Pros and Cons of Chain-Link Fencing

close-up of droplets on a chain link fence

A chain-link fence is an affordable and effective fencing solution, but it’s not ideal for every situation. Before choosing this type of fence, you need to consider the pros and cons of chain-link fencing so you better understand if its benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

For example, a chain-link fence is not a good choice if you’re looking for something stylish. However, practicality is where chain-link fencing truly shines. It is easy to set up a chain-link fence and allows you to effectively mark the boundaries of your property line.

While this metal fence has been around for more than a century, there have been significant improvements in recent years – boosting the durability and quality of chain-link fencing. Some of these innovations even upgrade its aesthetics to a certain degree. Looking at the pros and cons of chain-link fencing can help you decide if it’s worth installing around your home.

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Affordability is a major factor that makes chain-link fences popular. Yes, it’s true that the average cost of chain-link fences is much cheaper than wood, but affordability is not the only criterion that entices homeowners to choose chain link over other types of fences. The following are the advantages of installing a chain-link fence:

✓ Budget-Friendly

Installing chain-link fences allows you to save a lot compared to other fence materials. From manufacturing to installation to maintenance, you will not incur a lot of expenses. That’s because the material and labor costs for the installation are cheaper. Since you don’t have to reapply paint or stain like with wooden fences, you also save on upkeep costs.

✓ Low-Maintenance

You may have seen older installations of chain-link fences looking rundown and having patches of rust. Note that it takes a lot of time (and negligence) for a chain-link fence to look ragged. And fortunately, manufacturers have addressed this issue, understanding that constant exposure to moisture can corrode the metal in the long run.

Moisture and rust: Today’s chain-link materials often come with a protective coating, so the metal you choose for your chain-link fence can either be invulnerable to rust or well-protected against the elements.

Regular cleaning: To clean this low-maintenance fence, you need only water and dish soap. You can even use a high-powered power washer without worrying about damaging your chain-link fence.

✓ Easy Installation

If you have the necessary tools and are confident with your DIY skills, you can install a chain-link fence yourself. It usually takes a weekend to set up your chain-link fence, but that time can be shorter or longer depending on the size of the area you need to enclose.

If you prefer to hire a local fence contractor, you won’t pay a lot for the installation. Installation of chain-link fencing is simple, it also doesn’t require special tools. Plus, the materials for your new fence are lightweight, so there should be no additional labor cost compared to wrought-iron fences.

✓ Easy Repairs

Compared to wood fences, you won’t have to deal with issues such as:

  • Rotting
  • Warping
  • Insect damage

That doesn’t mean your chain-link fence can’t be damaged.

A fallen tree or an intruder cutting through the chain-link warrant fence repairs. And repairs often are easy. Whether it’s the top rail or the chain link itself, the process usually involves cutting out the damaged part and replacing it with a new section – more or less patching it up.

✓ Highly Versatile

Chain-link fences are incredibly adaptable and commonly used for both commercial and residential properties. You can find chain-link fences used in front yards, sports fields, and around swimming pools, among other places. And if you use PVC-coated chain-link fencing, you can choose a color that matches your home.

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A chain-link fence is best at marking your property line, but consider these drawbacks of a chain-link fence:

✗ Lack of Privacy

On its own, chain-link is not a good option for a privacy fence. You can see through either side of the fence without exerting any effort. While you can always put slats in the chain link to improve privacy, it’s more of a temporary solution than a permanent one.

✗ Compromised Security

Chain-link fencing installed higher than 5 feet is common in manufacturing and industrial areas. Chain-link fences around businesses usually are topped off with barbed wire for added security. However, you should not mistake this setup as something you can use as a residential security fence.

Residential chain-link fence installations are usually just 4 to 5 feet tall, so trespassers can easily climb over them. Strong pliers can even cut through the fence from underneath. So if you’re planning to install a fence to protect your property line, keep in mind that there are taller fences and other fence types to choose from.

✗ Looks Unattractive

When it comes to curb appeal, chain-link falls short compared to other fences – especially since it has very limited design options. Chain-link fencing doesn’t have grains as wood does. You also cannot put a spear on top of every fence post. And even if you could, it won’t look as good as steel fences. Plus, you won’t be able to paint it with different colors unless you install a vinyl-coated chain-link fence.

✗ Doesn’t Increase Property Value

While installing chain-link fences will not reduce property value, it also won’t do anything to increase the value of your home. Most potential buyers prefer a house with a fence that is more suitable for residential use and is aesthetically pleasing.

Chain-link fences generally all look the same. However, you’ll find different types available based on the materials used.

  • Galvanized: These zinc-coated or galvanized fences are the most common material, available in 6 to 11.5 gauge – with 6 gauge being the strongest and thickest option. This type of chain-link fence is usually best for commercial properties.
  • Vinyl: With a vinyl-coated chain-link fence, you can prevent the sharp end of a wire or bracket from getting exposed. As such, it’s a safer fencing option for pets and children. Compared to other types of chain-link, this comes in a variety of colors to help enhance its look.
  • Aluminum: A weather and corrosion resistant material, chain-link fences made of aluminum are also lightweight and have high tensile strength. It has a long lifespan of up to 25 years and can withstand extreme weather conditions.
  • Stainless steel: Stainless steel chain-link fences can survive harsh weather conditions like high winds. Compared to the other types, though, steel is the most durable of all, which is why it’s also the most expensive. It doesn’t break or sag easily, retaining its shape for a long time.
Is it necessary to install chain-link fence posts in concrete?

No. It is possible to install the fence posts without setting them in concrete, but if you want your chain-link fence to last longer, the best approach would be to anchor the posts in cement.

Does chain-link last longer than a wood fence?

When it comes to lifespan, chain-link beats most wood fences. A low-maintenance chain-link fence can outlast a wooden fence as chain-link can last for more than 20 years. Installing a higher-grade material such as aluminum or steel can make it last even longer.

What type of chain-link fence is the best?

A chain-link fence made of stainless steel is the best type. It’s the most durable material that can retain its shape for a long time and is very hard to manipulate or cut through. You can usually find stainless steel chain-link fences bordering large areas like airports and highways.

When to Hire a Fencing Pro

There’s a reason why chain-link fences have been around since they were developed in 1844. It’s easy to set up and can effectively create a barrier for any property. Government establishments, industrial and commercial sites, sports fields, and many residential homes continue to use chain-link fencing because it’s a low-cost alternative.

Want to know more about chain-link fence installations in your area? Fence Gnome connects you to the best fencing pros near you. Quotes for your fencing project are just a few clicks and minutes away.

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Melanie Joseph

After discovering her passion for writing through her beauty blog, Melanie left her engineering job in California, became a writer, and never once looked back. When she isn't writing, she loves dipping in the pool, tending to the garden, or doing simple home improvement projects.