What should I look for in residential chain link fabric?
Select your chain link fence fabric based on these three criteria: mesh size, wire gauge and type of protective coating.
- Mesh size tells you how far apart the parallel wires are in the mesh. In other words, how large the diamond is from side to side. This is an indication of how much steel is in the product. The smaller the diamond, the more steel is in the fabric. We recommend nothing less than 2 3/8” mesh for residential. There are a variety of mesh sizes available, ranging from 3/8”, 5/8”, ¾”, 1” 1 ¾”, 2”, 2 ¼”, 2 3/8” to 3 ½”. The larger meshes are used in residential.
- Gauge (ga.) or diameter of wire is one of the most important factors – it also tells you how much steel is actually in the fabric. The smaller the gauge number, the more steel and the higher the quality and the strength of the wire. We recommend using nothing less than 11 ½ gauge chain link wire for residential fencing. When referring to vinyl coated wire, you always refer to the core gauge of the wire and then reference the coating. Residential vinyl coated wire using an 11 ½ gauge core wire may have a 9 gauge finish depending on the type of vinyl coating.
- Core wire coating is critical. There are three types of core wire coatings.
- Galvanized Before Weaving. GBW wire galvanizes the wire before weaving. This coating process has improved over the years, providing a smooth, consistent and dependable coating. It is also available in 1.2 and 2 oz. GBW is popular in backyards and athletic applications for its smooth finish.
- Galvanized After Weaving. GAW wire is first woven and then dipped into a kettle of hot melted zinc. The speed at which it is dipped and removed dictates the weight of the coating. GAW coating is available in 1.2 oz of coating per square foot or 2 oz of coating per square foot. This coating process tends to leave icicles and nubs from the zinc dripping-off.
- Aluminized coating is applied before weaving, providing a dull aluminum finish to the core wire. Its soft metal properties provide an excellent coating suited for highly acetic environments.
- Vinyl coating over finished core wire. According to ASTM 668, vinyl coated chain link fencing is specified and ordered by the metallic core wire with the specified coating to follow.
- Class 1 Extruded. Your residential chain link is typically “non-spec class 1 extruded” wire, meaning the vinyl coating is simply pulled over the wire like a sock over your foot. This wire generally is miss represented because it is thicker than the higher grade materials. Of course, the reason it is thicker is because it is not bonded to the chain link and can easily tear or peel.
- Class 2A Extruded and Bonded. The second grade of wire is the “class 2A extruded and bonded” wire. This wire may appear in some specifications and is generally used in commercial applications. The vinyl coating is thinner than the Class 1 Extruded wire. However, the extruded and bonded wire is bonded to the wire by means of an intense glue, thus less likely to peel or tear from the core wire.
- Class 2B Fused and Bonded. The third grade of wire is Class 2B Thermally Fused and Bonded. This class of wire is most predominately specified with architects, engineers, city, state and federal. It has the thinnest coating yet has the greatest strength in resisting cracking, peeling and tearing. The vinyl coating is literally fused and bonded to the steel like welding two pieces of steel together. This is the superior vinyl coating.
How do I select my residential fence framework from American Fence Company of Iowa?
Start with the gauge and the outside diameter of the pipe. Below is a helpful table that you may use in selecting your fence framework. “Terminal Posts” is a generic term for end, corner and gate posts. Gate posts will vary based on the size of the gate.
|Application||Light Duty||Medium Duty||Heavy Duty|
|3’-4’ high||Top rail||1-3/8” 17 ga.||1-3/8” 16 ga.||1-3/8” 15 ga.|
|Line Posts||1-5/8” 17 ga.||1-5/8” 16 ga.||1-5/8” 15 ga.|
|Terminal Posts||1-7/8” 17 ga.||1-7/8” 16 ga.||1-7/8” 15 ga.|
|5’-6’ high||Top rail||1-3/8” 17 ga.||1-3/8” 16 ga.||1-5/8” 15 ga.|
|Line Posts||1-7/8” 17 ga.||1-7/8” 16 ga.||1-7/8” 15 ga.|
|Terminal Posts||2-3/8” 17 ga||2-3/8” 16 ga.||2-3/8” 15 ga.|
Are all chain link fences the same?
At American Fence Company of Iowa, chain link fence has four elements: fabric, framework, fittings and gates. How you combine them makes all the difference. Each of these components are available in a range of weights (gauges) and types of protective coatings. Providers can mix and match components in an effort to reduce the cost or differentiate their fence. Our minimum recommendations are in line with the minimum practices defined by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). Galvanized—or zinc—is the most common chain link coating, but you’ll also find chain link components with vinyl or polyester color coatings. These color treatments enhance landscaping and blend naturally with trees, shrubs and bushes. They’ll also give you even more protection against rusting.