Wood Fence Calculator by Hoover Fence Co.
(Prices for illustration only. Lumber is a commodity product and prices can vary daily.)

Instructions & Purpose

Fence Height:
Maximum Post Spacing:
Picket Width:
Space Between Pickets:
Number Of Horizontal Rails:
Enter Each Line Of Fence:


Quantity Of End Posts:
Quantity Of Corner Posts:
Quantity Of Free Standing Gate Posts:

Single Swing Gates: Quantity: Width:
Single Swing Gates: Quantity: Width:
Double Swing Gates: Quantity: Width:
Double Swing Gates: Quantity: Width:



Fence Height

Although you could build a wood fence any height you like, we limit it to standard heights here. Shave the few inches off each picket, if you choose to build a custom height.

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Instructions:

This form allows you to enter your fence measurements so our program can calculate quantities of posts, rails and pickets required to construct a wood fence from scratch.

You can change the default measurements as you like, but if you are not sure, leave them as they are. Use decimals where fractions are required. Fractions will be ignored otherwise. For a detailed explanation of each field, "click" on the title of the field. <-- Return



Maximum Post Spacing

Most wood fence is constructed with post spacing of 8' on centers. The reason is that most dimensional lumber is available in 8' or 16' lengths. Also spacing of more than 8' will likely result in sagging of the rails. You can space posts closer together if desired, but try to use a space that will result in minimum waste of lumber. If you choose 6' spacing for example, you can use 12' rails.

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Pickets

Pickets are the vertical members of a wood fence. Pickets can be installed tight to each other or with a space between them. Typically, pickets are 3 1/2" wide, 5 1/2" or as much as 11 1/2" wide, if you are going to use dimensional kiln-dried lumber. This includes most treated pine boards. We use CCA treated or red cedar boards. The red cedar that we use is a full 6" wide. You can custom cut your boards to any width you desire, but that will increase your work and potential waste. When ripping boards to custom widths, you will hit knots and other imperfections that will cause some waste. This calculator will provide you with the number of pickets based on their widths. You will have to figure how many boards you need to purchase to 'rip' your custom pickets.

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Space Between Pickets

For a solid fence enter 0" for the picket spacing. You can enter any space you choose in inches. Enter fractions as decimals. Example: .5"

Example Conversion Chart

1/4" .25
3/8" .375
1/2" .50
5/8" .625
3/4" .75
7/8" .875
1" 1.0

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Number of Rails

It is recommended that you use a minimum of 2 horizontal rails between posts for all fences less than 5' high, 3 rails for fences 5' to 7' high, and 4 rails for 8' high fences. Fences taller than 8' are outside the scope of this calculator due to structural considerations.

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Enter Each Line Of Fence:

A line of fence is defined as a continuous stretch of fence unbroken by corner posts, gates or other breaks in the fence line. Use feet and fractions of a foot expressed as a decimal. You could have a single line of fence of say 100 feet with a gate exactly in the center of that line. If the gate is to be 4' wide, that leaves 96' of fence, not counting the gate. The gate divides that 96' in half, so you would enter these figures: Stretch 1 is 48', stretch 2 is 48' and then enter the gate in the gate field. To enter that stretch of fence as 100' or even 96' in one field would be incorrect. The calculator would assume the gate goes on the end and could not compute the proper spacing of posts.

Curving Fence Lines: An oddity would be if you intended to curve your fence using the post spacing you have chosen to change the angle off a true straight line. Using this 'curving' technique, it is possible to create a complete circle eventually, whereby you do not technically have a corner post. In this case, since you will be using full post spacing, enter the entire curved line as one field entry. Calculating curves with post spacing less than the amount you enter as your post spacing choice, is outside the scope of this calculator, since the program will only use one post space entry for calculations.

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Single Swing Gate

A single swing gate is a gate that uses hinges and only has one leaf. Generally limit the widths to 8' and if you would like to avoid problems try to limit the widths to 5'. Widths greater than 8' are a structural nightmare that you don't want to deal with and are outside the scope of this calculator. Wide wooden gates are more prone to sagging problems and post sizes need to be enlarged. Other types of gates are outside the scope of this calculator.

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Double Swing Gates

A double swing gate is a gate that uses hinges and has two halves that each swing off their own gate post. Generally limit the widths to 16' and if you would like to avoid problems try to limit the widths to 10'. Widths greater than 16' are a structural nightmare that you don't want to deal with and are outside the scope of this calculator. Wide wooden gates are more prone to sagging problems and post sizes need to be enlarged. Other types of gates are outside the scope of this calculator.

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Quantity Of Corner Posts

A corner post is defined as the post needed when two lines of fence meet at an approximate angle of 90 degrees. The angle created by the two lines need not be 90 degrees exactly. The significant factor is that the intersection of the two lines terminate at a single post.

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Quantity Of End Posts

End posts are posts that are required to terminate a line of fence. Gate posts are end posts, if a section of fence is also attached to it. The gate is not considered as part of the line. It is a gate, not a section of fence.

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Quantity Of Free Standing Gate Posts

A free standing post is normally a gate post. It is "free standing" because it has no section of fence attached to it.

Avoid free standing gate posts that have a gate hinged to it. These posts tend to sag from the weight of the gate. Sometimes you have no choice because there may not be enough room to do anything else. It is better to place two end posts and a short section of fence. That way two posts support the heavy gate.

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