How to Measure a Fence Accurately

How to Measure a Fence Accurately

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The first step in accurately calculating the materials you need for a new fence (also known as a fence material take-off) is to have accurate measurements of the fence line.

However, getting those measurements could be a little trickier than you anticipate. You might try a 100-foot tape measure, but you'll still be stuck awkwardly adding figures if you have any fence runs that are longer than 100 feet. Or you might use a measuring wheel that measures the distance on the ground, and if you have undulating or uneven ground, it won’t be accurate. Here’s how you can measure a fence accurately and easily.

Get a Digital Laser Measure


The first thing you need to do to measure your fence's length accurately is get yourself a digital laser measure.

This little tool is highly accurate and allows you to measure up to 656 linear feet or 200 linear meters without moving from the start point of each fence line.

They’re portable, rechargeable, and come with a tripod so you can still get accurate measurements – even if you’re a little shaky when you’re taking them.

We love this affordable outdoor laser measurement tool that’s available on Amazon. It’s not only great value, it’s also easy to use!


Buy this measuring tool on Amazon

 Don’t Forget to Measure Angles!

Fence installation is not just about how long the fence is horizontal. You also have to take slopes into account, which is why you can never do a proper fence takeoff purely off a plan or even off Google Earth!

You have to account for the angles when you’re doing your fence take-off so that you can allow enough material for the project.

You could use survey equipment like a dumpy level or theodolite to get the angle of your fence lines, but if you choose a digital laser measure like the one we mentioned above, it also has built-in angle measuring, so you will always know not only the length but also the gradient of every fence line. So you don’t need survey equipment or even how to use trigonometry or Pythagoras to do the calculation yourself!

Do Your Fence Layout Sketch

The final step in measuring your fence for take-off is transferring the information you gathered to a fence layout sketch.

This is a drawing that shows all the fence lines of your fence, the corners, ends, and gate locations, and notes about obstacles and potential problems.

If you’ve never done a fence layout drawing, you can read our article about how to draw a fence.

Great for Professionals and DIY

There are some tools out there that you might buy and only use once, but a digital measuring tool like the one above from Amazon is not one of those.

This tool is useful for so many different types of measuring and take-off that it’s a fantastic addition to any toolbox. Heck, it’s even a great gift for the handy person in your life!

Whether this is for you, a friend or family member or an employee, once you have accurate fence measurements, you can use our calculators to calculate materials for various types of fences.

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