Putting up a cedar split rail fence is a relatively inexpensive compared to other wood fencing styles. This is because less timber is required to build the fence.

You will pay between $12 and $20 per linear foot to install a cedar split rail fence. However, these costs usually vary depending on various factors such as property size, fence height, quality of cedar, location, and the number of gates.

When compared to other types of wood, cedar is also considered to be one of the cheapest fencing alternatives alongside other wood types like redwood and cypress.

Cost Factors of Cedar Split Rail Fences

Cedar Split Rail Fence Gate Cost

Cedar split rail fence gates are relatively cheaper than those of other types of fences. This is because they do not consume a lot of material in construction. On average, one should expect to pay about $250 per gate.

This could however vary depending on the number and size of the gates as well as the type of material used in their construction. Walk-through gates are smaller and easier to put up and are usually much cheaper than their larger drive-through counterparts.

Cedar Split Rail Fence Size

The size of a cedar split rail fence is usually determined by the length and number of its rails as well as the height and number of its posts.


Most people prefer 2- and 3- rail cedar split rail fences, even though their 4-rail counterparts are also available.

The wooden rails on such fences are usually either 8 or 11 feet long each. Choosing wider rails will certainly cost around 20% to 30% more than settling on narrower ones.


Cedar split rail fence posts usually differ depending on whether they will be used for 2-, 3- or 4-rail fences. 2-rail fence posts are about 36 inches tall whereas their 3- and 4-rail counterparts measure 48 inches and 60 inches in height respectively.

Cedar split rail fence posts are also categorized based on their position on the fence. Line posts make up most of the fence since they are located between either end or corner posts. They have holes on either side to effectively support the rails passing through them.

Corner posts are meant to enable the fence to form a right angle and therefore have holes drilled at 90 degrees on the adjoining sides. End posts only have holes on one side. Gates are mostly constructed between two end posts. The price of a single post can range between $23 and $50 depending on the number of rails it will support and its position on the fence.

Cedar Split Rail Fence Wire Mesh

Attaching a wire mesh on your cedar split rail fence is sometimes necessary particularly in cases where you do not want your children and pets to go beyond the set boundaries. A wire mesh is also quite effective in keeping out unwanted animals like coyotes and mongooses.

Expect to pay an extra $1-$8 to purchase and install a wire mesh on your cedar split rail fence with the help of a professional.

Cedar Split Rail Fence Cost Location

The location of a cedar split rail fence will certainly affect its labor installation costs to a great degree. Installing a cedar split rail fence on a hilly terrain for example, is likely to take more time and effort than putting it up in a flat area.

In most cases, experts usually demand more money for the extra time spent in installing such a fence. This is especially common in places where labor is charged per hour rather than per linear foot.

Locations also differ from each other in terms of running costs like taxes and availability of materials. A cedar split rail fence will thus cost more to install in areas where cedar is not common. This is because the demand for cedar is higher in such areas than its supply.

Additional Cedar Split Rail Fencing Services

There are some additional services that normally accompany cedar split rail fencing depending on their necessity in the installation process and the clients’ preferences.

It is therefore important to determine whether your fencing expert offers these services or if you need to get another professional for the same. You should expect to incur almost the same amount of additional expense for both options. Such services include:

Tearing Down Old Fences

Tearing down and disposing of an old fence is usually necessary especially if it is positioned in the same place where you want to install your new cedar split rail fence.

If you choose to engage a professional, this may cost you an average of $4 per linear foot depending on the size, accessibility and material of the fence.

Brush Clearing and Tree Removal

Brush clearing in this case, is the process of removing any vegetation that presents a barrier for the installation of your new cedar split rail fence. Tree removal on the other hand means completely cutting down and hauling a tree from the crown to the stump.

It is advisable to engage experts in this processes particularly when you cannot do it on your own due to factors such as complex root systems and excessive plant cover.

Depending on the size of the trees in question one should expect to pay between $325 and $7900 per tree. One can also expect to pay between $20 and $200 per acre for professional brush clearing.

Land Grading

Although a cedar split rail fence is quite flexible when it comes to following the terrain of the land, its installation can be hampered by landscapes that are either too steep or extremely uneven.

In such cases, engaging a land grading expert to level your premises may be the best option. This may cost you between $700 and $1700 depending on the time and equipment that will be used for the job.

Staining and Sealing

Although cedar is naturally resistant to environmental elements such as rot, moisture, pests and warping, it should be frequently refinished through staining and sealing.

This can extend its lifespan for up to 15 to 30 years. One should expect to pay between $500 and $3000 depending on the size of the fence and the quality of stain.

Benefits of Cedar Split Fencing

A cedar split rail fence has numerous benefits especially for large properties located in rural areas. These benefits include:

Its Rustic Appearance

The natural appearance of a cedar split rail fence will most certainly blend into your landscape without causing much disruption. This makes it a great way to effectively define your boundaries without interfering with the beauty of your scenery.

It is Affordable

A cedar split rail fence is extremely affordable especially on large areas. This is because cedar is one of the cheapest fencing materials available. It is also quite economical since it does not require posts to be placed too close to each other which would increase the cost of materials.

It is Durable

The ability of cedar to withstand harsh weather elements such as snow, extreme heat and rain makes it a better fencing alternative to other types of wood like oak and pine.

Cedar is also naturally resistant to insect damage and decay. A cedar split rail fence can therefore last for up to 30 years.

It is Safe

Although barbed wire is the cheapest fencing alternative for large areas, cedar is often preferred since it is safer than barbed wire. With a cedar split rail fence, you do not have to worry about potential injuries to your children, pets and domestic animals.

It is Flexible

A cedar split rail fence can be applied in a variety of ways depending on the clients’ needs and the type of property in question. Whether 2-, 3-, or 4-rail, one can choose to either stain it or retain its natural look.

It can also be fortified with wire mesh when looking to keep external dangers such as pests and varmints away from your property. Some people even combine it with limestone and brick columns for a better visual appeal.

Benefits of a Cedar Split Rail Fence

Cedar Split Rail Fence Vs Vinyl Fence

Cedar and vinyl are two of the most common materials as far as fencing is concerned. So which one is better?


Cedar is certainly a cheaper fencing alternative than vinyl. Vinyl fencing materials cost about $22 to $55 per linear foot including installation. This is rather costly when compared to cedar split rail fencing materials which cost between. $20 and $32 per linear foot plus installation.

Vinyl fences are also more expensive to repair when compared to their cedar counterparts. It costs about $20 per linear foot to repair a cedar split rail fence whereas one must pay $30 per linear foot on average to repair a vinyl fence.


Although both vinyl and cedar are low-maintenance fencing materials, vinyl is better in this regard.

This is because vinyl fences only require periodic hose pipe rinsing to remove any mildew or dirt that may have built up. Where there is mildew, it should be removed as soon as possible to prevent staining.

Cedar split rail fences also require regular cleaning using either a power washer or a garden hose. This should be done when looking to remove any dust, dirt or debris that may have gathered on them over time.

This prevents any rotting and pest infestation on such fences. Trimming any grass or shrubs that may have grown around the posts and rails also helps in preventing any damage from pests. Staining and sealing can also be done to ensure maximum protection.


Vinyl fences are known to last for 30 years and above. They are thus more long-lasting than their cedar counterparts which only last for an average of 15 years.

This is because they can withstand extreme climatic conditions such as snow, heavy rains, strong winds and extreme sunlight for a longer time than cedar split rail fences. They are also quite resistant to pests, rot and mold infestations which adds to their durability.

DIY vs Professional Cost


Installing a cedar split rail fence on your own is a rather simple and cost-effective process. This is because it does not require extra materials such as concrete and fasteners which are used on other kinds of fences to provide stability.

Equipment needed

Since installing a cedar split rail fence barely requires any specialized equipment, most people usually already have the needed tools. This makes the project rather affordable since in most cases, there is normally no need to buy new tools.

However, it can cost about $220 to buy new tools for a person doing a DIY fencing project for the first time. Such tools include work gloves, a post level, safety glasses, a mason’s twine, a tape measure, a hand saw, a shovel, a post hole digger and fence stakes.

Cost of Materials

Apart from the tools, essential materials such as posts, rails, a gate, gravel and, paint or stain are also needed when installing a cedar split rail fence. This could cost a total of around $1300 for a 150-foot long two rail fence with a height of 4 feet.

Professional Installation

Hiring a professional to install your cedar split rail fence could cost up to double the amount needed to put it up yourself. It can however help you avoid any costly mistakes that could be detrimental in the long-term.

It is therefore advisable to engage the experts to help you in property assessment, planning and calculation of materials even if you choose to install the fence by yourself.

https://homegardenguides.com/fencing/ is a great tool that quickly matches you with the best fencing specialists in your locality. You can get three estimates from local fencing professionals in a matter of two minutes. Kindly follow the steps below to enjoy this great service:

  1. Scroll to the top of the page and enter your zip code
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Yellow Pine and Western Red Cedar are considered to be the best wood species when it comes to split rail fence construction. This is because they can be able to withstand highly moist conditions for a long time without rotting.

This makes them quite durable and low-maintenance when compared to other wood species such as Oak and Spruce.

No, they do not. When erecting Cedar rail posts, it is advisable to fill the holes using only the dirt that was removed in digging. This dirt should be put back into the holes in a fixed manner that allows for proper stability and water resistance of the posts.

Although concrete can be used to provide extra support for the gate posts, it should not be applied on wood. This is because it contains water permeable gravel in its makeup that can cause the wood to rot and erode due to excessive moisture build-up.

Each cedar post in a rail fence should be at least 24 inches below the ground and about 12 inches from the earth to the first rail.

Yes, you can. A Cedar split rail fence has an extremely simple design that makes it quite user-friendly even for those engaging in DIY projects for the first time.

No, it is not. Wire fencing which costs an average of $2 per foot is widely considered to be the cheapest fencing alternative.

Cedar split rail fencing is however quite affordable and often costs between $8 and $16 per foot. These costs largely depend on the quality of Cedar being used, the length of the rails and whether it is a DIY or professional project.

Well-installed and properly maintained Cedar split rail fences should last for at least 15-30 years.

Common wood types used in a split rail fence the garden


Installing a cedar split rail fence is a great and cheap way to add personality and beauty to your landscape. It is especially suitable for those who want it for its rustic appearance rather than its security.

Expect to pay an average of $3200 for both the materials and labor required to put up a cedar split rail fence up for a perimeter of about 200 linear feet. You can also choose to put it up yourself to reduce costs. However, this is not practical for large projects like animal ranches.

Benjamin McInerny
Author: Benjamin McInerny - is a qualified arborist with 20 years of industry experience. Ben has a wide knowledge of renovation and DIY projects around the house such as lawns, fencing and painting. Ben shares his skills with DIY and gardening enthusiasts.