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How Much Does A Split Rail Fence Cost?

Typical Range: $12 - $20

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Split Rail Fence Prices by Foot

Homeowners pay between $4 and $12 per linear foot (not including installation) for a split rail fence with 2 to 4 rails. Expect to pay $400 to $1,200 for 100 feet of fencing materials. To fence in a square acre, it will cost between $3,320 and $9,960 in materials for the approximate 830 feet of fencing needed.
With professional installation, a split rail fence will cost you from $12 to $30 or more per linear foot, $1,200 to $3,000 per 100 feet, and $9,960 to $24,900 to enclose an acre. Exact costs, like prices of other types of fencing, will depend on the type of material used, weatherproofing, difficulty of terrain, and whether you include a gate or other features.
Split Rail Fence Pricing
Per Linear FootPer 100 FeetPer Enclosed Acre
Materials Only$4-$12$400-$1,200$3,320-$9,960
Materials + Installation$12-$30$1,200-$3,000$9,960-$24,900

Split rail, also known as post and rail, slip beam, or post and beam, are traditionally used on ranches or farms for decorative purposes or to mark a boundary. In some cases, homeowners add welded wire to keep animals in. Due to their low cost, simple design, and aesthetic appeal, these fences have become more common in the suburbs in recent years. A fencing professional has the expertise to determine which materials and features are best for your project, as well as install it properly so it will last for years to come.

Split Rail Fencing Per Acre

An average acre will require 830 linear feet of fencing for a total cost of $3,320 to $9,960 in materials. With professional installation, expect to pay $9,960 to $24,900 per acre. Total project price will depend on the material you choose, number of rails, and the condition of the land.
Larger jobs may be billed at the lower end of the range per acre due to reduced overhead. Your professional should be able to provide a discounted quote for materials and labor prior to the start of the project.
Learn More: Get a Quote on Split Rail Fencing
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Split Board Fence Estimates by Type

Split rail fences are built from a variety of materials ranging in price from $8 to $32 per linear foot.
Split Board Prices by Type
MaterialCost per Linear Foot
(not including installation)
Vinyl$10-$25
Composite$10-$25
Cedar$8-$12
Pine$8-$12
Black LocustContact a pro for pricing and availability.
Aluminum$22-$32
Steel$15-$20
Wire MeshAdditional cost of $1.80 per linear foot.

Rail Vinyl or Composite Fencing

Vinyl and composite fencing are expensive options at $10 to $25 per linear foot, not including installation. Labor adds another $5 to $8 per foot for a total cost of up to $33 per foot.
In addition to the high price tag, these materials can become brittle in cooler temperatures. In cold climates, when it comes to wood vs. vinyl fencing, wood is the better choice. Both composite and vinyl look like real wood but, while composite has the texture of wood grain, vinyl is smooth to the touch. The cost to repair a vinyl or PVC fence varies based on which part of needs to be fixed.

Wood/ Cedar

The cost of wood fencing, including types like pine and cedar, ranges from $8 to $12 for materials alone or $12 to $30 installed. These prices include any necessary weatherproofing. The cost to paint or stain is not included.
In most cases, using cedar or pine is the least expensive wood option. One exception is black locust, because it lasts long enough to make its large price tag a long-term bargain. Contact a fencing professional or lumber yard for pricing and availability of black locust.

Aluminum & Steel

You will pay $15 to $20 for a steel fence and $22 to $32 for aluminum, not including labor. The high price of aluminum and steel fencing make metal a rare choice for this type of structure.

Split Rail Fence with Wire Mesh

You can purchase 100 yards of 4-foot-tall wire mesh to add to your fence for about $180, or about $1.80 per linear foot. The addition can keep small animals inside the fence and pests like raccoons and coyotes out. Many homeowners use wire mesh to protect pets, livestock, and gardens.

Average 2-, 4-, & 3-Rail Fence Prices

Depending on the material you choose, a post and rail fence will cost you between $1 and $4 per linear foot, per rail. Available sizes include 1x6, 2x4, and 2x6.
Material Costs Per Rail for a 25-Foot-Long Split Board Fence
Number of RailsTotal Material Cost
2$50-$200
3$75-$300
4$100-$400
5$125-$500

Shape: Flat vs. Round Rails

While flat and round rails cost about the same, round ones may save you money in the long run.
  • Round rails have a rustic look, last longer and do not warp as easily as thinner, flat boards.
  • Flat boards have clean lines and may also be a better choice for containing livestock.

Split Rail Installation Cost Factors

Condition of Soil

A fencing pro will consider the type and condition of the soil on your property when providing a quote.
Sandy soil
  • Easy to dig but may require extra moisture to pack
  • Pay more for the transportation of water to the site.
Loamy soil
  • Easy to work with but unstable
  • Pay more for larger posts or gravel to add to post holes for stability.
Clay
  • Dense and sticky
  • Pay more for extra time required for installation.

Accessibility

Pastures and gardens in hard-to-reach areas of your property will cost more to fence because transporting equipment, materials, and laborers to the site takes more time and resources. Structures on easy-to-access property lines will be less expensive to erect.

Slope

In most areas of the country, properties have at least a slight grade. Building a fence on an incline requires tools and skills most homeowners do not possess. To ensure your fence looks and functions properly, you should hire a pro to help you with both planning and building.
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buck and rail fence in the middle of open field

Buck and Rail Fence Cost

Buck and rail fence costs about $5 per linear foot when made of bark-on or machine-stripped, untreated wood. This structure features A-frame posts that sit on top of the ground and are spaced 12 to 16 feet apart. Property owners use buck in rocky terrains where digging post holes is impossible.

FAQs

What’s the Best Wood for a Split Rail?

Like firewood, fence wood should be a rot-resistant species like oak, cedar, walnut, or black locust. Pine is an inexpensive option, but you must weatherproof it.
When making your selection, you may also want to consider that the cost to repair a fence usually depends on the type of wood you choose.

How to Calculate Materials Needed for Split Rail?

To calculate how much material you need, you must first measure the outer boundaries of the property. Since rails come pre-cut in 8- to 11-foot sections, you may need to adjust your layout or shorten the fence rails. You should also account for any sloped land and/or gates.
Consider hiring an experienced professional who will have the necessary surveying tools and carpentry skills needed for planning. Otherwise, you may end up with the wrong amount of materials.
Sample Materials and Labor Budget for a 25-foot Fence
Line ItemCostDescription
Materials$260-$370
  • Split cedar rails
  • Posts with rail holes
  • 10-foot spacing
  • Includes necessary overage & local delivery
Labor$105-$255
  • Lay out post locations
  • Dig post holes up to 3 feet deep
  • Set wood posts in concrete
  • Install & secure rails
  • Includes planning, material acquisition, site prep/cleanup
Supplies$35-$45
  • Fasteners
  • Post concrete
  • Connectors
Equipment$70-$100Daily rental allowance for post hole auger, miter saw, pneumatic nailer, & portable concrete mixer
Total$470-$765

How Tall are Post and Rail Fences?

Normally, finished height is 48 inches. With horses or other livestock, height should be 60 inches.

How Much is a Gate for a Post and Beam Fence?

Expect to pay between $240 and $280 for a driveway gate made of two 4-feet-wide by 4-feet-tall sections with closing latches.

Do Split Rail Fences Work for Livestock and Horses or a Ranch?

Split rail fences do work for horses and livestock, because a horse is less likely to get hurt or get a hoof hung on this type of barrier. You must build them a minimum of 5 feet tall to deter horses from jumping and people from reaching over the structure.
Get a Quote on Buck and Rail Fencing Today
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DIY vs. Hiring a Professional

While you do not need a lot of costly, specialty equipment to build this classic fence, you do need some expertise that most homeowners don’t have. Even if you plan to install the fence yourself, consider hiring a pro to assess your property, plan the build, and calculate your materials. The cost to hire a fencing professional is worth the time, money, and long-term savings of avoiding even one costly mistake throughout the process.
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