Building a Fence: DIY or Hire a Contractor?

A new fence adds beauty to your lawn, your home and your neighborhood. Fences are a sound barrier and keep your pets and children safe and unnoticed. They’re a worthy investment in your home. Once you’ve made the decision to follow through with this rather extensive project, however, you may have a few hoops to jump through before actually beginning the project. Point-and-case: should you do it yourself or should you hire a contractor?

To truly commit to a DIY in making your own fence, a few items must be addressed:

What kind of fence are you hoping to construct?

With DIY, you will have to consider two things: the kind of fence you want, and whether you can assemble and construct it safely. A contractor costs a little bit more, but they give you every option. Any kind of fence, they’ve done it (check out our fence gallery). The last thing you want to do is second-guess your choice on a fence based on whether you can do it yourself. This is your yard, your house, and the kind of fence matters. If you choose a simple style, the next few steps will be much easier to answer.

How extensive is the process?

If you opt for the DIY, you must know where to find the supplies. If it’s an extravagant design with graduated lengths of cedar and embellishments, you’ll need to measure and cut your own wood. Many hardware suppliers have a pre-assembled fence, if you want something plain and basic. The contractor, on the other hand, finds out what you want and procures it for you, and even a pre-assembled fence requires additional tools.

What tools do you need?

For a simple wooden picket fence, you will need a level, hammer, circular saw, drill, tape measure and string. You’ll also need a posthole digger, fence panels, treated posts, concrete mix and ground stakes. Some items you may have in your garage. Unless you’re planning on building a lot of fences, however, the complete tool list for a simple fence or a more extravagant one could be as much as $400.00.

How much help do you have?

Maybe you expect your neighbors to help. Maybe you have your brothers and friends who are handy to lend a tool or a helping hand in this process. Ultimately, you cannot do this alone. You need to pick reliable, safe and experienced people if you have them at your disposal. Building a fence is nothing short of hard labor and time. Prepare your “team” for this very thing. The contractor, as you’ve guessed, comes with an equipped team who are licensed and reliable. This is a valuable tool you may not have access to.

DIY is great for many things. The expertise and planning involved in building a fence shouldn’t be underestimated. Hiring a contractor eliminates the necessity of extensive planning and purchasing of additional tools and materials. DIY eliminates costs but places you as the manager and facilitator of the project. Knowing your options puts you in the best position to create a quality investment in your home. Let the quality of the work define your decision. Workmanship, after all, is the best policy.