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How long does it take for a fence installation? It’s one of the most asked questions when consumers start the fence shopping experience.

The timing between scheduling a fence quote and the final completion day will vary greatly. Two key factors are the time of year the fence in purchased and the availiblilty of fencing materials.

Contractors backlog, permit requirements and the type of fence purchased also effect timing.

So in this article, we’ll discuss all aspects of the fence installation process and how they effect the timing of the installation.

Scheduling a Quote for Fence Installation

The first step is scheduling an appointment for fence quote or estimate. The time of year and how large the fence company is you call will determine the wait time for the quote.

As one may expect, summer months are busier than winter months. Therefore, it may take a week or longer to have a sales representative come out for the quote.

Fence companies with dedicated sales teams are usually quicker to respond. Sometimes only taking a day or two. Smaller companies where one person wears the hat of many may take longer.

Scheduling multiple estimates will help you find the best value. However, it also takes time. I recommend scheduling at least 3 fence quotes before choosing a company for your fence installation.

Signing the Contract and Paying Deposit

signing contract
Fence Installation Proposal – Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

To get the ball rolling, your fence contractor will need a signed copy of the estimate and a deposit. Deposits, range between 1/3 to 1/2 of the total cost of the fence.

Scanning and emailing your signed contract works for most fence companies. With the deposit taken over the phone using a credit card. This expedites timing. As a result of not loosing time lost in the mail.

However, there are many fence companies that do not take credit cards. Therefore, sending a check deposit or delivering the deposit in person is the only way.

Permits for Fence Installation

The permit process begins after receiving the signed contract and deposit. Some are easy to apply for. Requiring a simple drawing and application.

Some permits are very difficult to obtain. Requiring to scale drawings, photos, HOA approvals and architectural review board meetings.

Your fence contractor will know the rules and regulations regarding fence installation for your project.

Almost every new fence will require a fence permit. However, sometimes a permit is not required when replacing a fence with a new one of the same materials.

Most fence permits only take a few days to process. However, some cities take much longer depending on work load and available staff.

Fence Installation Review Board Meetings

If your fence requires a review board meeting, be patient. Review boards set their own schedules. Many times only meeting once a month.

Furthermore, they require submitting the application and plans before a cutoff date. This means that depending when you signed your contract and sent in the deposit, it could take 6 weeks or more to get on the review board agenda.

If a fence doesn’t meet the board requirements, the permit process gets tabled. Possibly until the next meeting 4 weeks later. Allowing changes to the applications.

Fence Installation HOA Approvals

Home owners association approvals are easier to obtain. Normally these are the homeowners responsibility. However, your fence contractor should be willing to help you.

Supplying you with any drawings or photos you may need of the fence. Most cities require HOA approvals before issuing a permit.

Many HOA’s have stricter guidelines than cities. As a result, the city does not issue permits for fence installation until a HOA approval letter is provided.

After submitting the correct paperwork, HOA approvals only take a few days to acquire.

Work Backlog and Time of Year

Your fence contractor should have a good idea of how backlogged they are. The time of year the fence installation is comes into play.

In northern climates, contractors are busier in the summer months. More so than winter. In the south, seasonal timing may not be a factor.

This summer I had a backlog of 10 weeks. And this was with six, 3 man crews running. However, in the winter months, I only had a 2 week backlog.

Your fence contractor should have a good estimate of backlog timing when providing you with the quote.

Fence Installation Time Line

The type of fence you choose to purchase effects how long the fence installation will take. Most installations take two days to install. However, some only take one.

Your contractor will have a chosen method for fence installation for each style of fence. Installation methods also vary depending on region.

Here in the Midwest, we concrete every type of fence post into the ground except for split rail fence. As a result, the concrete takes time to dry before constructing the rest of the fence.

In some regions, contractors drive fence posts into the ground. Allowing the contractor to complete the fence installation in one day.

Below we’ll review some common installation practices for various types of fences. Be sure to consult your fence contractor on their chosen methods.

One Day Fence Installations

Set screw attaches panels to post.
A Self Tapping Screw Secures an Aluminum Fence Panel to Post

Some types of fences only take one day to install. Of course the total footage is a factor. The skill level and experience of your fence crew is also a factor.

Split Rail Fence – Most split rail fence installations only take a day. Posts are installed in dirt. Using tamped spoils from the hole to hold them in place.

As a result, the contractor can assemble the rails and move onto the next post quickly. Repeating until completed.

Vinyl Picket Fence – Some vinyl picket fences only take one day for fence installation. Most vinyl picket fence posts have concrete. However, the sections are very light.

Therefore, the weight of the fence does not cause the fence posts to move out of plumb. Furthermore, the open design allows wind to pass through without causing wet posts to lean.

Ornamental Aluminum Fence – Many ornamental aluminum fences have routed posts. Allowing the rails from the section to insert into them. Therefore, a two day installation will not work.

Just like vinyl, ornamental aluminum is very light in weight. It also allows for wind to pass through easily. Therefore, allowing for one day aluminum fence installation. Sometimes a second trip is required to hang gates.

Two Day Fence Installations

nail gun nailing wood shadow box fence pickets
Building a Stick Built Shadow Box Fence One Picket at a Time

Chain Link Fence – Most chain link fence installation takes two days. One day to set the posts and a second day to stretch the fence. Usually with a week in-between the two days to allow the concrete to dry.

However, your fence contractor may come back the next day to stretch the fence depending on their method of installation and type of concrete used.

Wood Fence – Most wood fence takes two days to install. The first day is for installing the post. On the second day, the rest of the fence is constructed.

Just like chain link fence, usually there is a week in-between the two days. Allowing time for the concrete to harden. This also gives time for the contractor to build the gates.

Vinyl Privacy Fence – As discussed above, some vinyl fence only takes one day to install. However, vinyl privacy fences are like giant sales in windy areas.

Therefore, it is not good to install privacy sections on the same day as the posts. Even though vinyl posts have concrete, usually it is hard enough to assemble the fence a day or two after setting.

This short dry time allows the contractor to assemble the sections without fear of the posts coming out of plumb as a result of the wind.

Outside Factors Effecting Fence Installation

So even when you schedule your estimates efficiently, quickly make a decision, get the permit fast and get on the schedule, outside factors still delay your fence installation.

It’s good to know what these factors are ahead of time. Therefore, preventing unexpected surprises in the future.

Hopefully, you won’t experience delays with your fence installation. However, if you do, it will probably be because of one of the following reasons.

Availability of Materials

Depending on your fence contractor, they may or may not stock materials. For those that do, a lack of materials should not come into play.

However, for contractors that order materials on a per job basis, the lead times of the material manufacture will effect availability. In the peak of the summer, expect long lead times and delays. In the off season, times are shorter.

If your contractor times things right, ordered materials will arrive by the time the fence permit is approved and backlog times are met.

For jobs with special materials, it is almost certain your contractor will not order materials until all permits are approved. As a result, delaying fence installation times.

Ground Condition

rocky ground for fence post holes
Aluminum Fence Installed in Rocky Ground

The condition of the ground where the holes are dug effects how quickly the posts get installed. In easy to dig ground, setting 50 posts in a day is achievable. In rocky or rooty ground, it could take an hour per hole.

An experienced fence contractor will know the ground conditions of the cities they work in regularly. Sometimes, certain neighborhoods within the same city will have harder digging conditions than other neighborhoods.

Even when hard digging is the factor effecting installation, it normally only effects the length of the fence installation by a day or two.

Weather

Weather is always a factor when doing outdoor constructing projects. Rain and snow effect fence installation the most. Extreme cold is also a factor.

Too much rain and your yard will get destroyed from all of the foot traffic. Not to mention the post holes filling with water when digging.

Even when the rain stops, it could take a day or two to dry out. Especially for yards in low lying areas.

Snow is another factor in Northern climates. Too much snow and the fence contractor cannot see the grade of the yard. This prevents them from setting fence posts. Not to mention pushing wheel barrows full of concrete through snow is very difficult .

Extreme cold conditions effect ground freezing. However, the ground temperature is warmer than the outside air temperature. As a result, it takes weeks of below freezing air temperatures before the ground actually freezes.

Holidays

Holidays are the last factor effecting fence installation. Luckily most holidays only last one day. Not really a delaying factor unless your fence installation falls around Christmas or New Years.

Your contractor is more likely to miss more time loosing employees for a few days during your states opening week of hunting season than to holidays.

That said, many times customers want their fence completed for specific events. Such as parties in conjunction with holidays and or graduation parties.

If you are one of these customers, plan ahead. Doing so will prevent unneeded stress. Furthermore, you fence contractor will thank you for it.

Conclusion

Plan ahead. Allow for longer lead times than needed. Discuss timing with your fence contractor. Be aware of the outside factors. Most importantly, be patient. Your fence contractor wants to complete your job in a reasonable timeframe.

Fence installation takes time. A super efficient fence contractor having materials in stock and permits that are easy to obtain, could have a fence installed within 3-4 weeks from the time the contract is signed.

However, when cities drag their feet on permit approvals, materials are hard to get and the contractor is backlogged, allow 2 – 3 months for your fence installation.

Last, sign up for my free guide when starting the fence buying process. Doing so will save both you and your contractor time. Allowing for a faster turnaround time for your new fence.

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