How to Calculate How Many Fence Panels You Need

How to Calculate How Many Fence Panels You Need

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Whether you’re planning to install a wood fence as a DIY project or buying materials for installation by a fence company in your area, there’s a good chance you are wondering how to calculate how many fence panels you need.

While a good contractor will usually take care of this kind of calculation for you, if you’re going it alone, here’s what you need to know about calculating how many fence panels you will need for your fence project.

Make a Sketch

The first thing you want to do when you’re calculating how many fence panels you need is make a sketch of your fence line layout. This doesn’t have to be a perfect architectural masterpiece. Just make sure all the lines, ends, openings, gates, and other information is there, and it’s mostly in proportion.

Measure Your Fence Lines

Once you have a sketch, the next thing you need to do is measure each fence line. In case you aren’t sure, a fence line is the section of straight fence between any two corner, end or gate post combinations. If it doesn’t have a corner in it, and it’s unbroken, it’s a fence line.

Remember that changes of direction on fences aren’t only horizontal, so if there are big steps in your fence, you might need to treat the different elevations as different fence lines.

Double Check Panel Size

The next thing you need to do when you’re calculating how many fence panels you need is double check the size of the panel, plus the width of one post. Fence panel spacing is usually done from the center of one post to the center of the next, so you need to include that width in your calculation.

Calculate Panels One Line at a Time

Sometimes, it’s possible to cut one panel for the end of one fence line and then use the leftover piece for another fence line. However, that’s not always the case.

This is why you need to calculate how many panels you need to use for each fence line, make a note of the full panels, and then see what the size of the remaining panels are. If you can combine one or two of these “cutting” panels, that’s great, but it’s usually best just to divide the line length by the panel plus post width, and then round up for each fence line.

You will be left with a little extra material, but at least you won’t be short, and if you ever need to do repairs, you’ll have the materials available.

What Kind of Panel Fences Does This Work For?

This method of calculating the fence panels you need for a fence project will work with any panel type fence, including premanufactured wood fence panels, vinyl fence panels, palisade panels, ornamental fence and more.

Some of these fence types may be further broken down into components, so there might still be an additional step to complete – calculating the quantity of each component based on the fence type and multiplying by the number of panels!

Many fence suppliers will do this kind of calculation for you, based on your sketch or drawing. Fence contractors usually also take care of this, so if you’d rather not take the chance, those are great options!

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