Cutting Edge Fencing: Surrounding your Property with Barbed Wire

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Sat, Jun 20, 2015



Barbed Wire & Barbed Tape: A Cutting Edge Partnership in Security Fencing

Without a doubt, the primary use for barbed wire and barbed tape ib the US is for perimeter security. This brief will give you a better understanding of the uses and benefits of this highly effective security fence application. Both barb wire and barb tape are almost always used in precarious commercial environments. Properties where large outdoor machinery automobiles, and large property areas that are out of direct eyesight will ensure that these areas are accounted for. The aggressive appearance of the wire is sometimes thought to detract from the visual appeal and diminish a commercial property's value. In actuality, an area secured with the addition of these tried and true fence materials provide a utilitarian security that affords immeasuable fence cost benefits both short and long term use.

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Barb Basics

Barbed wire is a type of fencing wire that has sharp or pointed edges typically around 5 or so inches. It is used as an inexpensive yet effective added security measure for small and large, rural and urban properties alike. Originally for farm fence, it gained urban acclaim in the early 20th Century and expanded to a means of to keep people as well as city critters out of private and restricted areas. 

Barbed wire and barb tape were brought into the mainstream farming community by this guy. Glidden refined Henry Rose's original single-stranded barbed wire design and significantly improved upon it by using two strands of wire twisted together to hold the barbed spur wires firmly in place. Glidden’s wire also soon proved to be well suited to mass production techniques, and by 1880 more than 80 million pounds of inexpensive Glidden-style barbed wire was sold, making it the most popular wire in the nation.



Small but Mighty

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A person or animal trying to pass through or over a fence will surely have discomfort and obtain possible serious injury from sharp barbs. A qualified and highly skilled fence company can construct or add these commercial fence features quickly and easily. Don't be mislead by the quick turnaround of this sort of fence installation. 

Fence pros have taken the required OSHA safety courses to know how this precarious security fence application should be handled and installed.Some projects may require, five, six and even seven strands of wire may be used to maximize fence height and minimize spacing between wood farm fence installations. The wire is aligned under tension between braced heavy fence posts. The addition of barb wire is widely used in the military security, state and federal prisons, detention houses, data centers, government buildings and other national security facilities. 

One of the biggest commercial uses for fence particularly barbed wire in Virginia is for enclosed farm fencing where animals are often transported, bought or sold.Ask a fence contractor and they'll concur that more often than not, a well-built yet minimally maintained 3 of 4 wirewire fence will suffice in most instances. 


12 ½ gauge is an industrial gauge that meets military specifications. 15 ½ gauge barb wire is typically used for light commercial grade and temporary fencing. One of the benefits to 15 ½ gauge is that the barbs are sharper. Barb wire comes in galvanized and vinyl coated steel. Vinyl coated  barb can come in green or black and the actual barbs are not coated. Barbwire is made of low carbon steel wire or galvanized wire with the twisting processing by the barbed wire machines.Materials: low carbon steel wire, PVC coated wire, zinc coated wire, iron wire.

Barb Wire Uses

-Land fencing and protection
-Animal cage
-Neighborhood and Business security fencing aid.

          -fencing with chain link fence or welded wire mesh fence.

  • Features:  No stretching required when installing
  • Barbs fixed between wires
  • Adaptable for all fencing needs.  
  • Uniformly zinc coated

Typically, a new roll of barbed wire is 80 rods [1,320 feet (ft.)] in length and consists of double strand galvanized wire with barbs attached  at intervals of about 4 inches.

A lower grade barb wire can be used to prevent animals on farms and refuges, but chain link with 3 to 6 strands on top is used for commercial or military grade fence.Barbwire fencing, hurricane fence, richmond barb wire fence, rva fence, barb wire fencing richmond

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A mesh of metal strips with sharp edges whose purposeis to prevent passage by humansThe term "razor wire", through long usage, has generally been used to describe wire tape products. While razor wire is much sharper than the standard. Named after its appearance, but is not actually razor sharp. However, the points
are very sharp and made to rip and grab onto clothing and flesh.

-Source: Wikepedia

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Gauge in B.W.G. Approximate Length of wire per Kilo in Meter
Barbs Spacing 3" Barbs Spacing 4" Barbs Spacing 5" Barbs Spacing 6"
12 × 12 6.0617 6.7590 7.2700 7.6376
12 × 14 7.3335 7.9051 8.3015 8.5741
12-1/2 × 12-1/2 6.9223 7.7190 8.3022 8.7221
12-1/2 × 14 8.1096 8.814 9.2242 9.5620
13 × 13 7.9808 8.899 9.5721 10.0553
13 × 14 8.8448 9.6899 10.2923 10.7146
13-1/2 × 14 9.6079 10.6134 11.4705 11.8553
14 × 14 10.4569 11.6590 12.5423 13.1752
14-1/2 × 14-1/2 11.9875 13.3671 14.3781 15.1034
15 × 15 13.8927 15.4942 16.6666 17.5070
15-1/2 × 15-1/2 15.3491 17.1144 18.4060 19.3386

Here is a handy chart to help you start the conversation with your pro fence contractor what works for your property.
Generally accepted razor lengths:
  • short razor wire has barbs from 10 mm to 15 mm long
  • medium razor wire has barbs 20 mm to 25 mm long
  • long razor wire has barbs from 60 to 66 mm long.
  • Razor wire is much sharper than the barbs of barbed wire. The sharp edges of the wire can seriously
    injure any person attempting to pass through.

A Good Starting "Point".

Always contact a local AFA, Blue Ribbon or Osha Certifed Fence Contractor.

Depending on the nature of the fence you hope to install, you should always hire a professional to make sure the job is done correctly in a timely fashion. If your fence project requires design build, an experienced security contractor or commercial fence builder is definitely the way to go. Both professionals have the knowledge and expertise to get your new fence installed safely, and as quickly as possible.

Topics: Military Fence Installations, Fence Design, Perimeter Security, High Security Fence, Commercial Fence, Maximum Security Fence, barb wire fence, barbed wire, farm fencing

Options for Commercial Access Gates and Fence Solutions

Posted by Michelle Goodwin on Thu, Jul 03, 2014

A Professional Fence Company should have a variety options for Commercial Gate applications. The gate systems are designed to restrict unwanted entry and ensure the protection of assets and employees. Gate systems are designed to work efficiently with repeated mechanical use in any setting. Hurricane Fence Company offers the latest in Commercial Gate System trends and technology in a plethora of scales and styles. These maneuverable fence barriers can be engineered to meet the needs of everything from small Residential Secured Access to the most complex structural demands.

The following are a few examples of routinely offered Commercial Gate Systems.  

Swing Arm Gates

swing arm gate

Swing Arms are motorized barriers that raise a steel or aluminum arm from a horizontal position to a vertical position. They give you the ability to control pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic on roadways up to 38'. These gates can have an assortment of automatic controls, such as card readers, vehicle detectors/counters, reversing logic, which causes the arm to re-open should it strike an object, and anti tailgating devices, which keep multiple vehicles from pulling through on a single cycle. A switch in a security office can also be set up to control these gates.

Many Fence Contractors also offer High Speed Swing Arm Gates that will open in less than two seconds, using either 8 or 12' arms. Heavy duty gates, with arms up to 24', are also available if gate specifications require them.

Slide Gates   

sliding gate 

Sliding Gates are often the best solution for commercial premises with busy access points. You must have room set aside for the gate in the open position. Installers can customize slide gates to accommodate a wide range of commercial applications. Many different styles of slide gates are available of which the most common is a two-rail slide gate.

There are three rail slide gates that will allow the use of almost any material you wish to face the gate. For this the commonly used materials are plastic, wood, or metal. A well set up fence supplier can also custom fabricate a slide gate to match a wide range of already existing gate styles. 

Cantilever Gates

cantaliever gate cantaliever gate

Automation of a cantilever slide gate involves the addition of a slide gate operator that can be pad or post mounted. This provides a means to open or close the gate and the addition of safety devices such as safety loops, gate edges or photo eyes. Gate operators can be added to existing gates as well as new ones and integrated into any existing access control system.

The gate itself does not touch the ground and is supported by rollers, which are attached to two large side posts.

The gate will have a tail that is used to support itself when it is in the open position. One thing to keep in mind when considering the installation of a cantilever gate is that you must have adequate overhead clearance to ensure that the gate can open fully.

Cantilever Gate Systems can be constructed with nearly any fencing material, but the distance of the opening will play an important role in determining which type of materials you can use when constructing your Commercial Gate. Lighter fabrication materials should be considered when spanning wide opening, which will make the overall weight of the gate lighter.   

See Commercial Gate Fabrication in action on Hurricane Fence Company's Youtube channel.Commercial Gates, Commercial Gates Richmond, Gate Fabrication Richmond, gates richmond, gates norfolk, gates williamsburg, gates va beach, gate making richmond

Topics: Military Fence Installations, Military Fence, Government Fence, Fence Design, Perimeter Security, Gates, Specifications, High Security Fence, Ornamental Aluminum, Commercial Fence, Steel Slide Gates, Historical Fence, Fence Permit, Regulations, Maximum Security Fence, Fence Maintenance, Richmond Fence, fence regulations, Maintenance, Aluminum Fence, Comparison, codes, Military Fence Virginia

What is ATFP? And Related K4 K8 K12 Perimeter Security?

Posted by Dawn Lowndes on Thu, Jun 07, 2012

atfp fence k rated


Anti-Terrorism/Force Protection (ATFP) is generally defined as a federal security program formed to protect personnel, information, and critical resources from outside attacks.  These attacks could be attempted by the use of Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPG), truck bombs, or any means of weighted attack force. Areas of planned security could include law enforcement personnel, intelligence and training. For our purposes we will only discuss the physical security of a site.

ATFP standards set by the federal government can be used to protect areas such as military vicinity, state and local courthouses, banking centers and certain corporate areas. Corporations can deal with security sensitive matters like financial markets and Internet service providing computer farms.

ATFP secured structures can actually be made better able to prevent blasts from having a great effect. This can be done by ‘hardening’ the exterior of the structure by blast proofing the walls and glass. The can be achieved with the addition of concrete and steel wall supports. A “progressive collapse” structural design can be created to limit the likelihood of a complete building collapse in the event of an attack.

Perimeter security is typically created by the addition gates and entry areas and is most often delineated by a fence. ATFP fence is a standard fence that is upgraded or one that is originally manufactured to ATFP fence specifications. ATFP perimeter security can be of a very different nature.  

ATFP Entry Systems or Gates are created by using passive and/or non-passive barriers.  These systems are specifically designed for the level of protection that the facility mandates.

Passive Barriers allow the passage of entering vehicles at all times. This can be achieved by placing jersey wall barriers in away that creates a maze for the vehicle to maneuver.  This effectively forces the vehicle to slow down while permitting access.  This is only one example of this type of passive barrier.

Non-Passive Barriers are actually permanent entry obstacles. These are things like bollards, wedge barricades, drop arms, slide gates and newly designed net systems. These Barricades can be used in conjunction with fence gates or can actually be mounted to fence gates. They are used more often than passive barriers because they can be moved in and out of their location with ease. This allows instant entry and immediately re-barricaded areas.

ATFP passive perimeter security can be accomplished with the use of steel cables or steel guardrails. This can also be setup by any combination of natural and manmade features when natural barriers are not sufficient or present. Distance can be a great ATFP device when used in combination with an uneven or bumpy surface. This can also be achieved with ditches and berms, or large bolder (3ft. x 5ft.) placement and forestation. This will slow down any moving vehicle or a truck bomb that is attempting to implode a building surface. Remember that AT/FP perimeters are specifically intended to stop only vehicle traffic. This perimeter prevents a bomb threat, not theft.  

Bear in mind that it is much easier to implement the AT/FP standards when working on new construction rather than attempting to retrofit the system into an already existing environment.  When retrofitting, much of the plan design work will be required to be done onsite and in an emergent way. This can lead to extreme design difficulties and can turn out to be very costly. Conceiving a building or site around AT/FP barrier implements is much easier than situating the AT/FP elements around already existing structures. Imagine attempting to widen the distance between a building and the adjacent road line. It would be much easier to initially plan this rather than propose it at a later point in time.

Some additional research should be done to understand ‘K ratings’ (K4|K8|K12). These ratings are somewhat complex and are standards set by the government to quantify and ensure the inflexibility of implemented AT/FP barrier devices.  Read ‘K ratings’ (K4|K8|K12 Fence) Informational Blog


Article contributed by fence professional John Lowndes.

Topics: Bollards, Military Fence Installations, ATFP, Military Fence, Government Fence

What are K Ratings for Fence and Gates?

Posted by Dawn Lowndes on Tue, Jun 21, 2011

               crash test fence

A ‘K' rating is a Crash Test Certification issued by the Department of State (DOS) to a fence, gate, barrier or bollard indicating perpendicular impact penetration of a vehicle of a specific weight at a specific speed. In other words, it measures the particular stopping power of a barrier in relation to the speed and weight of an incoming vehicle.  The K rating weight of the vehicle is standard at 15,000 lbs. These DOS standard barriers can only allow the truck to penetrate no more than 36 inches past the bed.

  • K4 rating is for a vehicle traveling 30mph
  • K8 rating is for a vehicle traveling 40mph
  • K12 rating is for a vehicle traveling 50mph.

This test rating has been used to issue contracts since 2000.

k rated systemCrash rated material and products are used in many different commercial, industrial and government applications. They are also used in high profile private residences and estates. Power plants, fuel depot, chemical plants, federal and state government and military installations all have these products installed. Perimeter fencing and gates achieve their K rating through the addition of cable and/or beam reinforcements. Active barriers such as drop arm barriers, wedge barriers, capture barriers and pop up bollards achieve their K rating (as a rule) through enhanced materials and foundations. For example, a project may use heavier gauges of steel anchored into reinforced concrete footings. Regardless of the barrier type, the “K’ rating has become the standard for anti-terrorism crash barrier protection in the last decade. Commonly know as Anti-terrorism force protection or ATFP. These ratings are also being covered by American Society for Testing and Materials or ASTM.

Due to the security challenges we face in the present era, one would think that users of K rated products would like a fortress style barrier. However, the use of natural barriers, decorative products, and enhanced entrance designs allows security to being achieved while providing a more aesthetically appropriate and natural look. We can look to many Federal and State Court buildings to understand the use of this method of protection.

Anti-Ram physical security barriers go through extensive testing prior to being certified with a DOS K rating. This is an expense incurred solely by the manufacturer, and that cost is included in the pricing the final product. Do not be naive in expecting a low-cost anti-terrorism or anti-ram device. Development cost is passed on to the customer then the installation cost is substantially higher because of the considerable foundation required to achieve a specific K rating. Not all government or military installations require K rated systems or products. Having a government specification indicating a K rating requirement means a high-level of security is required for that specific location.

It is important to know what a K rating is and why it is required. As I have stated the K4|K8|K12 ratings are related to anti-ram protection related to speed, weight and penetration of a vehicle as dictated by the Department of State. The requirement for these products continues to grow with every new terrorist event. Demand for these products can be expected with increased capabilities continuing to grow as new global events unfold.

Ameristar Fence

Article contributed by fence professional Chuck Billmyer



Topics: Military Fence Installations, ATFP, Military Fence, Government Fence, High Security Fence, Maximum Security Fence

Who Requires Cable Reinforcement On Security Fences And Gates?

Posted by Dawn Lowndes on Thu, Feb 03, 2011
Cable fence reinforcement consists of 2 cables stretching laterally at heights of both 30 and 35 inches. The specific heights are set at 30” to address cars and 35” for trucks. These cables can be installed to meet the Anti-Terrorism Force Protection (ATFP) standards as detailed below. They are typically placed in conjunction with chainlink fence as an additional measure to stop a vehicle from penetrating any perimeter.

Cable reinforcement is commonly used by military bases, military and civilian airports and at nuclear power and industrial plants.  In addition to these federal institutions utilize this product for reserve banks, the Federal Bureau of Investigations and many other government offices.

Higher levels of protection are essential in the previously mentioned target areas for the protection of products, personnel and the general public.

Some specific examples of areas protected by cable reinforced fences or gates are:

Military – housing, equipment facilities and personnel offices.

        Airports - foot traffic, planes, fuel trucks and access roads.

        Industrial plants - toxic and explosive materials as well as vital power grids.

        Financial businesses with large structures and mass amounts of employees.

atfp reinforcement cables virginia

Over the last two decades, the Department of State established an Anti-Terrorism Force Protection (ATFP) rating system to help prevent vehicles from entering a facility’s perimeter and creating a bomb threat.  When deciding on an Anti-Terrorism Force Protection (ATFP) cable system one needs to review the following criteria for need:

Is this facility a potential target for terrorist to attack?

Where would this potential assault originate? 

Are there roads leading into the property in question?

Are there parking lots in which a car could achieve a speed with which perimeter penetration could occur?

k12 fence virginia

When deciding what your threat area may be, you will need to determine the level of protection desired by determining what level of security is required at the facility.  For example a nuclear power plant would more than likely require a K-12 higher rated security fence.

There are K ratings for cable reinforcements that assist in determining impact and speed volumes. They are as follows:

  • A K-4 system, which is two 3/4" cabling with concrete anchoring deadman will stop a 15,000 pound vehicle traveling at 30 miles per hour.
  • A K-8 system with two 3/4" cabling and 1" cable with concrete deadman will halt a 15,000 pound vehicle at a maximum speed of 40 miles per hour.
  • A K-12 systemwith three 1" cables will prevent penetration of a 15,000 pound vehicle with a maximum acceleration 50 miles per hour.

When determining your needs and selecting a system make certain to knowledgeably assess your desired level of protection. The rate specificity can affect installation costs. When choosing your fence company it’s always a good idea to get at least three references on similar type projects.  If you no clarity on what to look at to determine your need a qualified fence professional will be able to help you in this process. Hurricane Fence Company has been installing reinforcement cable systems for over fifteen years and keeps current on any changes federal standards. 

Topics: Military Fence Installations, ATFP, Government Fence, Terrorism

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