How Much Does a Wrought-Iron Fence Cost to Install?
The simple but stately look of a wrought-iron fence adds curb appeal and security to any home. The national average wrought-iron fence cost is $3,091, with homeowners paying between $1,318 and $4,882 in many cases.
- It typically costs between $1,318 and $4,882 to install a wrought-iron fence, with homeowners paying a national average price of $3,091.
- Some of the main factors affecting wrought-iron fence cost include the fence length, height, and thickness; the iron quality; the installation location; and the cost of labor.
- Wrought-iron fences have numerous benefits, including durability, privacy, security, sustainability, ease of installation and maintenance, and a potentially increased home value.
- Wrought iron is a heavy material, which makes it difficult to work with. For this reason, it’s typically recommended that homeowners hire a pro to install a wrought-iron fence.
The traditional tale of a beautiful, well-kept home often includes a white picket fence neatly enclosing a tidy front lawn and attractive garden. The tale rarely includes the annual toil of a sweaty homeowner scraping peeled paint off the fence, swatting at bees and pushing rosebushes aside to repaint the pickets so the wood doesn’t rot, or the effort needed to dig up a post in the middle of the garden to replace it only a few years after installation. Some homeowners find this level of maintenance worth the time and effort for the natural look of a wood fence, or for the smaller cost of purchase and installation. Others turn to vinyl fencing for its durability and ease of maintenance. For homeowners who want a type of fence material with a clean, finished look that is attractive and low maintenance, and provides the additional benefits of security, wrought-iron fencing is a great option. But it looks so expensive, and metal fence cost is usually higher than other options—so how much does a wrought-iron fence cost to install?
According to Angi and HomeAdvisor, the national average cost for fencing made of wrought iron is $3,091, with an average range $1,318 to $4,882. The actual cost for an individual project will depend on many components and choices; as with other fences, the purpose, length, height, and style of a wrought-iron fence will all affect the cost, as will the coating and the difficulty of the installation. Is wrought-iron fencing a DIY project? Not really. Some bold homeowners may try by using preassembled panels and posts, but it’s difficult to do correctly without training or experience, and errors in installation can lead to instability or premature rusting, not to mention potential personal injury. Cost-conscious customers will want to look at other areas where they can save some money (such as the quality of the iron or the number of gates and openings) and plan to pay for professional installation so the fence is good and sound. When homeowners are seeking estimates from wrought-iron installers, bargaining is more effective when the different components of the project are clear, knowing the different fence options will make it easier to enjoy the outcome while having to follow a budget.
Factors in Calculating Wrought-Iron Fence Cost
Every fence type and cost is a little bit different. Wrought iron is available in a range of styles, types, and sizes, so assessing the purpose of the fence is the first step: Will it be a decorative wrought-iron fence? An enclosure focused on security? A fence to keep pets and children in, or deer and other critters out? The following choices will help homeowners understand the various costs of building a fence as well as other components and additions that can be considered later.
Fencing is measured in linear feet, or the distance the fence will cover in a straight line. Marking out the area to be enclosed with stakes and string or chalk will make it easier for a homeowner to assess how long the fence will need to be and can help them figure out how big an area they want to be fenced. Measuring each side of the staked area and adding the measurements together will determine the total linear footage of fencing necessary. Generally, wrought iron fencing cost runs between $25 and $35 per linear foot. The following table lists the cost range for a variety of fence lengths.
|Fence Length||Cost Range (Per Linear Foot)|
|30 feet||$720 to $1,020|
|70 feet||$1,680 to $2,380|
|102 feet||$2,400 to $3,500|
|135 feet||$3,200 to $4,600|
Once the customer has decided how long the fence should be, they’ll need to decide on height. Security fences are usually composed of 8-foot fence panels, while decorative garden fences may be only 3 feet tall. Privacy fence cost typically falls in the middle. The height differences explain the wide range of costs per linear foot: A 3-foot-high panel of wrought-iron fence will likely cost close to $25 per linear foot, while a taller fence will cost closer to $35 per linear foot.
Another component that decides how expensive a fence will be is the gauge, or thickness, of the bars. The standard bar thickness for a wrought-iron fence is 12 millimeters. However, wrought iron is extremely customizable, so the customer can get the look and the degree of security they desire. Bars can be made narrower or wider, thicker or thinner. Heavier bars are more difficult to work with and require more material, so thicker or custom gauge will add to the cost.
As is true with most construction materials, there are different grades, or qualities, of iron. Base-level quality is priced at the lower end of the cost range, while mid- and high-grade iron are at the top. What’s the difference? In terms of initial appearance, very little. The biggest difference is in durability. Higher-grade iron will require less maintenance, take longer to rust, and hold up better under difficult weather conditions, while lower-grade iron will require more frequent sealing or painting and will fail sooner. Those looking to save a little money and don’t anticipate staying in their home long enough to enjoy the longer lifespan of a high-grade iron fence might choose a lower quality to cut down costs in exchange for a little more maintenance and a shorter fence life.
Fence installation labor isn’t as straightforward as it is for some jobs. First, there’s the matter of the regional hourly cost of labor, which can be haggled a bit with a contractor but is generally fairly fixed. Where the home is located will be the deciding factor. However, other considerations such as the ease of access to the site will also affect the cost: Can the contractors use motorized vehicles to move the heavy iron fence pieces to the area where they’ll be installed, or will the pieces have to be carried by hand? Hand-carrying will take more effort and more time, so the labor will cost more if that’s the case. The terrain will also affect the labor cost; if significant regrading is necessary, the cost will increase to cover that work. The number of gates to be installed will increase labor prices as well. Finally, the length of the fence will directly impact the installation time, so labor costs will be higher for a longer fence than for a shorter fence.
In general, labor for fence installation runs between $1,000 and $4,500 or between $30 and $80 per hour. A fence that stretches between 150 and 200 feet will take 20 to 35 hours to install on average.
The cost of labor can vary depending on the home’s geographic location. Labor prices tend to be higher in more populated areas, such as large cities, and lower in rural areas with smaller populations. The following table lists the average cost ranges in a handful of states.
|Colorado||$1,000 to $4,000|
|Nebraska, Maine||$1,000 to $4,500|
|Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina||$1,300 to $4,500|
|Arizona||$1,400 to $3,500|
|California||$1,500 to $4,500|
Fence installers love a flat yard with easy, wide access to all parts of the yard. That’s because iron is heavy, and the ability to move panels and gates easily from place to place with a trailer makes their job much easier-—and thus less expensive. Similarly, flat terrain makes installation very straightforward, and thus faster and less expensive. Hills and dips in the fence line require the installers to build step-ups and step-downs to accommodate the slope and to decide if the top line of the fence will be level or follow that slope. This requires time, calculation, and in the case of iron fencing, custom fabrication. These will add cost to the project.
Land Survey and Permit Costs
If the new fence is replacing an older fence that was permitted and surveyed and those records are still available, it’s possible to avoid paying the $330 to $670 that a land survey will cost. If a survey has not been conducted recently, it is an important first step before materials are purchased or contracts are signed. Often there is a temptation to skip this step and just wing it, but it’s critical to have the survey done. Each town and city has its own regulations in place that guide how high a fence can be and how close it can be to the property line. Skipping a survey may save a few hundred dollars, but if the fence is installed too close to the property line and a neighbor files a complaint, the homeowner will be liable for the cost to remove the fence they’ve just paid to install as well as the cost to have it reinstalled. It’s simply not worth the risk to save the cost of the survey.
In addition to the survey, most cities and towns require that property owners purchase a permit for fence installation. The permits usually cost between $20 and $400 and require that the owner file plans for the fence, then have it inspected after the installation is complete.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Once the basics of the fence are selected and budgeted—the size of the fence, quality of the materials, labor costs, and permits—there are some other factors to consider when homeowners are planning the project. Some of these won’t apply to every situation, but when they do apply, they can significantly affect the cost of the fence.
Wrought Iron vs. Cast Iron
Not all ironwork is alike. Cast iron is poured into molds (casts) while it is red-hot, then cools and hardens into hollow-rod iron fences. It makes a good, solid fence and it looks nice, though there is no option for custom work because it is mass-produced. It can also be brittle, because it is so hard that it has a tendency to fracture. Cast-iron fences cost an average of $2,500 to $4,000. Wrought iron, in contrast, is softer and more workable; it is heated and then bent to shape it into unique and decorative shapes by craftsmen. While it is strong and solid, its flexibility makes it more durable. Some wrought iron is produced in stock shapes and patterns, but custom work is always available. It’s a bit more expensive because of the craftsmanship involved and the longevity of the product.
Land Grading and Landscaping
If the area to be fenced includes a significant slope, the fence will likely need to be shaped with step-ups and step-downs to accommodate the contour of the land. If, however, the fence line includes smaller hills and dips, it makes more sense financially and aesthetically to have the land graded to level. The cost for this service will vary depending on the amount of work to be done and the amount of fill needed. Other landscaping costs can involve the removal of trees, stumps, shrubs, or rocks along the planned fence line. A homeowner can assess the area where the fence is to be installed and consult a landscaping company to find out how much the necessary work will cost.
Old Fence Removal
If there is an existing fence in the area where the new fence is to be installed, it has to be completely removed. This can be a DIY job if the fence is wood or vinyl, but stone fences and iron fences aren’t easily removed and may require specialized equipment as well as the skills of experienced contractors. Also, if fence posts have been anchored into the ground with concrete, additional digging equipment or jackhammers may be required. In general, professionals can remove old fencing at a cost of $3 to $5 per linear foot.
For a fence to be effective, it needs to enclose the desired area, but the home’s residents need to be able to get in and out of the area, too—and while most people think to include a gate in a front-yard fence, rear enclosures need access points, too, and a gate can be a surprise addition to the backyard fence cost. Especially if security is a concern, gates need to be installed in one or more locations to provide access in a way that can also be secured. Gates are set in between two level posts, and vary widely in price: A prefabricated walk-through gate can cost as little as $300 installed, while a large, custom drive-through gate to enclose a driveway can cost $9,000 or more. Custom work on the gates, such as decorative elements or security features, can add to the cost as well.
Customizations and Finishing
Since wrought iron is fabricated by craftsmen, chances are that a homeowner’s dream fence can become a reality. Whether it’s a personalized monogram, a whimsical combination of twists and floral accents, or a variation from the standard perpendicular fence in the form of an undulating shape that wanders through the gardens, a craftsman can bring the vision to life. The cost can be significant, but if the fence creates a finishing touch that makes a home truly unique, it may be worth it.
Railings that coordinate with a fence that encloses the yard can add safety to any steps and security for decks. Railings can be purchased in stock designs or prefabricated units, or they can be customized to match the fence.
A variety of finishes can also be applied to wrought iron. A galvanized finish offers protection and reduces maintenance, but if the look of galvanized iron doesn’t fit with the rest of the design, there are other coatings and water repellents that can be applied for an extra cost.
Wrought-iron fencing looks classic and stately when paired with brick pillars, stone walls, and other masonry. Masonry work is a specialized field that will likely require a contractor other than the wrought-iron fence installers; this will come at an extra cost. Those costs will depend on the complexity of the masonry work and the material costs based on individual plans. Adding a brick column can cost anywhere from $434 to $1,258.
Types of Wrought-Iron Fences
Wrought iron comes in several different variations, and the customizations that are available can change the whole look of the fence even though it’s all the same material. The following table offers a glance at the per-linear-foot cost of each type of wrought-iron fence.
|Fence Type||Cost Range (Per Linear Foot)|
|Plain||$24 to $30|
|Galvanized||$28 to $32|
|Ornamental||$27 to $34|
A plain, uncoated black wrought-iron fence is classic. It usually has a matte finish and blends beautifully with the natural surroundings; the plain finish lets the artisan aspect of the wrought iron take center stage. Plain, uncoated fencing can be prone to rust, though; to protect the strength and beauty of the wrought-iron fence panels, homeowners are advised to maintain the fence meticulously so that rust spots are identified and repaired promptly. Protective coatings can be added after the fencing is installed if desired. This type of fencing costs $24 to $30 per linear foot. Plain wrought iron can also be green, white, bronze, or other colors, which will bump the fencing price per foot to the higher end of the range.
Galvanizing metal, or dipping it into a zinc bath to seal the iron and make it resistant to rust, adds about $2 to $4 per linear foot to the cost of a panel. This additional upfront cost pays off in lower maintenance costs and an increased lifespan for the fence: The zinc coating means that less vigilance is needed, because rust is less likely to form, and so there’s less need for costly repairs and replacements down the road.
While some customers prefer a simple linear pattern for their wrought-iron fence, others choose the material specifically for the attractive look of twists, curls, curves, and bends in the metal that can make a fence look custom-made (even when it’s not). Ornamental wrought-iron fences cost between $27 and $34 per linear foot. Options can include finials and toppers, gate hardware, and panel ornaments that are custom or stock. These can add to the personality of the fence and the home.
Benefits of a Wrought-Iron Fence
Wrought-iron fencing is more expensive than most other types of fencing, but it provides a number of benefits that other fences can’t match.
Well-maintained wrought-iron fences can last for decades—some experts say 50 years, while others say a lifetime. When the metal is treated and when rust spots are immediately addressed, wrought iron maintains its smooth finish for its lifespan and retains its strength. Other types of fencing require replacement much sooner and do not age as well.
Privacy and Security
Tall wrought-iron fences are structurally strong and difficult to climb while still remaining attractive; other security fences may be as strong but nowhere near as decorative, or decorative but easily breached. Adding a wrought-iron gate and fence will add security that’s still attractive: wrought-iron privacy fences create privacy without creating a solid wall around the property. Placing the posts close together creates a sense of privacy without completely blocking off the view.
Ease of Installation and Maintenance
Professional contractors can install this type of fencing fairly quickly once the terrain is prepared and the materials are acquired. The real star quality of wrought iron is the very low maintenance requirement: There’s no painting, sanding, patching, or power washing necessary. Unless the owner is interested in changing the color by painting, there’s really not much to do other than rinse the fence well to clean it and periodically check carefully for rust.
Because custom fabrication is available with wrought iron, the sky’s the limit for personalized options. Coordinating railings, finials, decorative elements, scrolls, and shapes can create a fence unlike any other. Elements such as brick pillars, stone components, and railings can add to the uniqueness. Coatings and colors are options as well.
Wrought-iron fences won’t need to be replaced anytime soon, so they won’t be filling up landfills—especially since wrought iron can be recycled when the fence is replaced or damaged.
Increased Home Value
Whatever the homeowner’s preferred style is, wrought-iron fencing is beautiful. It can be twisted and turned or left simple and spare, so it can be worked in such a way that it’s timeless and elegant regardless of the specific style of the home. The classic look will frame a home with clean lines and increase the curb appeal, pulling in buyers who are delighted to find a home with a solid, long-lasting, low-maintenance fence already in place. The degree to which this kind of fence affects the market value of the property varies, but the perceived value, or the buyers’ perception of how finished, stylized, and composed the home is, rockets upward with the installation of wrought-iron fencing.
Wrought-Iron Fence Installation: DIY vs. Hiring a Professional
Quite simply, wrought-iron fences aren’t really a DIY job. The materials are heavy, the installation is complex, and it has to be done exactly right: If a wooden fence panel falls over, it might dent a car or cause some bruising if it topples onto a person, but if a wrought-iron fence panel falls over, property can be badly damaged, and the weight could seriously injure a person or a pet. The equipment necessary to handle the material during installation is also specialized, and the average homeowner is not apt to have it on hand.
Homeowners can save a bit on the cost of a fence if they install it themselves, but the costs down the road—repairs, maintenance, corrections, and potential damage—will offset that savings, and so it’s really better to choose one of the best fence companies or a local contractor with experience to take care of the installation. The process will go more smoothly and much faster, and the result will look fantastic.
How to Save Money on Wrought-Iron Fence Cost
Wrought-iron fencing is expensive, so looking for ways to save is definitely worthwhile. It will never be as inexpensive as vinyl, wood, or chain link fence costs, but there are plenty of ways to make the total fence installation cost a little less.
- Take on some of the work yourself. If possible, remove any existing fencing before the new fencing is installed, along with shrubbery or plantings that are in the way.
- Opt for cheaper materials. Choose less-expensive material, such as plain wrought iron or unfinished metal. You’ll have to take more care with maintenance, but the cost will be reduced.
- Reduce the area of the fence. Choose a lower-height fence, or reduce the footprint of the fenced area; this will lower the cost of the materials as well as the labor.
- Pull permits yourself. Stand in line at the permit office and pull the necessary permits yourself rather than paying a contractor to do it.
- Pair up with neighbors. Talk to the neighbors and ask if anyone else is considering a fence installation or is interested in a survey of their property. Sometimes companies or surveyors will offer a reduced charge if several neighbors all request the same service.
- Install in the off-season. Have the fence installed during the least busy time of year. Spring and fall are prime fence installation times, and summer is just behind. If you live in an area where the ground freezes over in the winter, installation in the winter may not be possible, but you might get a small discount in the summer when everyone is away on vacation.
Questions to Ask About Wrought-Iron Fence Installation
Fencing contractors and installers know their business well, and wrought-iron installers are even more specialized. There may not be many contractor options to choose from, depending on where the job is taking place, but that doesn’t mean a homeowner will want to hire the first one in a web search. Asking the following questions before hiring someone will ensure the project goes smoothly and stays on budget.
- Are you licensed, insured, and bonded, and are all of the workers who might take part in this job?
- How long have you been in business?
- How much experience do you have with wrought-iron fencing?
- Can I see photos of your work, and do you have customer references I can contact?
- Will you handle permitting, surveyance, and permission to dig, or is that my responsibility?
- How is payment handled?
- What challenges do you see on the property? What is your suggested solution?
- How will you protect my property while you’re working?
- How long will the installation take?
- Do you provide a warranty on your work? Is that in addition to or a replacement of any warranty on the building materials?
- How do I maintain my new fence?
There are many decisions to make when selecting fencing for a yard or garden—type, style, height, material—and when it comes down to making a choice, the options can seem overwhelming. What follows are some of the most common questions about iron fencing and its cost to help homeowners get started in their search for the right fence for their yard.
Q. Is a wrought-iron fence cheaper than a wood fence?
In terms of initial cost, wood fencing is less expensive than wrought iron; the materials for a wood fence are less costly, and wood fences are less expensive to install, especially if the homeowner chooses to do the installation themselves. On the other hand, wood fences require far more maintenance than wrought iron—annual cleaning, resealing or painting, and upkeep and replacement of posts. Even well-maintained fences will rot and require replacement far sooner than a wood fence will, so while the cost of an iron fence is higher at the time of installation, the overall cost of owning and maintaining it isn’t significantly different from a wood fence.
Q. How long does a wrought-iron fence last?
With proper care and minor maintenance, a wrought-iron fence will last decades, averaging around 50 years. The timeframe changes based on weather, use, care, and other factors, but in general an iron fence will outlast the ownership of a home.
Q. What should I consider when installing an iron fence?
This type of fencing comes in a wide variety of styles, thicknesses, and installations; homeowners will need to consider the spacing of the posts and the height of the fence, in addition to the finish. One of the biggest considerations, however, must be the challenge of wrought-iron fence installation. Uneven ground, rocky or dense soil, and existing masonry all add to the already-challenging installation process, so if the yard includes these challenges it will be important for the homeowner to include the costs of grading, excavation, and additional concrete work into the budget.
Q. Does a wrought-iron fence add value to a house?
A well-kept wrought-iron fence will add to a home’s curb appeal, which increases the potential sales price. How much value is added will depend on the culture of the neighborhood: Is the home located in an area where fenced yards are desirable? In that case, a wrought-iron fence can add significant value, as its attractive presentation, low maintenance needs, and longevity will immediately set the home a notch above homes with other types of fencing or no fences at all. In an area where fences aren’t as common, the increase in value may depend on the individual buyers’ preferences.The security, privacy, and attractiveness of a wrought-iron fence will certainly add value for the current residents of a home, regardless of the market value increase.
Q. How tall should a wrought-iron fence be?
The answer to this question depends at least partly on the purpose of the fence. There are numerous garden fence ideas that are installed for aesthetic reasons and only measure 3 feet tall, serving as a background for garden plantings or a border lining a walkway to guide guests to a seating area. Fences that are installed for privacy, on the other hand, should be closer to 8 feet in order to keep uninvited guests out. When the intention is to keep wildlife out and pets in, a fence of at least 5 feet is usually necessary, but depending on the wildlife and pets in question a taller option may be preferable. Regardless of the purpose of the fence, it’s key for homeowners to check local ordinances and zoning rules to see if the town or city has limits on the height and placement of residential fences prior to starting construction.
Q. How do I take care of a wrought-iron fence?
Wrought iron is pretty low maintenance, overall, but water and rust are its worst enemies. Therefore it’s important for homeowners to protect the iron from scratches through the coating as much as possible. Clearing away vines and prickly plants promptly will reduce the likelihood of scratches, and adding a protective water repellent spray or a coat of car wax will help keep water out of tiny scratches. Keeping the fence clean and tending to rust patches promptly with a wire brush or sandpaper will preserve the finish and keep any rust from spreading, and using wax or touch-up paint on repaired rust spots will help as well. Checking the hardware to make sure the installation remains tight and firm (and repairing where it isn’t) will prevent water from entering joints, and will preserve the structural soundness of the fence. Unless the owner is looking for a decor change, the paint work on wrought iron will last between 12 and 18 years—but when the paint starts to peel or chip, it’s time to refinish.
Sources: Angi, HomeAdvisor, LawnStarter, Thumbtack