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Chain Link Fences

Chain link fences are more often used for security or containment than decoration. To be an effective security fence, the fence needs to be strong, secured at the bottom, and topped with an appropriate deterent (such as razor wire). Even so, chain link fences can be defeated by ladders, coats or blankets thrown over the top, or wire cutters. Fences used for pools and tennis courts can be more friendly.

Chain link fencing comes in a range of weights (gauges), mesh sizes, and types of protective coatings.

Wire Diameter (Gauge)

The diameter of wire and the thickness of metal used in the poles and other components (referred to as the "gauge") correlates with the strength and durability of the fence. Contrary to intuiton, a higher gauge means a smaller diameter or thinner width. A fence made from thin components will deform more easily under weight or in a collision. Thus, lower cost, high gauge fences (designed for temporary use) most often will prove to be a bad bargain for a permanent fence.

Mesh Sizes

The mesh is made from weaving parallel wires to form a diamond pattern. The mesh size measures the distance between the wires. For the same gauge wire, the smaller (or tighter) the mesh, the more steel and strength and the higher the cost. Pick the mesh size based on your needs. For example, use a smaller mesh such as 1-3/4" for tennis courts to reduce the likelihood of the balls getting wedged in the mesh.

Protective Coatings

Rust and corrosion are a problem unless the fence is properly treated. Most chain link fences are coated in zinc (to galvanized them). To increase the attractiveness, some fencing is available with vinyl or polyester color coatings. Aluminum may also be used, but this is weaker than steel.

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