how to measure for a fence

How To Measure For a Fence: Materials and Cost

There’s a reason the fencing industry earned nine billion dollars in total revenue last year — people crave the privacy, curb appeal and pet protection that fences offer.

Whether you want to tackle a fencing project yourself or hire some professionals, there are still things you need to consider before you commit.

You must know things like how to measure for a fence, what material to use, and how much it will cost.

In this article, we will go over this information and more. But first, let’s go over some reasons why you might want to consider building a fence for your property.

Why Should You Build a Fence?

Building a fence certainly isn’t for everyone. The process is lengthy and can be expensive depending on the size of your property and the type of material you use.

However, a fence does provide your home with some intangible benefits: privacy and security. While a new fence around your lawn or backyard fence might not add much in terms of tangible property value, it will help you sell your home.

A survey found that 33% of millennial homebuyers said the reason they’re looking for a house was to find a better space for their dog or cat. A fence gives the animals more space to roam without being tied to a leash.

Plus, a beautiful fence can improve the curb appeal of your property. If you combine an attractive fence with proper landscaping, then you can add between 6-15% of extra value to your home.

What Do You Need to Do Before Making a Fence?

Before you begin construction on your fence, the first thing you need to do is identify your property lines. Even if you think you know the property lines surrounding your house, it can’t hurt to double-check.

The last thing you want is a dispute with a neighbor or municipal agent after you build the fence. This process can drag the case into court and may require you to re-do your fence.

But where can you find the property lines for your house? One place is the official deed they gave you after buying the house. You can also investigate on plat maps found at a planner’s or assessor’s office.

If you can’t understand what the shapes or numbers mean, then make sure you get a professional to confirm it for you.

The Best Materials for Fencing

The material that you make your fence with can affect both the appearance and price of the final product.

It’s also important to explore the maintenance required for certain materials — some need more upkeep than others.


Pine is one of the most popular types of woods used on fences due to its affordable price and soft nature. The softness of the wood allows it to be molded into attractive fence designs.

Unfortunately, it also reduces the overall durability of the fence you make. If you get pine, you will need to maintain it often if you want it to continue to look attractive after the first year.


If you want a more affordable wood solution that also looks attractive, then consider ipe wood — also known as Brazilian walnut. The wood is hard and dense.

It resists insects, rough weather and rotting. As such, it makes a great material for fences or yards.

Ipe can cost as low as $2.15 per linear foot, so it’s something you should keep in mind when selecting material.


Cedar fence material looks attractive and is easy to maintain. The wood also naturally repels annoying insects like mosquitoes which makes it ideal for buggy location.

Unfortunately, cedar is much more expensive than cheaper woods like pine, ipe, and garapa.


Redwood comes with a distinctive red color that can complement the style of certain houses perfectly.

It also serves as a natural insect repellent and comes with some excellent durability. Unfortunately, like cedar, redwood fence material can also be expensive.


Garapa wood is another type of affordable Brazilian wood that’s much denser than other types of materials.

What’s more, it’s easy to work with, so if you have more elaborate designs in mind for your fence, then it’s a good option. It’s lighter in color and slightly cheaper than ipe, but it’s just as resistant to rot.


So far, we’ve only covered wood fence material, but there are other options too. One popular design in the suburbs is white vinyl fencing. This material is attractive and requires little to no maintenance.

Unfortunately, it’s expensive — between $20 and $25 per linear foot of fencing. It’s only cost effective for small properties.

The Best Way to Learn How to Measure For a Fence

You can hire a professional contractor to measure for a fence, or you can do it yourself with these six steps.

Make sure you always get 10% more material than you need. This tip will help you if you need more because of miscalculations or mistakes.

Outline Your Fence

When measuring for a fence, the first thing you need to do is decided the perimeter you want your fence to cover. Use stakes or similar devices to outline the shape you want for your property.

Measure the Perimeter

Once you establish the perimeter, get a long tape measure. Measure each side of the fence by starting at one corner and measuring it to the next side. Then measure the total length of the fence.

For example, a front lawn fence with three equal sizes of 20 feet would have a total length of 60 feet.

Find Out the Number of Posts

Now that you know how long your fence needs to be, it’s time for the posts. The number of posts you will need depends on the frequency of the spacing. Most fences have a post every 8 feet.

Divide the total length by the frequency of the post spacing. So, if we wanted a post every 8 feet on the three-sided fence, then we would divide 60 by 8 (60➗8 = 7.5). So, the fence needs around 8 posts in total — 2 for each side.

Calculate The Amount of Post Material You’ll Need

Now it’s time to figure out how tall you want your fence to be. Remember that the posts must be taller than the wall itself since ⅓ of the post goes into the ground for fence support.

How do you figure out the amount of material you’ll need for the posts? Multiply the height you want your fence at by 1.5. Then, multiply that number by the number of posts you have.

For our small, 3-foot front lawn fence, we would multiply 3 by 1.5 (3 x 1.5 = 4.5). We then multiply 4.5 by the number of posts we need, in this case, 8. So, we would need 36 linear feet of wood for our posts.

Figure Out How Much Railing Your Fence Requires

Most fences require front and bottom railing to support the slates or pickets. You can easily calculate the number of linear feet you’ll need for railing by multiplying your total length by 2.

In our case, we would require 120 linear feet of material railing. If you want a middle section of railing, then multiply the total length by 3.

Calculate the Slates or Pickets

You can figure out the number of slats or pickets you need by adding the width of the slate to the frequency in spacing.

So if you wanted a 5.5-inch slate every 1 inch, then you would multiply 6.5 by 60 (6.5 x 60 = 390 inches). So we would need 390 inches or 32.5 linear feet for our fence.

How Much Do Fences Usually Cost to Build?

The cost of a fence depends on a variety of factors like the material you use, the people you hire, the size of the fence and the company that supplies you with the material.

Most of the time fences cost between $1500 and $4000 to make. However, as we mentioned, this price goes up or down depending on the size and type of fence you make.

If you’re making the fence yourself, then you can calculate the cost by identifying how much material you’ll need, then multiplying it by the cost of the material per linear feet.

If You Need Ipe or Garapa Lumber

We hope this article helped you learn how to measure for a fence. If you decided that you’re interested in ipe or garapa lumber for your fence, then you’re probably wondering where you can get your hands on them.

Look no further than Buy Ipe Direct for fencing or decking needs. We offer affordable Brazilian wood material that makes large projects much more cost-effective.

The weather-resistant wood types are perfect for any outdoor projects, especially fences. If you’ve got questions about our ipe or garapa wood inventory, then contact us here.

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