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How much fence material do you need?

September 26, 2019

By Ashley VanderWall

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Pricing out a DIY fence project? Ready to purchase materials for the job?

Properly calculating your fence materials ahead of time will help you set a more accurate budget and keep you from running back to the store mid-project. In this blog, we’ll show you how to calculate fence materials and provide Fence Calculator Worksheets you can download.

Start Here - Fence Project Questions

Before starting the calculations, you need to answer these questions:

  1. Are you building your fence with preassembled fence panels, or stick-building with individual components?
  2. What is the total lineal footage of your fence line?
  3. What is the length of each fence section?
    Fence sections (the section between two posts) are typically 6’ or 8’ wide but could vary in unique applications, especially if you are stick-building your fence.
  4. How tall is your fence?
    The height of your fence determines the number of backer rails.
  5. How many gates are you including in your project? What is the width of each gate?
  6. If you're stick-building a fence - what is the actual width of each picket?
  7. If you're stick-building a fence - what is your desired picket spacing?
    Measure the space between pickets – inside-to-inside.

Now that you have your answers, you can find out how much fence material you need. Jump to the guide that suits your method of installation.

How to Calculate Fence Materials - Building with Preassembled Panels

First, calculate the Number of Fence Panels.

Number of Fence Panels = (Total Lineal Feet of Project – Gate Width) / Width of Fence Panel

Second, calculate the Number of Posts.

Number of Posts = Number of Panels + 1 + Number of Gates

Easy as that! Remember to add gate kits and nails or screws to your material list.

Click here to download our free Fence Calculator Worksheet for Preassembled panels!

Wood Fence Material Calculator Worksheet for Preassembled Fence Panels

How to Calculate Fence Materials - Stick-Building with Individual Fence Components

First, calculate the Number of Fence Sections.

Number of Fence Sections = Total Lineal Feet / Width of each Fence Section

With that number, you can calculate the Number of Posts

Number of Posts = Number of Fence Sections + 1 + Number of Gates

Next, you'll calculate the Number of Pickets. To do this, you need to convert the Total Lineal Feet to Inches - so multiply it by 12.

Number of Pickets = Total Length of Project in Inches / (Actual Picket Width + Picket Spacing)

Finally, you can calculate the Number of Backer Rails.

For a 4 ft tall fence: Number of Backer Rails = Number of Fence Sections X 2

For a 6 ft tall fence: Number of Backer Rails = Number of Fence Sections X 3

Click here to download our free Fence Calculator Worksheet for Individual Pickets!

Wood Fence Material Calculator Worksheet for Pickets and Posts

By now, you should have a complete material list for all the wood materials for your fence project. We recommend purchasing 10% more than you calculated.

Don’t forget to pick up enough nails or screws for your fence, along with gate kits if needed.

Please remember this guide is for estimation purposes only. Every project is unique and may require additional materials depending on the scope and terrain. Please plan accordingly.

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