What Is There To Know About Chain Link Fences?

Im going to explain chain link in 4 bullet points.  That is all you really need to know about chain link.
– No maintenance
– Will probably outlast you.
– Not privacy (those privacy slots look pretty ugly)
– If you have a dog get the bottom tension wire
It’s true, if you didn’t need a privacy fence chain link would be the most logical choice.  However, there is one major drawback that is making this fence more and more obsolete.  And the biggest drawback is that it’s really not that pretty.  When people think of chain link they think of the galvanized or silver which is not attractive whatsoever.

But have you ever seen the all black chain link fence?

This is an all black chain link fence.

All black chain link is the perfect choice if you need something economical for your yard that will last a super long time and is extremely durable.

If you live in a wooded area this style fence would be perfect for you as well.  This will completely blend in with its surroundings.

Chain Link Fence Terminology

  • Fabric: The actual chain link fence.
  • Top Rail: This is the bar at the top of the fence.
  • Terminal Posts:  These are the bigger posts that are used where the fence ends, for the corners, and for the gate posts.  These are thicker because they handle all of the stress.
  • Line Posts: These are the smaller posts that are used everywhere else.  Typically these are spaced about every 10 feet.

Where To Buy Chain Link Fence And What To Look Out For

If having your chain link installed by a reputable fence company you SHOULD be fine with what they pick.  Most companies would not be will to use the cheaper material found at Home Depot and Lowes.


  • Typically the gauge for most residential fencing will be 9 gauge.  That is whether you get galvanized or the vinyl coated.
  • Lowes and Home Depot offer chain link in 11.5 gauge.
    • Doesn’t sound like a big difference but this means about 50% less weight / material.
    • This will NOT hold up to the abuse if you have children that will be kicking balls at the fence.  It will bend and will be unsightly.

Diameter of posts and top rail

  • The bigger the post the stronger the fence.  Notice how Home Depot and Lowes only offer posts that are “light duty”.
  • Pros vs Home Depot and Lowes
    • Top rail:             1 5/8″ vs 1 3/8″
    • Line Post:          2″ vs 1 5/8″
    • Terminal Post: 2 1/2″ for both

Do You Have A Pool?

One last thing you need to consider is if you have or are going to be getting a pool.

In order to be pool code compliant you will need to get chain link fabric that has smaller diamonds.

2″ is considered normal and 1 1/4 is considered pool code.  The reason for this is the diamonds are smaller so someone can’t put their foot in them and climb the fence.

Pros for chain link fence:

  • Very inexpensive
    • Chain link fence is pretty much the cheapest fence you can buy.
  • No maintenace
    • If you thought vinyl was easy, you have just met the ultimate in no maintenance.
  • Long lasting:
    • It’s safe to say that when you put in your chain link fence you will not need another fence for another 50 years.

Cons for chain link fence:

  • Appearance:
    • It’s true, it is not the prettiest fence out there.  However, I have been pushing most people into the all black option. It looks 10x better than galvanized or silver chain link.  We use this style fence a lot when the customers house backs up to woods.  It keeps their pets and children in while not blocking your view.
  • Another appearance issue:
    • You are basically limited to 4′ or 5′ height for residential.  And actually, 5′ is cutting it close as well.  Basically if you don’t want your house to look like a prison, never use 6′ height.
  • No privacy:
    • Sure, the make privacy slats and fabric but they look like crap!  And the worst part?  Those slats won’t even block out your view 100%.  If you need privacy I would highly suggest vinyl or wood.
  • Easy to climb:
    • If you think Im going to say it’s easy for people to climb you are partially right.  But, have you thought about your dogs?  I have heard countless stories on how a person’s dog climbed up the fence and ran away.  If you have a larger dog and they are like Houdini you may want to reconsider.
  • Easy for pets to escape under:
    • If you have a dog that likes to run away I would highly suggest that you have the bottom tension wire installed.  This makes it so your pup can just push the bottom of the fence.  After 2+ years the ground will settle around the fence making it extremely rigid.  But until then it is relatively easy to push away from the posts.

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