Why Do Corners and Ends Make Fences Cost More

Why Do Corners and Ends Make Fences Cost More?

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If you've ever had a quote for a fence, you might have noticed that the fence contractor asks for a site layout - or they might come out to measure themselves.

They probably do a site layout sketch when they do, and they will probably note corners, changes of direction, ends and gates on that sketch. That's because the more corners, ends and gates you have, the more your fence will probably cost. Here's why.

End and Corner Posts Require More Material

Most fence types have different end and corner posts. They're bigger and beefier than intermediates or standard posts. That's because they are designed to take the tension that is on the fence. They're carrying the weight of the fence, and they need to keep everything sturdy and in line.

Usually, that means that the posts themselves will be bigger, and there is often additional tensioning equipment that needs to be installed on corner and end posts.

These posts also usually have deeper and larger concrete footings, and since you pay for concrete by the cubic meter, that will also increase the cost.

They Also Take More Time to Install

The cost of a fence is always made up of material and labour. So, when the material for a post or fence component changes, there's a good chance that the labour will increase too.

End and corner fence posts are usually longer and heavier than intermediate posts, so they are harder to lift and move around. They also have to be positioned precisely to get the fence line in the right place, so there's usually some marking and measuring to be done before they can be installed.

Once your end and corner posts are installed, there are usually extra fittings required to tension wire, mesh and other fence materials. All of that will take longer, and that increases the labour cost portion of the fence post installation.

They Increase the Number of Posts

When you break down the cost of most fence systems, the fence panels themselves, whether they're mesh or something else don't make up that much of the fence cost. They're usually fairly lightweight and easy to install, so the material and labour component of the fence cost is lower.

However, fence posts are quite expensive, when you factor in the fence post itself, the fittings, the excavation for the footings and the concrete to install it.

A standard fence specification will usually include a fence post at a set distance- often 8 or 10 feet, which is about 2.4 to 3m center to center.

If you were to install 100 feet of fence with posts every 10 feet, you would need 11 posts in total. But if there are two extra corners in that fence line, you would use 13 posts. Of course, the cost of those posts has to be factored into the cost of the fence, which is why more corners and ends will increase the cost of a fence.

They Increase "Cuttings"

When a fence is built with panels, they come in a standard size. Which means that if there's a shorter panel somewhere to accommodate a corner or an end, they need to be cut to fit.

Cutting a fence panel increases the labour required, and, if the offcut can't be used elsewhere, will also increase the material that is required for the job.

Where Do You Need Extra Posts?

The complicated part of any fence project is determining exactly what is required to do the project.

Fence estimators usually visit project sites to make detailed drawings and notes, for that reason.

They will need to allow an end post anywhere the fence ends, even if it's up against a building or similar, so that they have something to strain the fence off.

They will also need to allow a corner post at any place where the fence line deviates more than about 10 degrees. That applies to changes on both the vertical and horizontal plane, so that means changes in direction and changes in elevation need to be taken into account.

What Can You Do?

If you want to keep the cost of your fence project down, the best thing you can do is try to have your fence lines as long, straight and level as possible.

This will reduce the amount of corners and ends required, and lower both material and labour costs.

You can also do things like plan to have gates at the end of a fence line, so that you can use an end post as a combination end / gate post, instead of having two additional gate posts.

If you can't change the fence line layout, ask your fence contractor which fence systems would be the best choice for a site with lots of corners and ends. Some systems are more forgiving and economical than others!