Chain Link Fence

A chain link fence is assembled from vertical steel posts and horizontal rails with steel mesh attached to one side of this framework. Typical residential chain link is available in heights of 4, 5, and 6 feet. Commercial versions range from 8 feet high up to higher elevations (some baseball backstops reach up to 20 feet in vertical height). The pipe used for chain link is also available is different grades (or schedules). Thin pipe (ss15) might be compared to the wall thickness of muffler pipe and thicker pipes (ss80) are heavy duty and used for industrial purposes. Standard residential chain link usually consists of ss20 or ss40 pipe.

IMG_0618Photo: 4 foot high chain link: galvanized framework with standard residential-grade black vinyl coated wire mesh

The steel mesh used for a chain link fence is also available in a number of different colors and grades. Standard colors available are galvanized (a steel grey), black, and green. Uncommon colors include brown and white. Some colors may need to be custom ordered. Wire thickness is measured in gauges (the smaller the gauge, the more heavy duty the wire). 11.5 gauge wire is thin and 6 gauge wire is very heavy-duty. The wire is also manufactured with different sized diamonds available (standard is a 2 inch diamond). Smaller diamond wire (such as 1 inch diamonds – called Boca wire) is typically seen installed around swimming pools as this had been part of the national pool fence code. See “Pool Fence Codes” under the recommendations tab for more information.

IMG_1470Photo: 6 foot high chain link: black vinyl coated framework with standard residential-grade black vinyl coated wire mesh

These are three ways that chain link is typically designed to be weather-resistant:

  1. • Galvanizing: This is the process of applying a protective zinc coating to steel or iron in order to prevent rusting. The steel parts are submerged in a vat of molten zinc (called hot-dip galvanizing). Typically protects the steel from rusting for 10-15 years.
  2. • Powder coating: This type of coating is applied as a dry powder, usually in a process called electrostatic application. The coating is then allowed to dry under heat, which allows it to form a kind of “skin”.
  3. • Vinyl Coating: the steel used for vinyl coated chain link is actually galvanized before it is dipped, and therefore encased in a vinyl coating.


Chain link is a popular fence option, is inexpensive compared to pvc or aluminum, and able to offer the highest amount of security out of the four main fence types. There are a number of accessories and modifications that can be applied to chain link depending on customer needs. Barbed wire strands can be added to the top of the fence (not legal in all areas) for added security. Tension wire can be added to the bottom of the fence to prevent the wire from swaying back and forth and create a stronger bottom barrier, especially for keeping pets that like to dig in the yard. Privacy slats can also be added (see link below).

Watch the video below to see a machine used to weave chain link together in a factory:

This company specializes in chain link enhancements, such as privacy slats. Please click here

This company specializes in wind screening and sports-netting: