How many times have you seen chain link fences go up at a construction site, seemingly overnight? But a few years later, as that project continues, the shiny, chain link fence is no longer so shiny or straight. Choosing a chain link fence is not just about deciding to put one up. You must understand why you need it to make the right choice in materials.
Durability and Environment
Just like with any fencing, chain link fences vary in their durability. What causes that variation? The type of metal and, for some types of fence, the coating on the metal. Many steel chain link fences are galvanized, but it is important to know if it is galvanized before or after the chain links have been woven together.
Chain link fences that are galvanized before weaving (GBW) last longer than those that are galvanized after weaving (GWA). The galvanizing process puts a coating of zinc over the metal. If it is done afterward, not all places can be covered evenly, so environmental factors can further weaken the uneven coating and degrade the fence. GWA fences are less expensive, so for shorter duration chain link needs, GWA may be sufficient.
Chain link fences can also be either woven or welded. Think of a woven fence like fabric – the threads are not connected to each other, just held together by the number of weaves and closeness of the weave. A welded fence, on the other hand, is actually held together with metal fastened to metal, making the welded fence stronger and more durable.
As an added option, you can get vinyl coated fences, where an additional layer of vinyl is put over the welded or woven metal. The vinyl can add even more longevity to your fence.
Weight and Installation
Heavier fences can be more difficult to install and move. If you have a project where you need to be agile and move the fencing around, getting a heavy, welded steel chain link fence is probably not your best option. Instead, look at a lighter, easily-transported fence. This can be a woven fence made from steel, or if you really need a light material, made of aluminum. Aluminum's natural properties make it light, easier to install, and more attractive than the galvanized look. Plus, some government regulations require the use of aluminum fencing for certain types of buildings or structures.
Not all chain link is created equal. Understanding how you intend to use the fence ensures that you don't overspend or pick a fence that makes it difficult to accomplish your goals. Contact a local commercial chain link fencing company for more information.