Pros and Cons of Vinyl-Coated Chain-Link Fence

vinyl coated chain link fence

So you like the look of a chain-link fence, but want something a bit nicer than basic chain link for your yard. Researching different options will make you want to climb a wall (or a fence). But there’s one option you should consider: vinyl-coated chain link. There are a lot of pros and cons to vinyl-coated chain-link fences.

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A vinyl-coated chain-link fence is simply a chain-link fence that is coated in vinyl. First, let’s discover what a chain-link fence is exactly.

A chain-link fence is a woven type of fence made from galvanized aluminum or steel mesh wire. Rust and corrosion protection is added during the galvanization process. The wire is bent into zig-zag patterns that it hooks with the wire next to it. This hooking pattern runs vertically, forming a diamond shape. This finished product is referred to as “chain-link fence fabric.”

The top edge and the bends of the wire mesh fabric are called the selvage. The selvage is in a knuckle (folded) or twisted pattern. The finished fabric is then attached to the framework, which includes the posts and rails. Fence posts are the vertical poles, and the rails are the horizontal poles.

Vinyl-coated chain-link fences are extremely popular, especially to define property lines. You’ll find them everywhere, including sports fields and dog runs. They come in several colors, including brown, white, green, and black chain-link.

The vinyl coating is applied to a galvanized chain-link in one of three ways.

  • Extruded Vinyl: Extruded is pulled over the wire like pants, but can be sliced and peeled off like the red wax on Babybel cheese. This is found primarily in temporary or residential fencing.
  • Extruded and Bonded Vinyl: The extruded and bonded uses powerful glue to bond the coating in place. In this case, you’d have to slice off the vinyl like peeling a potato. This is found on many commercial properties.
  • Fused and Bonded Vinyl: With fused and bonded, the vinyl is fused to the metal. Like welding two pieces of metal together, they’re nearly impossible to separate. These are found in industrial or government settings.
chain link fence
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Of all the fence types, vinyl-coated chain-link fences are the go-to choice for a new fence for many people. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, low maintenance, durable, and customizable.

Affordable

Next to wire fencing, chain-link is the cheapest fencing available. Including professional installation costs, chain-link fencing costs about $10 – $17 per linear foot.

Vinyl-coated chain-link fencing is a little more expensive. Vinyl-coated chain link fencing costs about $13 – $20 per linear foot.

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Compare this price to other materials (price includes professional installation).

  • Wire fence: $1 – $4 per linear foot
  • Wood fence: $14 – $31 per linear foot
  • Vinyl/PVC fence: $17 – $38 per linear foot
  • Composite fence: $26 – $57 per linear foot
  • Aluminum fence: $27 – $55 per linear foot
  • Wrought iron fence: $28 – $56 per linear foot

Keep in mind, like all fencing, other factors will affect the final price tag.

  • Height
  • Gauge
  • Fence post material
  • Chain-link materials
  • Privacy slats
  • Gates
  • Permits
  • Slope of land

If you decide to DIY your fence installation, it’ll cost you about $2,330. This is for a standard-sized yard and includes equipment and all the fencing materials.

If you’re looking for a more affordable option, consider the pros and cons of chain-link fencing.

Easy Installation

A vinyl-coated chain-link fence installation is relatively quick and easy. The longest part of the installation process is the framework – the fence posts and rails.

The chain-link is pre-fabricated, manufactured in advance, and comes in large rolls. Once the framework is built, the chain-link fence is unrolled and attached to the posts and rails. No individual slats or panels to slow down the installation process.

Low-Maintenance

Although no fence is maintenance-free, vinyl-coated chain-link fences are very low-maintenance. There are only a few things you need to do:

  • Clean: Usually, a quick hose down will clean your fence. But if it’s got bird poop or caked-on mud, a pressure washer or a soapy brush will do the trick.
  • Repair: The vinyl coating is very durable but cracking happens. As soon as you notice splits, check the underlying metal for rust. If you see any, scrub it off with steel wool. Then, repair the broken vinyl with plastic paint.
  • Avoid Climbing: Avoid climbing at all times. Climbing bends the support posts and pulls the chain-link away from the framework.

Durable

Vinyl-coated chain-link fences are very durable for two reasons.

  • Weather-resistant: The chain-link design allows wind and weather to pass right through the holes. These fences have little wind resistance and low snow and ice buildup.
  • Longevity: Vinyl-coated chain-link fences last at least 15 years. But with proper maintenance, many last for over 20 years. The vinyl coating protects against rust and corrosion, increasing the lifespan.

Customizable

Vinyl-coated chain-link fences have a surprising amount of customizable options.

  • Color: The coating typically comes in a variety of colors such as white, brown, green, and black vinyl.
  • Gauge: The gauge refers to the wire thickness. Common gauge options include 6 gauge, 9 gauge, 11 gauge, and 11½ gauge.
  • Post Caps: Post caps have endless options. A few common styles include dome, acorn, bullet, half ball-chain, pagoda, and solar lights. You also can alternate, making one different from the previous post cap.
  • Height: Height varies depending on purpose and preference. Common heights include 3 feet, 4 feet, 6 feet, and 8 feet. If you don’t like these options, choose a shorter or taller fence.
  • Privacy Slats: Privacy slats are vertical vinyl slats. They add color and privacy to your chain-link fence. They come in styles ranging from top lock to winged and colors like black, blue, and brown.
  • Extras: Choose from a variety of extra fencing options like barbed wire, hook bars, and tension bars.

Looking for more? There’s a mile-long list of custom chain-link fence ideas.

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chain link fence
Photo Credit: Pxhere

While there are tons of benefits, a vinyl-coated chain-link fence does have some drawbacks. Depending on your priorities, the low privacy, security, and curb appeal can be a deal-breaker.

Doesn’t Provide Privacy

Due to the holes in the design, a vinyl-coated chain-link fence is not a privacy fence. People can easily see through your fence and into your yard. However, there are a few things you can do to increase chain-link privacy.

  • Privacy Slats: Privacy slats will increase your seclusion but will not entirely conceal you from prying eyes.
  • Climbing Plants: Climbing plants do an excellent job of providing privacy, but they take a long time to cover your fence. Also, be sure to choose lightweight plants, or you’ll damage your fence.
  • Trees and Hedges: Planting trees and hedges help prevent people from peeking into your backyard. Though, they won’t conceal completely.

If you’re looking for more ideas, these landscaping ideas will help increase your privacy.

Lacks Security

A vinyl-coated chain-link fence isn’t the best security fence. They’re made at varying heights, but invaders can gain access by climbing or cutting the chain-link fabric. The lack of privacy also weakens your residential security.

Low Curb Appeal

Even if you add customized features, vinyl-coated chain-link fences can have a negative connotation. They’re sometimes seen as cheap and industrialized. Therefore, chain-link fencing won’t add much to the resale value of your home. An inexpensive fence like chain-link may imply that your home has subpar features.

If adding to your value to your home is a high priority, check out the best fences to add property value.

How long will a vinyl-coated chain-link fence last?

Vinyl-coated chain-link fences last at least 15-20 years. With proper maintenance, many last for well over 20 years. For the best results, be sure to clean regularly and address fence repairs as soon as they become noticeable.

Can you paint a vinyl-coated chain-link fence?

Yes! You can paint your vinyl-coated chain-link fence. However, there are a few things you should do for the best results.

Clean your fence: Clean your fence so it’s free of dirt and grime using a pressure washer or soapy water and a brush. Then, allow enough time for your fence to fully dry.

Use a roller and brush: Use a paint roller rather than a sprayer. Because of the big gaps, using a sprayer on a chain link fence is messy and wasteful. Use a brush to get in tough-to-reach places.

Use vinyl-safe paint: For long-lasting results, use a vinyl-safe paint. Forgoing the “vinyl-safe” label may cause premature peeling and flaking.

Is a vinyl-coated chain-link fence safe for my dog?

For the most part, yes, a vinyl-coated chain-link fence is safe for dogs. It’s durable, difficult to break though, and won’t scratch your fur baby. However, there are a few things to watch out for.

Climbing: If your fence is short or your dog is large, your dog may be able to climb the fence using the fence holes as a ladder.

Fence bottom: If your fence doesn’t have a bottom rail, that could be a weak point. If your pooch tends to be an escape artist, they may dig and wiggle under your fence. You can reinforce the bottom of your fence with a tension wire.

Fence holes: Although it doesn’t happen often, your dog’s collar can get stuck on the fence fabric. Even less likely, their paws can get stuck in the holes. Although both of these scenarios are rare, accidents happen.

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Whether you’re beginning the research process or elbow-deep in information, choosing a fence is no easy task. But you don’t have to take on the load, mental or physical, alone. There are experienced, highly-rated fencing contractors that are happy to help. For more information, contact a local fencing professional today.

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Nicki DeStasi

Nicki DeStasi is a writer, author, and teacher who grew up in western Massachusetts and currently resides in the Austin area. She enjoys flower and vegetable gardening, reading, cooking, listening to true-crime podcasts, and spending time with her husband, three children, dog, and cat.