Q&A / 

Fence Material Calculator

Fence Calculator

Steve is going to tackle a fence project in Brampton, Ontario, Canada. But he needs to a calculator to tell him how much material he'll need. Here's what he has to say:

"Do you know a website or program I can use that will tell me how much material is needed to build a fence?

I have never done this before and would like to try and build a fence 30'w X 40'd X 5'h.

Thank You."

Well Steve, I can see why the task might seem impossible, but there's an old saying:

Elephants are best eaten one bite at a time.

Here's what's cool about most fences. They're built in sections that are identical to the one next to it.

This means you just have to calculate the amount of material in one section and then multiply the components in each section by the total number of sections and SHAZAM you've got your full material list.

The only mistake you can make is thinking that each section of fence requires two posts. Only the beginning and end sections require two. Every other section borrows a post from the section next to it.

Here's an example:

The first section may have:

  • 2 posts
  • 3 horizontal rails
  • 15 pickets

If you have a fence that has 20 sections, you'll need:

  • 22 posts
  • 60 horizontal rails
  • 300 pickets

The best way to calculate what you need is to go look at the fence you're going to copy. Just go to a person's house, or a location where a section of this fence is on display.  Take photos of the fence on both sides to help you remember how it's constructed.

Make a list there of the components and how many there are of each thing including:

  • posts
  • horizontal rails
  • vertical pickets

Then I'd make a simple plan view drawing as if you're in a plane looking down at your lot. Use 1/4-inch graph paper and make it to scale.

This helps you confirm the correct number of posts.

Believe me, you can do this. It's not hard.


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