No matter where you live, you’ve likely come across chain link fences and gates. In fact, chain link is so ubiquitous, you probably see it every day, whether it’s at a park, a city pool, or in your own backyard. That is largely because it’s one of the most cost-effective, durable, and versatile fencing materials on the market.
Besides being one of the most popular fencing styles, chain link fences also have a long history. Chain link has been around since 1844 when British inventor Charles Barnard developed a wire-weaving machine based on the cloth-weaving machines of the day. While the technology in manufacturing chain link has changed some since then, the demand for chain link fence suppliers is as strong as ever.
At Montana Fence we love not only providing the perfect fencing solutions for our customers, but we appreciate fencing’s long history and variety of applications. There are many reasons why home and business owners choose our local chain link fence supplies for their outdoor spaces. But is chain link the right fence product for your project? Let’s take a deeper look at chain link fences and gates to better help you make that decision.
What is Chain Link Fencing?
Arguably one of the most popular styles of fence, chain link fences are a type of woven fence that typically uses galvanized or linear low-density polyethylene-coated steel wire. The wires run vertically and are bent into a zigzag pattern so that each “zig” hooks with the wire immediately on one side and each “zag” with the wire immediately on the other. This forms the characteristic diamond pattern seen in this type of fence. This mesh steel net attaches between posts, each of which gets driven deep into the ground or set in concrete. Chain link fences are known for their simplicity, durability, and affordability, which is why they can be seen in a wide variety of applications in both residential and commercial settings.
Benefits of Chain Link Fences and Gates
- Budget Friendly – From manufacturing to installation to maintenance, you will not incur a lot of expenses with chain link fences and gates, because the material and labor cost for the installation is cheaper. And since you don’t have to reapply paint or stain chain link fencing like you need to with wooden fencing, you also save on upkeep costs.
- High Durability – This type of fence is incredibly tough, as it’s made from interlocking coated steel wire and galvanized with a corrosion-resistant zinc coating to protect it against the weather. Plus, because the wind passes through the openings, the material is far less susceptible to weather-related damage.
- Low Maintenance – When properly installed, this fencing requires minimal maintenance. Thanks to galvanized, aluminized, or vinyl coating, chain link fencing won’t rust or gather dirt.
- Versatility – Chain-link fences are incredibly adaptable and commonly used in both commercial and residential properties. You can find them in front yards, sports fields, around swimming pools, and establishing property lines. Also, if you use PVC-coated fencing, like black chain link fencing, you can choose a color that complements your home or business.
- High Security – This strong steel fencing can create a secure barrier, keeping out anyone who shouldn’t be on your property. The fence can be built to a significant height and additional deterrents, such as barbed wire, can be added at the top to prevent climbing.
Disadvantages of Chain Link Fences and Gates
- Limited Privacy – Chain-link fences are not considered privacy fences because they do not offer the solid wall of protection that wood fencing or vinyl fencing would have. You can add privacy slats to chain link fencing to cover some of the holes in the material, but you can still partly see through those. If you need a fence specifically for privacy, you will be better off going with a different option.
- Lack of Creative Design Options – Chain link fences have fewer options when it comes to design and finishing. The colors, for example, are normally limited to black, green, brown, or silver. The material choices are also limited, with most chain link fences being constructed out of galvanized steel and coated with PVC for anything colored.
- Less Aesthetic Appeal – While it’s not exactly terrible to look at, most people don’t consider chain link fencing beautiful aesthetically. In most cases, a chain link fence won’t do a lot to improve the overall visual appeal of your property. It’s a standard fencing material that serves its purpose functionally rather than aesthetically.
- Lower Increase in Property Value – Having a fenced yard is better than having no fence at all, but a chain-link fence isn’t going to do as much for your property value. If you’re looking to resell your property in the future, you will attract more buyers at a higher price point by opting for vinyl or wood fencing.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Chain Link Fence?
Although it is one of the simplest fencing options, there are still many variables in the pricing structure of chain link fencing. Variations in height, gauge, linear footage, and finish can all affect the overall cost. While it is an affordable option, there are a lot of decisions to make that will affect the estimate.
Chain Link Fence Cost Factors
- Overall Dimensions – The size of your fence helps determine the materials required and how much labor is needed to get the job done. The price per foot can change dramatically depending on the height and material type you choose.
- Diamond Size – Much of the appeal of a chain link fence comes from the simple but still decorative diamond-shaped pattern formed by twisted wire. Measured on the inside of the diamond in both diagonal directions, smaller diamonds result in stronger fences that are more expensive because they require more wire to twist to make the fence. Larger diamonds are less secure, but also less expensive. We typically stock and install 2-inch fabric in both commercial and residential settings.
- Gauge or Mesh Thickness – The gauge measurement represents the thickness of the wire that creates the mesh of a chain link fence. The numbers are inverse to the gauge—lower numbers equal thicker wire. Measurements run from 6 gauge, which is the thickest gauge available, to 11 gauge. Thicker gauges are sturdier and stronger, and therefore cost more, while higher gauges offer a lighter, less visible fence and are less expensive. The most common gauge we have on hand is 11 gauge or 9 gauge. Feel free to give us a call to see what is available!
- Post and Rail Gauge – The thickness of posts and rails are another factor to consider. The pipe used for posts and top rails can range from 16 gauge tubing up to 40 gauge pipe. Higher gauges can be driven into the ground in some cases, while lower gauges have to be set in concrete. The diameter of these posts and rails can also range depending on the type of project you have. For something like a backyard, you may only need tubing as small as 1 ⅜” for your top rail with slightly larger posts. For more industrial projects that require more security, something as large as 2 ⅞” pipe may be needed for line posts and can require even larger and heavier posts for gates.
- Gates – Be sure to consider whether you will need gate access through your new fence. Knowing what type and size of chain link gate you will need takes a little planning ahead. The three main chain link gate options are swing gates, cantilever gates, and rolling gates. They can range in size and offer different types of access. If you need help deciding what kind of gate will work best for your project, we are happy to help you come up with a solution based on your layout.
Maintenance of Chain Link Fences and Gates
One of the main perks of chain link fencing is that it requires little to no maintenance to keep it looking like new. Here are some simple maintenance tips to help keep your chain link fencing in tip-top shape for years to come.
- Clean Your Fence Regularly – Chain link is effortless to clean, requiring only water to remove mild dirt and debris and simple dish soap for removing bird feces and other stuck-on stains. Use your hose on a high-powered setting to spray down your fence for easy cleanup or grab a scrub brush and soapy water to clean tougher areas.
- Avoid Growth of Plants and Trees – Vines, flowers, and sucker trees can displace your fence and cause damage by lifting and displacing links. Removing these plants and trees immediately will help prevent growth and ensure the longevity of your fence.
- Make Repairs as Needed – The areas that may wear out first on your chain link fence are the connections to posts. As the fence gets pulled on or climbed over, connections can become loose and whole lengths of chain link can pull away from posts. Gates may also sag or dig into the ground when you open and close them. If you see any chain link beginning to sag or pull away, call the experts at Montana Fence for repairs.
Applications of Chain Link
In addition to affordability and durability, chain link fences are often sought after because of the versatility they offer in both residential and commercial settings. Here are just five of the most common applications:
- Perimeter Fence – If you want an easy way to mark the boundaries of your property, chain link is the way to go. Whether you’re a business owner trying to control access to certain areas or a homeowner trying to keep children or animals safely enclosed within the yard, chain link allows you to define the border around your property.
- Security Fence – Unlike other materials that can completely impede your view of what’s happening on the other side, chain link fence allows you to maintain your visibility outside of the property. In areas where enhanced security is required, such as airports, military bases, correctional facilities, or industrial factories, barbed wire or razor wire can be added to minimize the ability to penetrate the enclosed area.
- Park or School Fence – Schools and parks across the country rely on chain link fencing to create safe and secure barriers around them. Chain link fence provides school children a clearly defined space for their play and delivers peace of mind for parents and school administrators.
- Animal Enclosures – Chain link is a great option if you’re trying to create a safe and secure dog run or outdoor kennel. Installing an enclosure for your dog can give your pet the outdoor time they crave while you rest easy knowing that they’re contained, safe, and getting some exercise.
- Athletic Fields – Chain link fencing comes in handy at baseball parks and other sports complexes to mark boundaries for players and fans and establish a secure perimeter around the stadium. It also adds height to the stadium to protect guests from foul balls and other debris.
Request Your Free Chain Link Fence Estimate with Montana Fence
At Montana Fence, we recognize that fencing is often the first visual introduction to a property. Whether it’s for a residence or business, the fencing is the frame that surrounds and enhances the property picture. It establishes a perception associated with the property, so we believe that fencing should only enhance the setting. Montana Fence serves clients throughout Montana and Idaho selling and installing only high-quality, local chain link fence supplies. Interested in seeing how chain link fencing could serve your home or commercial needs? Browse through our chain link fence portfolio to view images of our past installations and contact us today to discuss whether chain link fencing is the right fit for you or schedule a free estimate.