Is It Cheaper to Do a Wood or Chain Link Fence?

Is It Cheaper to Do a Wood or Chain Link Fence?

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If you know nothing about fences and fencing and you’re looking for options to fence your property, you might very well be asking is it cheaper to do a wood fence or chain link fence.

This is a very common question, so we decided to give you all the information you need to make the right choice.

Chain Link Fence Is Cheaper Than Wood Fence

The first thing you need to know about the answer to the question is it cheaper to do a wood or chain link fence is that a chain link fence will be cheaper.

In fact, you can expect most chain link fences to cost well under $20 a foot (assuming you have an average sized property and not too many tricky site conditions), while a wood fence will cost $40 to $50 a foot or more.

One of the reasons so many people do choose chain link is that it’s very hard to beat it on price!

Why Are Chain Link Fences Cheaper to Install?

Chain link fences use less material per square foot, so even though that material is steel rather than wood, the cost of the materials to build a chain link fence is much lower.

Chain link fences are also easier to install than wood fences, and they usually take less time to install. That means you pay less for labor too.

Even when you have slopes on your fence line, chain link comes out on top, because it’s one of the few fence systems that can follow the contours of a site.

So, when it comes to the question of whether it’s cheaper to do a wood or chain link fence based on upfront costs alone, chain link still wins.

Why Are Chain Link Fences Cheaper Over Their Whole Lifetime?

The next question you might be asking when you’re comparing the cost of installing chain link fence versus the cost to install a wood fence is whether there are any benefits in the lifetime cost of wood fence that might offset the higher installation costs.

Unfortunately, here, again, chain link fence tends to win the race.

Chain link fence is extremely low maintenance when installed correctly, and you can expect to have 25 to 50 years of service from your chain link fence, depending on the specification and climatic conditions in your area. Chain link does tend to rust faster in marine environments, so if you live at the beach, these numbers won’t apply!

Wood fences, on the other hand, are sensitive to moisture, sun, and other environmental factors. They even attract wood eating insects.

One way around this is to stain your wood fence, but that means that you will need to restain it every few years if you want it to look good.

Over the lifetime of a wood fence, you will almost certainly spend more on maintenance than you would on a chain link fence, and it probably won’t last as long.

So Why Do People Choose Wood Fences Over Chain Link Fences?

Since chain link is cheaper and more durable, you might now be wondering why anyone would choose wood fence over chain link fence.

There are two answers: appearance and privacy.

While there are some people who don’t mind the mildly industrial look of chain link fence, and you can choose PVC coated chain link fences to improve their appearance, there’s no denying that they usually don’t look as nice as a freshly built wood fence.

As for privacy, chain link fence is pretty much completely transparent. You can add privacy slats to your chain link fence, but that still won’t give you the same level  of privacy as a well-built wood fence, and again, even with slats, your fence won’t look as nice as a well-built wood fence.

Always Get Both Options

Even though, as you can see, the winner on the question of is it cheaper to do a wood or chain link fence does have a clear winner – and it is chain link fence – you should always get pricing on all the fence options you’re considering.

The fence system you really love might not be that much more expensive than other options, and since you have to spend every day looking at it, that might be enough to tip the scales towards a more expensive option.

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