming a sturdy diamond pattern, securely attached to metal posts. This type of fence is popular for its durability when defining property boundaries, containing pets, or enclosing recreational areas.

Hog Wire Fences: Functional and Affordable

Hog wire fences offer a no-frills solution for various fencing needs. Their wide grid pattern makes them perfect for situations where visibility is important, and their affordability is attractive for budget-minded projects.


  • Very budget-friendly materials and installation
  • Easy enough for DIY enthusiasts
  • Allows for excellent airflow and visibility


  • Limited privacy
  • Less effective for containing small animals or pets
  • Very utilitarian aesthetic

Note: Hog wire fences are constructed from heavy-gauge wire arranged in a grid pattern and attached to wooden or metal posts. They're often used for livestock containment, garden enclosures, or large property boundary marking.

Living Fences: A Natural and Sustainable Option

Living fences (also known as green fences or natural fences) offer an eco-friendly and visually appealing alternative to traditional fencing. They're an excellent choice for homeowners seeking a fence that blends seamlessly into their landscaping.


  • Eco-friendly and sustainable
  • Can provide privacy and noise reduction over time
  • Add natural beauty to your property


  • Take time to establish and reach desired height
  • Require regular maintenance (pruning, watering, etc.)
  • May not be suitable for all climates or soil types


  • Bamboo fences (fast-growing, good for privacy)
  • Shrub or hedge fences (variety of options for different looks)

Bamboo Fences: Natural Beauty and Rapid Growth

Bamboo fences offer a beautiful and sustainable way to define your property. Their fast growth and exotic appearance make them a striking choice for homeowners seeking an eco-conscious fencing solution.


  • Fast-growing and renewable resource
  • Visually appealing with a natural, exotic look
  • Eco-friendly and biodegradable
  • Offers privacy and noise reduction once established


  • Can be invasive if not carefully managed
  • May require additional support or framing for stability
  • Can be more expensive than some other living fence options

Note: Bamboo fences can be made using live plants or harvested canes. Their rapid growth means you'll enjoy a lush fence quickly!

Other Budget-Friendly Fencing Options

In addition to wood, metal, and living fences, there are several other affordable fencing options to consider:

Chicken wire Fences

Inexpensive and easy to install, chicken wire fences are a versatile solution for containing small animals or creating garden enclosures.

Barbed wire Fences

Commonly used in rural areas for livestock control and property boundary marking, barbed wire fences offer a very affordable, though less visually appealing, option.

Electric Fences

Electric fences provide an effective and low-cost solution for containing livestock or deterring wildlife. However, they may not be suitable for all residential properties due to safety considerations.

Trellis Fences

Trellis fencing, made from wooden or metal frames with lattice panels, offers a decorative and budget-friendly choice for garden dividers or adding a touch of privacy.

Hidden Dangers of DIYing that Are Often Forgotten...

While tackling a fence installation project on your own might seem like a great way to save money, there are several hidden dangers and drawbacks to DIYing that homeowners often underestimate. Let's delve into them:

Lack of Expertise: When Skills and Knowledge Matter

It's tempting to believe you can handle a fence installation, but the truth is, most homeowners lack the specialized skills and experience of professional fence installers. 

Attempting this project without proper knowledge can lead to costly mistakes, an unsatisfactory finished product, and even potential safety hazards. Professional contractors ensure your fence is installed correctly while adhering to all local building codes.

Time Constraints: Balancing Projects and Your Life

In today's fast-paced world, finding spare time for projects on top of work, family, and personal commitments is a challenge. A fence installation can easily consume your weekends and free time, leaving you exhausted. Hiring a professional installer allows you to reclaim those precious hours and focus on what matters most.

Waning Enthusiasm: When Motivation Fades

It's easy to be excited at the start of any DIY project, but when the true scale of the work becomes apparent, that enthusiasm can quickly wane. Fence installation can be more complex than anticipated, leaving homeowners feeling overwhelmed. 

This can lead to extended project timelines, rushed work, or even giving up entirely. Professionals ensure your project is completed efficiently, avoiding the pitfalls of lost motivation.

Hidden Costs: Unexpected Expenses

DIY fence projects often come with unforeseen expenses – specialized tools, equipment rentals, and repeated hardware store trips can quickly add up. Mistakes during the installation process can also lead to additional costs for repairs, potentially exceeding the price of hiring a professional from the start.

Material Average Lifespan Replacement Frequency 10-Year Cost*
Split Raili Wood 10-15 years 1-2 times $1,200 - $3,000
Pallet Wood 5-10 years 2-3 times $500 - $1,500
Chain Link Metal 15-20 years 1 time $1,000 - $2,000
Hog Wire Metal 15-20 years 1 time $700 - $1,500
Bamboo Living 10-15 years 1-2 times $1,000 - $2,500
Cedar Wood 15-30 years 0-1 times $2,000 - $4,000
Vinyl 20-30 years 0-1 times $2,500 - $5,000

*Assumes 100 linear feet of fencing, including material and installation costs.

Warranty and Liability Concerns: Protecting Yourself

Professional fence installers often offer warranties on their work and materials, giving you peace of mind and protection against potential future issues. 

When you DIY, you bear full responsibility for the quality and longevity of your fence. This leaves you vulnerable to costly repairs or replacements. Additionally, if your DIY fence causes damage or injury, you could be held liable.

Weighing Your Options: DIY vs. Professional

Understanding these often-overlooked factors can help you make an informed decision about your fence installation. Carefully consider the long-term value, safety, and overall success of your project when deciding whether to DIY or hire a professional.

Why Professional Fence Installation Matters: Benefits and Considerations

While the allure of saving money with a DIY fence project is understandable, there are compelling reasons to hire a professional fence contractor. Let's explore the advantages:

  • Expertise and Experience: Professional fence installers possess the in-depth knowledge and skills to ensure your fence is built correctly while adhering to all local building codes and regulations. This expertise helps to avoid costly mistakes and potential safety hazards.
  • Time Savings: Installing a fence, especially if you lack experience, can be a surprisingly time-consuming endeavor. Hiring a professional allows you to reclaim your valuable free time while your fence is expertly built.
  • Quality Workmanship: Professional fence contractors take pride in their craftsmanship, striving for sturdy, attractive, and long-lasting results. This translates to a fence that will enhance your property for years to come.
  • Warranty and Support: Many professional fence installers offer warranties on their workmanship and materials. This provides peace of mind knowing you're protected against unexpected issues or defects.

While DIY fence installation or opting for the absolute cheapest materials might seem like ways to save money, understanding the potential risks and long-term costs is crucial. Investing in professional services and quality materials often leads to a better overall return on your investment.

Investing in Quality Fencing Materials: Why It Matters

The temptation to choose the cheapest fence materials is understandable, but higher-quality options like naturally rot-resistant woods, vinyl, or composite fencing offer several long-term advantages:

  • Durability: Quality materials are built to withstand harsh weather, pests, and general wear and tear. This means fewer repairs and replacements, extending the lifespan of your fence.
  • Low Maintenance: High-quality fencing often requires minimal upkeep, such as staining or sealing. This saves you time, effort, and money on maintenance over the years.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Attractive fencing significantly enhances your property's curb appeal and can even increase its overall value.
  • Long-Term Cost Savings: While the initial price may be higher, the superior durability and minimal maintenance of quality materials translate into significant savings over the life of your fence.

Finding the Right Balance: Budget-Friendly Fences vs. Long-Term Value

When choosing the most affordable fence for your property, striking the right balance between upfront cost and long-term benefits is essential. Consider the following factors to make a well-informed decision:

  • Assess your fencing needs: Clearly define the primary purpose of your fence – is it for privacy, security, defining boundaries, or simply to enhance your property's appearance? Prioritize materials and styles that best align with these needs.
  • Evaluate your budget: Carefully consider both the initial purchase price and the potential long-term costs associated with maintenance, repairs, and eventual replacement.
  • Consult with professionals: Experienced fence contractors can offer invaluable insights on the best materials and installation options to suit your specific needs and budget.
  • Weigh short-term savings against long-term value: While the cheapest option may be tempting upfront, factor in the potential for frequent repairs, early replacement due to wear and tear, or even decreased property value over time.

Conclusion: It's Not Just About Price

When seeking affordable fencing solutions, remember that the cheapest initial cost doesn't always equal the best long-term value.  By exploring various budget-friendly options like split rail, pallet, chain link, or living fences, you can find a solution that fits both your needs and your budget.

However, recognize the value of investing in quality materials and professional installation when it makes sense. While it's tempting to cut corners, a durable, low-maintenance fence can ultimately save you significant time, money, and hassle over the years.

Need Expert Help?

If you're in the Chicagoland or Northwest Indiana area, seeking a trusted fencing company to help you with affordable options, consider Cedar Rustic Fence Co. Our near-century of experience and commitment to quality, sustainability, and customer satisfaction make us the perfect resource for expert advice and top-notch fencing solutions. 

Contact us today to explore how we can help you achieve the perfect balance between affordability and long-term value for your property's fencing needs.

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Cedar Rustic Fence Co.


We are Cedar Rustic Fence Company ;) Nailing expertise in fencing for nearly a century. We've seen it all, from picket perfection to backyard beast-proofing. Your fence needs are in good hands.

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