How much does a split rail fence cost?
$15 – $35 average cost per linear foot
$3,000 – $7,000 average project (200 linear feet)
Split rail fence cost
A split rail fence costs $3,000 to $7,000 on average or $15 to $35 per linear foot, depending on the material. A split rail fence with wire mesh costs $35 to $40 per linear foot. The cost of split rail fencing is $10 to $20 per linear foot for materials.
|Fence length (linear feet)||Average cost installed|
|50||$750 – $1,750|
|100||$1,500 – $3,500|
|150||$2,250 – $5,250|
|200||$3,000 – $7,000|
|300||$4,500 – $10,500|
|400||$6,000 – $14,000|
|500||$7,500 – $17,500|
Cost of a split rail fence by material
The cost of a split rail fence is anywhere from $15 to $45 per linear foot, depending on the material. A wooden split rail fence costs $15 to $35 per linear foot installed for pine or cedar, which are the most common materials used.
|Material||Average cost per linear foot*|
|Cedar||$25 – $35|
|Pine||$15 – $25|
|Black locust||$20 – $40|
|Vinyl||$15 – $30|
|Composite||$20 – $35|
|Aluminum||$20 – $40|
|Steel||$25 – $45|
A cedar wood split rail fence costs $25 to $35 per linear foot installed. Cedar is a hardwood, and a cedar fence costs more due to extra assembly work. This material offers a rustic appearance and resists rotting and insects. Cedar fencing lasts for 20 to 25 years.
A pine split rail fence costs $15 to $25 per linear foot installed. Pine is the most affordable but less durable than cedar. While easier to install than cedar, a pine fence needs staining or painting to protect it from the elements. Pine fencing lasts 10 to 15 years.
Black locust wood
A black locust wood split rail fence costs $20 to $40 per linear foot installed. This premium hardwood is stronger than cedar and pine. Black locust wood is great for extreme weather conditions and naturally resists rot. Black locust wood lasts for 20 to 25 years.
A vinyl split rail fence costs $15 to $30 per linear foot installed. Vinyl is long-lasting, maintenance-free, and comes in different colors. A vinyl fence suits humid areas since it resists water damage that causes warping and pests. However, vinyl becomes brittle in cold weather.
A composite split rail fence costs $20 to $35 per linear foot installed. Composite is a blend of plastic and wood fibers for a wood-like appearance that requires less upkeep. While composite materials resist rot, pests, and warping, it becomes brittle in colder climates.
Composite fences are typically more durable than plain vinyl. While composite boards can be eco-friendly since they are made from recycled products, they aren't readily available everywhere.
An aluminum split rail fence costs $20 to $40 per linear foot installed. Aluminum is lightweight, durable, coated to resist rust, and available in various styles and colors. The higher material cost makes aluminum a less common choice for very long split rail fences.
Alternatively, people prefer to reinforce a wooden or vinyl split rail fence with aluminum posts that cost $50 to $90 each.
A steel split rail fence costs $25 to $45 per linear foot installed. Steel is the least common choice for split rail fences due to the high material cost. Plus, all fence posts require concrete-filled post holes. Most steel fences have a rust-resistant coating.
However, the advantages of steel split rail fences are their extra strength, durability, and weather resistance. Plus, steel fences won't be knocked down by horses nor injure them.
Cost of split rail fencing by height
The cost of split rail fencing increases by height for fences that require more rails and taller posts. Most split rail fences have 2 to 5 rails, depending on the purpose.
|Number of rails||Total cost per linear foot installed|
|2||$15 – $20|
|3||$20 – $25|
|4||$25 – $30|
|5||$30 – $35|
Split rail fence cost per acre
Installing a split rail fence costs $8,300 to $11,500 per acre on average with cheaper prices per acre for larger lots. Pine wood is the most common choice for fencing these larger properties since it's readily available and budget friendly.
|Project size (acre)||Boundary (linear feet)||Average cost installed|
|1||850 – 900||$8,300 – $11,500|
|2||1,200 – 1,300||$11,500 – $16,000|
|3||1,450 – 1,550||$13,800 – $19,500|
|5||1,900 – 2,000||$18,000 – $25,000|
|10||2,650 – 2,800||$25,000 – $35,000|
Split rail fence cost estimator
The labor cost to install a split rail fence is $5 to $15 per linear foot, depending on the material and terrain conditions.
|Factor||Average cost per linear foot*|
|Materials||$10 – $20|
|Labor||$5 – $15|
|Total cost to install||$15 – $35|
*Based on common fences less than 6' tall with woods like pine.
Split rail fence prices vary according to these installation cost factors:
Length & height – Taller and longer fences need more materials and labor time, increasing project costs.
Material – Pine is the cheapest common wood for split rail fences. A steel split rail fence is the strongest material type but is also the most expensive.
Posts – Prices vary by the number, type, and installation method of posts. Anchoring posts in cement costs more and is best for fencing in cattle or horses. Otherwise, the cheaper option is setting posts in tamped dirt over gravel.
Number of rails – Increasing the number of rails adds to both material and labor costs. More rails strengthen the fence but require additional work.
Gates – Custom or automated gates will increase the cost substantially depending on the gate size and type.
Wire mesh – A pinewood split rail fence with wire mesh costs $35 to $40 per linear foot total. The wire contains small animals like dogs, sheep, or goats.
Labor – Total labor costs depend on the contractor's expertise, crew size, region, and fence complexity.
Painting or staining – The cost to stain or paint a fence is $2 to $14 per linear foot.
Surveying – A land survey costs $200 to $1,200 to mark property lines and show where to build a fence legally.
Permit – A fence permit costs $40 to $150, depending on your location.
Split rail vs. other fence types
Split rail fences are not as secure as other fence installation alternatives, including:
A barbed wire fence costs $3 to $6 per linear foot.
A chain-link fence costs $9 to $30 per linear foot.
A wood fence costs $20 to $50 per linear foot.
A vinyl fence costs $30 to $60 per linear foot.
An aluminum fence costs $25 to $75 per linear foot.
A metal fence costs $20 to $85 per linear foot.
A wrought iron fence costs $50 to $85 per linear foot.
Pros and cons
The following table shows the advantages and disadvantages of split rail fences:
Split rail fence FAQs
What is a split rail fence?
A split rail fence is a basic boundary made from 2 to 4 rows of horizontal, rough-cut wooden rails. Although wooden split rail fences are the most popular, this design also comes in vinyl, composite, steel, and aluminum. People also call it "post and rail" fencing.
Most people use a split rail fence for defining a property line, containing large livestock, or adding a rustic charm to the property.
How long does a split rail fence last?
A split rail fence lasts 10 to 30 years on average, depending on the materials, installation quality, and maintenance. Preserve the fencing for a longer lifespan by waterproofing the materials.
How high should a split rail fence be?
Most split rail fences are 3 to 6 feet high, depending on the purpose and local fence regulations. Fences for horses or livestock are typically 4 to 5 feet tall while a fence to keep a small pet inside is around 3 feet tall and often includes wire mesh.
What's the best material for a split rail fence?
The best material for a split rail fence depends on the soil conditions, local climate, and purpose of the fence. Wood is the most traditional material but needs the most maintenance and rots in swamp-like soils. Steel costs the most but requires the least maintenance.
Do split rail fences need concrete?
Split rail fences typically need concrete post anchors when installed in wet soils or to reinforce them against tipping in extreme storms. In a moderate climate with well-draining soil, the posts remain stable when installed directly into tamped dirt and gravel.
Do split rail fences require a lot of maintenance?
The amount of maintenance a split rail fence requires depends on the material. Woods may need periodic staining or painting while vinyl and metal fences are mostly maintenance free.
Getting estimates from split rail fence installers
Before hiring a split rail fence installer near you, be sure to:
Read past customer reviews on Google and HomeGuide.
Confirm the fence companies have licenses, insurance, and have been in business for 5+ years.
Avoid choosing the lowest bid that can indicate low-quality work.
Ask for a list of references with contact details.
Compare 3 to 5 estimates with the same fencing materials.
Ask for a written contract and warranty details before the work starts.
Don't make your final payment until after the fence is completed to your satisfaction.
Questions to ask a fence installer
Evaluate potential fence installers by first asking them:
How many years have you been installing split rail fences?
Can you show me photos of past projects with split rail fences?
What is the expected timeframe for installation?
How much maintenance will the split rail fence require?
Do you offer warranties or guarantees on your work?
How many people does it take to install the fence?
Does my property present any potential challenges?
Do you handle the necessary permits and inspections?
Are all materials, labor, delivery, and the cleanup fee included in this estimate?
Will the fence installation affect my current landscaping?
Will you call the utility department to mark where underground lines are?
Will you provide a list of references I can contact?