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Fence and Wall Cost Comparison

Fence and Wall Cost Comparison

Wood                                                           

Pros: Beautiful and versatile. Wood is great for privacy fences because slats can be placed tightly side-by-side. Wood can come in a wide variety of designs, unlike steel, aluminum or vinyl, which are limited to styles that manufacturers offer.

Cons: Most wood, even if treated, requires protection with a stain or paint.  Susceptible to termites, rotting and is not fire-resistant.

Maintenance: Frequency depends on where you live and the wood type. Cedar has protective natural oils and may require no maintenance if you like the weathered gray appearance. Redwood, too, may require no treatment. Pine, though common and economical in most of the country, must be pretreated for use outdoors; you’ll probably want to stain, paint or clear-coat it because exposure to light gives it a mottled look. First, though, let wood dry three to six months, depending on the humidity of your climate.

Cost: For a no-frills 6-foot-tall fence: Southern pine, $10 to $35 a linear foot; cypress, $12 or $13 a linear foot; cedar, around $15.50 a linear foot; redwood, $20 a linear foot.

Steel

Pros: Steel is much stronger than aluminum. If you have rowdy kids, for example, steel may be your choice because it won’t bend if abused. Higher-end, prefabricated steel fencing is “rackable,” meaning that on uneven or sloping terrain, an installer can adjust the bottom of each panel to fit the contour of the land, rather than stair-stepping them.

Cons: Styles are limited to what manufacturers offer. Steel is not an option for a privacy fence.

Maintenance: Higher-end steel fencing has a no-maintenance 20-year warranty if installed 10 miles or more inland from saltwater. Closer to saltwater, warranties are limited. After the warranty expires, the fence can be sanded and repainted, as you would with wrought iron.

Cost: Starting at roughly $23 to $27 per linear foot.

Coated aluminum

Pros: No maintenance and relatively low cost. Like steel, the higher-end, prefab aluminum fence products are rackable. Aluminum is a good choice for an ornamental fence that won’t receive much punishment; it won’t rust and requires no repainting.

Cons: Lightweight and weak. Not recommended for a high-crime area because pickets are easy to bend. Not appropriate for privacy fences.

Maintenance: None. Coated-aluminum fencing comes with a lifetime warranty.

Cost: Coated aluminum costs roughly the same as steel or slightly less. Decorative elements add to the cost.

Wrought iron

Pros: Wrought iron is strong and beautiful. It is usually the only choice for historic restorations. It can be shaped into custom creations in ornate and creative styles.

Cons: Maintenance and cost. Wrought-iron fences are not mass-produced; they’re a custom product. Not useful for privacy fences.

Maintenance: Constant upkeep is required. Depending on where you live, you must sand and repaint these fences every two or three years. An expensive powder coating applied before installation extends longevity somewhat.

Cost: Starting at roughly $37 to $45 per linear foot.

Bamboo

Pros: Durable and handsome. Bamboo is relatively new to the U.S. market, so costs may drop as demand increases and more suppliers offer it. Bamboo grows and is harvested more quickly than lumber. It’s considered a “green” product because it allows for the protection of slow-growing forests.

Cons: Maintenance.

Maintenance: Unless you’re willing to give your bamboo fence a periodic scrubbing, you’ll want to protect it with a coat of strong polyurethane finish or varnish every five to seven years to prevent blackening from weather exposure.

Cost: Starting at $28 per linear foot.

Vinyl

Pros: Economical and relatively easy to install. Parts snap together, requiring few tools. Vinyl slats can be installed tightly together, making it excellent for privacy fences.

Cons: Cost, limited styles and vinyl won’t hold up to hard abuse. DIY products in lumber and hardware stores are mostly limited to white. Fence-installation companies offer more color choices.  Not durable to high-wind conditions.  Lower end vinyl fences fade in the sunlight and can warp.

Maintenance: Many companies offer 20-year to lifetime warranties from peeling and cracking. No painting required. It needs just an occasional washing, depending on conditions.

Cost: Starting at $20 to $50 a linear foot.

Chain link

Pros: Strong, affordable and easy to assemble.

Cons: Galvanized steel rusts within 10 years. The best choice: U.S.-made black-vinyl-coated chain-link fencing is more attractive and has a 15-year warranty. “Privacy” slats, purchased separately, can be inserted vertically or diagonally to give privacy and upgrade appearance.

Maintenance: None.

Cost: A galvanized chain fence runs about $11.50 a linear foot; black-vinyl-coated fencing starts at about $12.70 a linear foot.

Prefab Concrete

Pros: strong, durable, rust-free, fire-proof, termite-proof, offers homeowner privacy, over 100 design options, 6 color options, will last at least 20+ years if not more, does not require footings.  Adds solid value to property. Using concrete in construction significantly reduces cost in various ways. To produce brick hectors of land, tons of wood and coal are wasted.  Using concrete we can save these natural resources to build our home, offices, roads and any other construction. Doesn’t require heavy machinery.

Cons: Cost, with a higher quality product like concrete the price is thus reflected, but you get more value with what you pay for.  You will need to hire a contracting company to install the walls due to the weight of the pieces, unless you have a good crew of strong bodies able to life heavy weight. Not made to use as a retaining wall

Maintenance: none.  Unless wall has been painted with an exterior paint, it might need to be re-painted every 5-10 years depending on the surrounding weather conditions.

Cost: A base price for a single-sided, natural colored wall at 6’ tall will cost about $30 a linear ft for materials, $36 a linear foot for a double-sided design.  A colored wall will cost about $33 a linear ft for a single-sided design and $39 a linear ft for a double-sided design.  Installation costs vary depending on height, design choice, colored vs. non-colored options but prices range between $15 – $44 a linear ft.

Concrete Block

Pros: can be used as a retaining wall, durable, acoustically efficient and economically easy to maintain.  Can be flexible to use with different height and design options like a curved wall versus a straight wall. Doesn’t require heavy machinery.

Cons:  In the event of an earthquake, can crack and if not installed correctly with rebar can fall apart all together.  Cost is high compared to all other wall and fence options and installation takes the longest due to the required footings and rebar needed.  Not to mention each block is laid one by one.  Very minimal design choices, simple look.

Maintenance: none.

Cost:  Ranging anywhere from $14 – $40 per square foot depending on height, size of concrete block used, type of concrete block, with installation or without.

Brick

Pros: strong and durable, low maintenance, fire resistant, and design flexibility, aesthetically pleasing

Cons:  cost can be high compared to other wall options.  Over time, some bricks deteriorate if using a lower quality brick

Maintenance:  none.

Cost:  $22 – $38 per square ft with installation ranging from basic to best quality bricks. Expect to pay an additional 5% – 14% in material and installation costs for complex installation configurations and patterns.