Barbed wire fences are made of galvanized steel wire and punctuated with evenly spaced sharp metal barbs. This type of wire fence was invented in the 1800’s primarily as a method of keeping wild animals off private lands or domesticated animals in or on people's lands. In addition to livestock fencing and farm fences, barbed wire fences are also used in industrial settings or as an affordable way to provide security for an area. The national average cost for a barbed wire fence is about $3,600, with an average range of about $1,500 to $5,800. Of course, there is a wide range because of how barbed wire fences are typically used. If you are enclosing a large range area, installing a new barbed wire fence could be over $10,000. On the other hand, if you are simply enclosing a small yard, your fence project could easily be less than $1,000 to install a barbed wire fence.
With the average total cost of barbed wire fences varying so widely, how can you get an accurate estimate for your project? Luckily, Ergeon has a fence calculator that you can use to get a reliable estimate for your custom fence. Our fence calculator lets you customize your type of fence according to style of fence, fence height, fence material, gate options and more! Once you have designed your fence, Ergeon’s fence calculator builds a high quality 3D model so that you get an accurate vision of what your fence will look like. Finally, the fence calculator will calculate the estimated cost per linear foot of your fence design.
The cost of barbed wire fencing is based on linear feet, as we discussed in the previous section. However, it is calculated a little differently than a wooden fence or a vinyl fence per linear foot. That’s because you will pay between $.0.04 and $0.15 per linear foot per strand you need for your fence. For example, if you have three strands of barbed wire you would multiply that number per linear foot by the number of strands. The cost per linear foot varies a bit by type of barbed wire, thickness, whether the strands are coated, and the quality you choose. We will go into more detail on these and other factors in the next section.
The number of strands you plan to have on your barbed wire fence is a major factor in the overall cost. That is because you will calculate the total cost in terms of linear feet and then multiply that by the number of strands. The typical barbed wire fence has between three and five strands total.
Barbed wire fencing is typically made from galvanized steel wire strands. That means it is coated with zinc to prevent rust and corrosion of the wire strands. There are different levels of zinc coatings, and you can opt for a stronger zinc coating if necessary. Another type of coating you can get on your barbed wire fencing is vinyl, or pvc, coating. This also helps to protect against rust and corrosion.
The wire thickness, referred to as the gauge or tensile strength of the barbed wire, determines how strong the fence will be. Contrary to what you would expect, a higher number of wire gauge is actually a thinner wire than low number gauges. The larger the number, the smaller the wire. The gauges range from 9 to 20 in most cases. The wire thickness you choose depends on the use you have in mind for the fence. If it needs to stand up to large animals, you will probably want a high tensile wire strand. If it is a security fence, then the tensile strength might not matter as much to you.
Like the gauge of the wire, or wire thickness, the number of fence posts and type of posts you need for your purposes will depend on what you plan to use the fence for. There are several options for post types: metal t posts, wood posts, or steel posts. T posts are the cheapest, usually costing between $7.50 and $13.50 per post, and can be used for line posts but not corner posts or end posts because they are not strong enough. Next are wooden posts which typically cost between $10 and $40 per post depending on the type of wood and size of the post. Finally, metal beams and pipes are the strongest and will cost you between $20 and $50 per post. These are recommended for fences that need to keep large animals inside.
For number of barbs, you will usually have the choice between a two barb or a four barb wire strand. Four strand wiring will cost about 10 to 20 percent more than two barb wire strands. The barbs are the sharp points of contact spaced four to five inches apart on the wire strands to keep out wild animals or trespassers.
The cost to build a barbed wire fence using professional installation is between $16 and $20 per hour, on top of the materials costs. So, by installing your new barbed wire fence by yourself as a DIY project you could save hundreds of dollars on the total fence installation cost. However, keep in mind that barbed wire is sharp and difficult to work with, so letting the professionals handle it might be a better idea than trying to put that up by yourself. Sometimes paying a little more on your fence prices could pay off by saving you stress and even injury!
The cheapest spot to install a barbed wire fence is a flat open area with nothing that needs to be dug out or moved out of the way. However, that is not always the case. When the terrain has obstacles or is sloped, that can add to the overall cost of the barbed wire fence installation. That is because it could take extra time to prepare the area for the new fence to be put up.
A cattle barbed wire fence costs on average between $1 and $6 per linear foot. It is usually between 50 and 54 inches tall and has between three and five strands.
If you need extra security on top of your cattle barbed wire fence, that is called a security barbed wire fence. It is put on top of the cattle fence using pole extensions and can add between three and six additional strands for extra protection. This usually costs between $0.50 to $0.70 per linear foot and is made of closely spaced razor wire installed at an angle to make sure it cannot be climbed over.
Razor wire will cost you between $0.50 and $1 per linear foot. Instead of the wire barbs on a normal barbed wire fence, razor wire is made of razor blades that can seriously injure animals, so it is not recommended for livestock use.
Homeowners or land owners can save a significant amount on the total cost by installing their barbed wire fence by themselves as a DIY project. The overall savings amount to 30-40 percent compared to having a barbed wire fence professionally installed. However, it requires at least two people and can be dangerous because of the sharp points, so this should be considered carefully.
Barbed wire fences should be tightened so that they provide the security and function the homeowner or land owner is looking for. To stretch a barbed wire fence, one end should be attached to a post and then the strand should be stretched out using a hand-operated winch to the proper tension. Over stretching can lead to breakage, and injury, so be sure not to over tighten.
You will need about half of a roll of barbed wire fence for 1 acre. A typical roll of barbed wire is 1,320 feet and that will cover 2 acres.
The most basic galvanized steel wiring for a barbed wire fence will have a lifespan of between 2 and 11 years. In a coastal environment that lifespan will be a bit shorter, as rust could set in earlier.
Barbed wire stands rust over time, and is not very durable in wet climates.