By Gene and Katie Hamilton
A rail fence is one of the easiest to construct because its components posts with holes for horizontal rails fit together like pins in a slot. While its original use was to keep livestock from straying into a neighbor's homestead, today its natural good looks make a rail fence a pleasant addition to just about anyone's home. It defines property lines without putting up barriers or obstructing a view. The height of the fence is determined by the height of the posts and consequently whether there are two or three rails.
The first step for any fencing project is to consult your property survey so you know exactly where your property begins and ends. In most areas, a building permit is required to build a fence, so check with your local building department to see if one is needed and learn about any height restrictions and the requirement for the depth of the post holes. The depth depends on the frost line (how deep the ground freezes) is in your area. Also learn how close a fence can be to your neighbor’s property.
A fence contractor will charge $1,075 to build a 50-foot long rail fence, which includes the labor and material. You can buy the materials, including rails, posts and gravel to secure the posts, for $680 and build it yourself, saving 36 percent. The materials are sold at lumber yards, and home and garden centers. You'll need a post hole digger, shovel, carpenter's level, tape measure, and string and stakes.
A fence contractor doing the job with workers will take most of the day to build a rail fence, while a homeowner working alone will log in more than 20 hours.
Don't want to do this job yourself? Find a contractor in your area to do the job at Home Advisor, a free referral service connecting homeowners with pre-screened contractors.
Here's instructions from Lowes Install a Split Rail Fence.
That sums it up. Knowing the average cost to build a rail fence lets you compare doing it yourself with what you can expect to pay a contractor. To customize the cost to where you live add your ZIP Code in the cost box.
Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2019