Galvanized versus Vinyl Chain Link Fence: Is there a difference?

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Tue, Oct 01, 2013
Michelle Goodwin
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Chain link fence is one of the most popular types of fence used in today’s market. This particular fence material is very flexible and ease of installation is a definite chainlink strong point in a variety of applications. A project where the proposed fenced terrain is not flat is an instance where chainlink is the perfect solution. This popularity stems in part from chain link’s relatively inexpensive price.

Chain link is also ideal for projects that will cross long stretches of terrain that do not require any beautification, like the rear perimeter of military bases or any large government installation.

left: 4 ft. standard galvanized steel residential chain link fence

 

chainlink vinyl fence

above: 4 ft. black galvanized chain link fence ideal for a large residential landscape.

Chain link fence comes in a range of heights that make it suitable for a variety of applications. The shorter heights are commonly used in residential settings to reduce view obstructions. Taller fences are most often selected for commercial use because of the increased level of security that more height can offer. 

The only difference between galvanized and vinyl coated chain link is that a vinyl coating is sealed around the metal. The metal under the vinyl chain link is actually already galvanized then the vinyl is placed around it. This makes it pretty easy to determine which one is better equipped to handle weathering over time. That would, of course, be the coated material.

Standard galvanized chain link will begin to rust over time.range of heights that make it suitable for a variety of applications. The shorter heights are commonly used in residential settings to reduce view obstructions. These sizes are usually 48' chain link or 4 feet chain link.

Taller fences are most often selected for commercial use because of the increased level of security that more height can offer. The heights for these fences are 6 foot chain link and they go up to 8 feet high chain link.

Galvanized and coated fence materials are similar in terms of their sturdiness and longevity. Galvanized chain link usually carries a 10 to 15 year warranty against rust and corrosion. The fence is virtually maintenance free. It does not require painting and meets ASTM specification 392 and federal specification R.R.F.-191.

Black vinyl chain link usually carries a ten to fifteen year manufacturer warranty against chipping peeling and fading. And, it is also maintenance free.

Chain link fence fabrics are also available in different gauges. The fence gauge is the measure of the diameter of the actual woven fabric metal. These sizes can vary widely, but 9 and 11½ gauges are the markets most common. The higher the gauge number the less thick the metal is, therefore the smaller 11½ gauge is used for residential fences where the family children or pets are the concern. A more durable 9-gauge material is used when a higher level of security is needed. This is more often the case for commercial or business applications and prison fence jobs.

The main difference between coated or uncoated galvanized chain link is the final appearance of the fence. One of the major advantages of any chain link fence is its somewhat transparent design. But it does not completely disappear to the eye. 

7 + 1 ft. Chain Link with Barb Wire and Windscreen

6 ft. galvanized chain link fence with 3 strands of barb wire and windscreen at a government facility.

 

So, the consumer must think about how they want their final project to look. Galvanized fence tends to leave a more rough or “industrial” appearance. While vinyl presents an overall cleaner appearance and may even blend into the surroundings depending on the coating color.

This may be the main reason why many higher end projects lean toward the coated material. This will, of course, affect the final cost of the fence. The vinyl-coated material can increase the cost about $1.50 per foot on a 6-foot high fence. The final decision can really boil down to whether the purchaser wants a more polished look or a less expensive fence.

 

Topics: Fence Design, Residential Fence Choices, Commercial Fence, Fence, Prison Fence

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