Before deciding on a budget for your new fence, it is a good idea to first investigate what some of your options are.
Many homeowners think they can’t afford a vinyl fence because the initial cost is too high when compared to a wooden fence. Although you do have to make a larger investment upfront for a vinyl fence, it is well worth it when compared to all of the hassles, maintenance, repairs, etc., that you will have to deal with when owning a wooden fence.
Let’s break this down from the beginning to make it as easy as possible to understand. This way you can make a wise and informed decision when purchasing your fence.
Math can get a little overwhelming for some people, so we will try to keep things as basic as possible. With an average fence length of 150 linear feet and the average cost of vinyl fence per linear foot equaling $20, the total estimate for your job is approximately $3,000 for materials only, not including posts, gates or any other physical options that can add extra costs to the total. We are not including these additions in our estimate, as it will vary based on your yard and preferences. These figures are purely for comparison purposes only.
If the price is more than you are comfortable with paying, consider getting a shorter (less in height) fence or only fencing in certain areas of your yard. Instead of doing the entire perimeter of your property, maybe consider just installing a fence in the backyard.
The estimate for a vinyl fence may seem high, especially when you compare it to the same size fence made out of wood, averaging about $10 per linear foot, with a total rough estimate of $1,500 for materials. You’re probably thinking, “There is no way you can make up that $1,500 difference in repairs and maintenance!” Well, we shall see…
Vinyl fences are engineered to withstand the outdoor elements. Because of this, the most maintenance you will have to do is spray it down with a hose on occasion, whenever you feel it looks dirty and could use a wash. For stubborn areas, a simple solution of everyday soap and water wiped clean with a rag, is the most you will have to do. There are no harsh chemicals or heavy labor that is required to keep your vinyl fence looking its best. On the rare occasion that something happens to your vinyl fence, such as rotting or corrosion, it’s a good idea to take a look at your warranty. Most vinyl fences are covered in the off event that these instances occur.
Wooden fences are a whole other story. After installing your wooden fence, you can either choose to stain it or paint it. For argument’s sake, it is extremely fair to say that one gallon of stain can cover 200 square feet and high-quality stain can start at $35 per gallon. To stain both sides of your 150-foot fence is a total of 1,800 square feet. That means you will require approximately nine gallons of stain for your fence, totaling $315. Repeat this process every two to three years for the next 40 years, and you are spending approximately $5,000 just to keep it looking fresh. If you choose to go with paint, repainting every four years, you can expect to spend around $2,500 over the next 40 years.
It is also important to inspect wooden fences on a regular basis to ensure they are still in good condition. Some things you may come across are rotting or broken pieces, which should be replaced immediately. Calculating a cost for these types of repairs can be hard. There are too many factors that can cause variations in the overall total. Just be prepared to spend a little bit of money here and there.
The average lifespan for a treated wood fence is only 20-40 years, depending on the type of wood. Therefore, even though you spent all of that money on routine maintenance, you are still going to have to purchase a whole new fence down the line, costing another $1,500 in materials!
Besides the money you can save in the long run on a vinyl fence, think of all the hassle and aggravation you are preventing. What is your time and peacefulness worth to you?
Now that you are aware of the “real cost” you might have second ideas about what you want your budget to be for that white vinyl fence.
Installation and Labor
For those of you who have a handyman in their life, see if that person can help you install your vinyl fence. Doing the labor yourself is a great way to save a ton of money – but only do it if you are confident you can without making mistakes. Putting in a fence can be a lot harder than you think, and if you make mistakes, it could cost you if you need to replace pieces of material.
In case you haven’t noticed, we don’t really discuss the cost of labor in this article. All properties are different and face varying challenges. Labor costs can also differ by location. Just keep in mind, whether you are installing a wooden or vinyl fence, the cost of labor should still be the same per hour regardless of what material you decide on. Discuss with your contractor the time difference there will be when installing wood vs. vinyl.
Comparison Shopping and Reviews
Always take the time out to shop around at all the local retailers for the best pricing on both materials and labor. When getting quotes, compare the different aspects of the estimate. Some stores will charge you less on materials because they plan on charging you more for labor. You may think you are saving money, but in reality, you are spending the same amount of money, if not more.
Another important task for you to do is to check out those customer reviews. Even if one store is a little cheaper, you might want to spend the few extra bucks if it means you are getting better customer support and installers.
Adding Value to Your House?
You may wonder how this ties into saving you money on your fence. Well, if you think that adding a fence to your house will increase its value, giving you more of a profit when you sell, you’re wrong. Realtors don’t necessarily see a fence as a selling point. So, if your plan was to install a fence to yield a profit, don’t bother. Your house can sell for the same amount, with or without the fence.
One thing to remember is that having a fence that is not in good condition will hurt the value of your home. If the fence can’t be salvaged for a reasonable price, toss it. It won’t be missed, and the new homeowners can install any fence to their liking, customizing their house to match their personalities.
A fence can help your curb appeal and result in you selling your home faster. If you need to leave relatively fast (let’s say, for example, you purchased a new house), selling your home immediately could cause a huge difference in your financial situation. If your house isn’t selling and now you are forced to take on two mortgages, spending a couple of thousand on a fence might make sense for you if it helps you sell faster.
A Final Way to Save
There are many stores where you can find materials at extremely cheap prices. But, there’s a catch, of course. Don’t worry – nothing criminal is going on. One of the reasons why you can get these materials at such a great cost is because the item has been discontinued, usually due to a design or color no longer being used. Seems harmless now, right? Well, you may not feel that way as time goes on. In case part of your fence gets damaged, you’re probably not going to be able to find replacement pieces that match exactly.
Helping the Environment
Wooden fences are sometimes treated with toxic chemicals, whereas vinyl fences are not. And every time you stain your wooden fence, you could be sending even more toxins into the air and ground. Ask yourself, what is your health worth to you?
Also, certain vinyl fences are made out of recycled materials, helping to save the environment. Check with the distributor to ensure you are purchasing a recycled product.
And Just Remember…
Even though you are shopping on a budget, when it comes to a semi-permanent item on your lawn, you should love the way it looks. This is the first thing you and your guests will see when approaching your home – you don’t want it to turn people away. It might be worth it for you to spend a little more money to make you happy, as this piece of architecture will be with you for quite a long time.