Chain Link Fencing – Easier Than You Think

Chain link fencing today come in a variety that will surprise anyone who hasn’t looked lately.

Traditional chain link fences are a familiar sight. Made of galvanized steel, the alloy is coated with powdered zinc. The zinc gives the material protection and its dusty aluminum-like look and the steel provides a sturdy barrier.

Even in the traditional style, chain link comes in a range of gauges, different thicknesses designed for varied applications. The lightest is usually 13 and heavier gauges run through 12, 11 and so on up to 6. Few homeowners will need the thickest gauge but some building a dog kennel fence may want to consider it. Most will find that anything between 9-11 gauge is fine.

Of course another popular option to chain link fences is adding an electric fence for dogs.

Chain Link Fences – Galvanization

The galvanizing may be done before or after the mesh is created, giving the two types their names: GBW (Galvanized Before Weaving) and GAW (Galvanized After Weaving). The latter tends to be a little less expensive, but the former has the advantage that potentially less steel is exposed to the elements, minimizing the odds of rusting. GAW also tends to increase the tensile strength of the fence, but for many applications the differences are minor.

Vinyl Chain Link Fence

More contemporary designs offer chain link fences in a range of colors. A polyvinyl chloride coating turns chain link into red, green, blue, yellow, brown, black or white. That allows the builder to integrate the fence a little better into the home or garden design without spray painting. It also acts as an additional barrier against rust.

There are three different methods of vinyl coating the fabric (as the mesh is called). The first, called extruded, wraps the wire in a vinyl jacket. The second is known as extruded bonded and actually adheres to the core. Thermally fused vinyl coating is generally only needed for commercial applications, though home use is possible.

Over time nicks in the vinyl will introduce some degradation in the appearance as the fence is subjected to accidental scrapes with a garden hoe, bicycles, dog claws and others. A little spray paint in the appropriate color can keep that problem to an insignificant level for years.

Choosing the Proper Size of Diamond

The final consideration is the mesh or ‘diamond’ size. The usual range is from 1 3/8 inch – 2 3/8 inch, but larger or smaller diamonds are available. To simply create a barrier or mark off a section of garden or lawn, the larger size is fine. It’s still very sturdy and generally cheaper. To keep out cats, small dogs and rabbits a smaller mesh can be very useful.

To prevent access to the garden or lawn by gophers, moles and other burrowing animals even the smallest normal mesh may not do. Lining the lower section with some material can easily solve the problem, though. Integrated woven slats, a sheet of chicken wire and other methods will prevent access if the fence goes underground about a foot. Slats at the base also provide additional privacy.

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