Adding a fence around your property is a great way to provide privacy and security for your family, children, and pets. Fences are also a good idea if you are looking to add beauty, character, and value to your home. My expert guide provides an overview of what you should consider when choosing a fence so you can determine which fencing option is best for you. 

Factors When Choosing a Fence

Deciding on what type of outdoor fence is best for you requires looking at a variety of priorities. 

Consider your budget, ideal materials, and your personal style as well. From my years of experience in the home improvement industry, I have found it’s best to reach out to your HOA or research neighborhood policies so you can meet local guidelines before considering other factors. 

Common reasons for installing a fence include privacy, security, and appearance. Privacy fencing limits neighbors from being able to see into your yard. It can even discourage deer from entering your property

Installing a fence can increase security around your home. Fences help contain your children and pets in your backyard and restrict access to your property. Typically, fences built with security in mind have locking gates. 

Finally, consider building a fence for appearance purposes. Fences can enhance the curb appeal of your home and provide a unique aesthetic. They also can increase property value. 

Your fence’s design should complement the architectural and landscaping style of your home. There are many types of fence designs, so research thoroughly ahead of time before picking. 

The exact cost of your fence will depend on the dimensions, materials used, and whether or not you install it yourself. You may want to choose the cheapest fence in order to save money. But keep in mind that lower-cost options might not provide the best long-term value when accounting for life span and maintenance costs. 

Vinyl fencing tends to be the most expensive initially but requires little upkeep. On the other hand, wood fences need periodic staining, sealing, and painting, which may require you to hire a professional to do maintenance. 

Fencing Material Choices

The three most common fencing material options are wood, metal, and vinyl. Wood provides a natural look but does require staining and painting over time. Metal is highly durable. Vinyl is a no-maintenance fencing option that has a consistent color due to the material. 

Let’s look at each of these fencing material options in depth below. 

Wood Fences

Wood fences have beautiful, classic, and organic appearances. They are installed quickly and easily and often have a lower up-front cost compared to metal or vinyl. However, wood fences tend to warp, crack, or rot. This may result in higher maintenance costs when compared with other materials. 

wood fence
Image Credit: Canva

Some common wood fence styles include stockade, shadowbox, board, picket, or split rail. 

While they do require staining or painting over time, this maintenance allows you to change the color and look of your fences as the years go by. Cost factors associated with wooden fences include the height, width, whether you opt for a privacy design, and the complexity of the design itself. 

Metal Fences

Metal fences are durable and affordable, making them a good option for security or pet fencing. I recommend metal fences because they typically have lower maintenance costs associated with them. 

Metal Fences
Image Credit: Canva

Chain link fences are usually used on commercial properties, but many homeowners are opting to use them because they are a great option for keeping pets in. They provide an open look and feel to your property. You can add vinyl privacy slats if you are looking to reduce the visibility into your yard. Chain link fences are also graffiti-resistant and available in both galvanized and vinyl-coated options. 

Wrought iron fences are the most expensive option but are known for their distinctive and elegant styling. Many homeowners may want an aluminum ornamental fence if they are looking to mimic the look of wrought iron at a lower price point. Aluminum fencing is usually coated with a durable powder to resist rust and provides an alternative to the utilitarian style of a chain link fence. 

Vinyl Fences

Vinyl is becoming an increasingly popular fence material because it is low maintenance and durable. It offers a lot of privacy and a consistent color. Popular design types for this fencing material include picket fencing and fencing around pools.  

Vinyl Fences
Image Credit: Canva

A huge benefit is that vinyl fencing is resistant to cracking and peeling. Vinyl does cost more initially than wood or chain link fencing. However, it does offer long-term savings because this material does not require staining or painting. 

So, Is Fencing a Smart Investment?

Fencing is a good investment whether you are looking to add privacy around the home, security, or aesthetic appeal to your yard. It offers a high return on investment and enables you to get greater enjoyment out of your outdoor living spaces and play areas by providing a pleasing design and peace of mind. 

Research your options thoroughly when making decisions on what type of fencing you would like. I recommend hiring a reputable professional to get the best quality for your budget, especially as residential fences may require you to adhere to specific guidelines and standards for your area. 

*Costs in this article are sourced from contractor estimates used by Angi.

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Fencing FAQs

What materials should I use for a privacy fence?

Both vinyl and wood have panel options designed for privacy fences. You’ll want to look for a solid material with very tight board spacing.

Is a 6-foot fence tall enough for privacy?

Generally, a 6-foot fence will supply adequate privacy. However, a seven or 8-foot option will provide added seclusion. Be sure to check with your HOA and locality to see if there are height ordinances you must follow when installing your fence.

Should fence posts be inside or outside a perimeter?

I recommend placing your fence posts inside the perimeter. This will result in a smoother and unbroken fence face and will enhance your fence’s privacy and security.

How expensive are different fencing materials? 

Wood fences typically cost $10—$45 per linear foot. Chain link costs between $8—$40, while vinyl costs between $15–$40. There may also be other costs associated with fence installation, such as tree removal, complexity of the design, if your landscape needs to be leveled, and additional labor costs.

What wood type works best for fencing?

Redwood and cedar are the longest-lasting fencing options because they are more durable and weather-resistant than other lumber types. You can choose pine or fir if you want to paint or stain your fence.

Editorial Contributors
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Nikki Stavile

Nikki Stavile is a writer based in Tucson, Arizona. As an avid backpacker and passionate environmentalist, her work often focuses on sustainable movements at the personal and societal level.

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Amy DeYoung


Amy DeYoung has a passion for educating and motivating homeowners to improve their lives through home improvement projects and preventative measures. She is a content writer and editor specializing in pest control, moving, window, and lawn/gardening content for Today’s Homeowner. Amy utilizes her own experience within the pest control and real estate industry to educate readers. She studied business, communications, and writing at Arizona State University.

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