How much does it cost to build a fence?

NICOLA FIELD
Personal Finance Writer · 10 September 2021
A fence can add security, privacy and style to your home. If you’re considering adding one to your property or replacing an existing one but are still sitting on the fence, our guide to how much you could expect to pay may be useful in helping you to decide.

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How much does a fence cost?

Homeowners enjoy plenty of choice when it comes to fencing, and that means there can be big variations in the costs of building a fence. In general, key factors that can affect the costs include:

  • The material used to make the fence
  • The height of the fence
  • The length of the fence
  • Land terrain, for example if the land is flat, sloping or uneven
  • The fence’s foundations
  • Whether you need to remove an old fence
  • Whether you need gates installed

According to tradie listings website hipages, installing a new fence can cost between $75 and $350 per metre. Overall, hipages says a new fence costs an average of $2,100 to $3,900.

How much does fencing cost per metre?

One of the main factors that determines how much your new fence will cost is its length in metres. A handy cost estimator is available on specifier.com.au, which lets you gauge the cost per metres across a range of fencing materials.

As a guide, Specifier says you can expect to pay an average of $50 to $120 per square metre for basic timber fencing, or up to $280 to $380 per square metre for a treated pine slat fence.

Average fence costs per square metre

Type of fence Average cost per square metre
Timber Fences $50 to $120
Treated pine paling fence $75 to $120
Colorbond Fences $65 to $100
Hardwood fencing $80 to $125
Treated Pine Slat Fence $280 to $380
PVC Fence $25 to $180
Source: Specifier.com.au

Cost of different types of fences

Another important factor that will drive the cost of a fence is the material you choose. Here’s a guide to the typical costs of some common fencing materials and styles (including labour and installation):

Cost of a picket fence

A picket fence is one of the classic types of residential fences. They are best known for their evenly spaced boards (or pickets) and are traditionally painted white. According to hipages, you can expect to pay between $105 to $235 per metre for the supply and installation of a basic PVC picket fence. Alternatively, picket fences can be built using timber which may be more expensive (see below).

Cost of a timber fence

A timber fence is another popular and affordable option. It costs approximately $75 to $120 per metre for treated pine paling fencing, $80 to $125 per metre for hardwood paling fencing, hipages states. However, you may also need to factor in the cost of staining or painting the timber.

Timber Fence
Source: Jen Petrie/Shutterstock.com

Cost of a Colorbond fence

Colorbond-coated steel fencing is a durable and low-maintenance type of fencing. According to hipages, Colorbond fencing normally costs approximately $75 to $100 per metre, but you should allow for the cost of installation which can add an extra $68 to $78 per metre.

Cost of a glass fence

Typically used for pool fencing, a glass fence can add a contemporary and open look to your outdoor areas. Generally, you can choose between frameless glass or semi-frameless glass. According to hipages, the average-sized fence can cost $1,400 to $2,300, though frameless glass fencing is likely to cost more – around $600 to $1,000 per metre.

Cost of a brick fence or wall

Brick fences are known for their strength and stability. They are often made using a combination of materials – for example, a brick wall with wrought iron inserts. For a standard brick fence however, hipages says this will cost between $550 and $880 per metre. At the top end of the scale, you could be looking at $800 to $1,200 per metre for a sandstone and timber fence. While brick fences are generally seen as a durable, long-lasting option, Queensland-based construction firm Solutions Built warns they can also be fairly time-consuming and expensive to install.

Cost of a wrought iron fence

If you’re looking to install a more decorative fence, wrought iron is another option. The cost starts from about $115 per metre, according to hipages, and can go as high as $600 per metre for a higher quality product.

What are the options to finance your fence?

Personal savings: If you have savings tucked away, it can make sense to dip into your spare cash to pay for a fence. It’s an interest-free option, and there is always the possibility that a supplier may offer a cash discount. Compare savings accounts with Canstar.

Personal loan: Depending on your personal circumstances and the cost of the job, you may be able to consider using a personal loan to fund the work. This could be a secured loan, or an unsecured loan. It’s worth keeping in mind, though, that interest rates are generally higher for personal loans than for home loans, and it’s a good idea to read the lender’s terms and conditions first. Compare personal loans with Canstar.

Credit card: It may also be possible, depending on the cost and your ability to repay the debt quickly, to pay for the job on a credit card. There could be some fringe benefits for doing so, such as extra insurance cover in some cases (read the card’s Product Disclosure Statement to find out the conditions of the cover). Keep in mind that credit card interest rates are typically much higher than home or personal loans, and interest can quickly accumulate on large balances, so it is a good idea to weigh up your options and consider them carefully. If you don’t think you’ll be able to pay off the card’s balance in full each month, it may be worth reconsidering whether a credit card is the right option for you. Compare credit cards with Canstar.

→ Renovating a home could change what insurance cover you may need. Compare home and contents insurance providers.

Tips to help you save money on your fence

1. DIY

You may be able to save some cash by constructing the fence yourself rather than paying a professional to do it. However, this may not be appropriate (or easy to do) in some circumstances. For example, it may be more difficult to install a fence on a sloping rather than level surface. If going down the DIY route, you’ll also need to consider any machinery hire costs if you don’t have the equipment yourself, as well as fencing regulations that may apply in your area (more on this below).
If building a timber fence, you may also be able to save money by staining or painting the fence yourself. Fence stains, brushes and paint are widely available from hardware stores.

Cost of picket fence
Source: Shuang Li/Shutterstock.com

2. Remove the old fence yourself 

If you’re replacing an old fence and you decide to enlist the help of a professional fence installer, you may be able to cut costs by removing the old fence yourself.

The downside is that it involves some work. If there is a substantial quantity of old fencing, you may want to pay for professional waste removal. This can cost around $79 per cubic metre, according to Serviceseeking, or you could hire a skip bin at a cost of around $75 per square metre.

If the old fence is in a usable condition, you could try and sell it through sites like Gumtree.

3. Prepare the fence site 

Taking a DIY approach to site preparation is another way of reducing costs. In particular, creating clear access for the installers can cut the time (and potentially cost) to do the job.

What are your responsibilities when building a fence?

When installing a fence, you should be aware of any fencing regulations that apply in your state, territory or local council. For example, you may need a permit before you can build a fence over a certain height.

If you’re thinking of building a dividing or boundary fence between your property and your neighbour’s property, it’s a good idea to talk to your neighbour first so that you can agree on the type of fencing and height, and obtain a couple of quotes. Generally, both you and your neighbour will need to equally share the cost of building and maintaining a dividing fence. However, it’s a good idea to read up on the local laws that apply to you.

What are the requirements for pool fences?

It’s particularly important to ensure you meet pool fencing requirements. Each state and territory has different minimum safety requirements for pool fences in place to prevent children from drowning.

Cost of glass fence
Source: JR-stock/Shutterstock.com

Different standards apply in a few states, however there are some requirements around pool fencing common to all states and territories. These include:

  • The fence must be at least 1.2 metres high all the way around
  • The gap between the ground and the bottom of the fence must be no bigger than 100mm
  • The gap between the panels or bars of the fence must be no bigger than 100mm
  • The gate must open outwards away from the pool area and must be self-closing or self-latching
  • There must be no climbable objects, like trees or furniture, within 900mm of the pool fence.

As pool fencing regulations can vary according to where you live, it’s important to talk to your fence builder and/or your local government before installing a pool fence to ensure you’re meeting the relevant legal requirements.

Main image source: Jorge Salcedo/Shutterstock.com

Sub edited by Milan Cuk.

This article was originally written by Tamika Seeto in 2019 and has been updated.


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