Chain link fence is one of Canada's most popular fence types. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of it installed around the world, and we sell tens of thousands of feet of chain link fabric every year.
However, while chain link is cost effective, durable, forgiving of minor gradient changes and quick to install, there are security tweaks that can be made to make it a better barrier. Here is our list of the most important things you can do to beef up the security of your chain link fence installation:
1. Know Your Gauge
Chain link fence fabric comes in various gauges, or wire diameters. The lower the number, the thicker the wire is. So a 6 gauge chain link is much thicker than a 9 gauge fabric, with 11 gauge being suitable only for light residential applications.
2. Choose the Right Selvage
Chain link fence fabric is woven with various selvage options. Fence material for residential projects and public spaces that will be 6' high or lower will usually be knuckle-knuckle, which means that the top and bottom selvage have wire ends that are bent over completely, and have no sharp ends visible. This is important for safety.
Security fence installations of chain link fence usually make use of either knuckle-barb or in rare cases, barb-barb. These selvages are twisted vertically, creating a "barb" that protrudes about an inch above the top of the fabric. When installed correctly, this adds a little extra security along fence top (and sometimes bottom) rails.
3. Consider a Bottom Rail...
Fences aren't always breached by climbing over them. Sometimes, people choose to go under them, and, particularly in older chain link fences where the bottom of the fence has had a few years of snow load against them, it may become easier to do this over time. Adding a bottom rail to your fence creates a rigid edge that's much harder to manipulate.
4. ...Or Buried Mesh
If a bottom rail is not an option for your chain link fence, burying a foot or so of mesh in the ground can create an effective underground barrier, and can help to keep smaller burrowing animals out too! Buried mesh does increase the labour to install a chain link fence, but it's a lot easier to do at the same time the fence is installed than after it's in place, so if you think this is an option, consider it early!
5. A Secure Structure
If you look at two chain link fences, they might seem to be made from the same components, but there's a lot going on under the surface that you don't see.
One of the major differences is the pipe or tubing that makes up the structure. Residential and light commercial chain link fences have structures made from lightweight tubing with thin walls. Industrial and security chain link fences are made from much heavier pipe, up to Schedule 40 or SS40 in some cases. It may look the same from outside, but it's a whole lot tougher on the inside!
6. Closer Posts
This is not a common change to chain link fences, but if you are at all concerned that people may cut the fence and drive through the opening (which is usually 10' wide, and can accomodate smaller cars!), you might consider spacing posts closer together. Post spacing of 7 or 8' will make it a lot harder to access any site using this sneaky trick!
7. Steel Fittings
Another good way to beef up the security on your chain link fence is to choose steel fittings. These fittings are a little tougher than cast aluminum, but that's not what makes them a higher security option. The reason high security fencing like prison fencing uses steel fittings is that they can be tack welded in place after the installation is complete - making it much harder for people to tamper with the fence.
8. Barbed Wire and Razor Coils
Razor coils are not legal on most sites in Canada - but if they are, they're a very effective detterent and barrier.
Barbed wire, however, can be installed on most fences, and three or six strands above a chain link fence offer just a little extra protection, and a little more of a reason not to climb the fence!
9. Fence Detection Systems
There is no fence on earth that is completely impervious - or wall for that matter. However, that's not what fences are for. They're supposed to slow down people trying to gain access or exit, and give you time to respond. Another way to make your chain link fence more secure is to install a fence detection system, which works by detecting vibrations on the fence. These systems can be linked to an alarm system, and when the fence is tampered with, the alarm will sound.
10. A Different Aperture
One of the best ways to increase security when installing a chain link fence is to choose a smaller aperture. We're one of the few manufacturers in Canada who make a wide range of chain link fabrics, including so called "mini mesh." A smaller mesh aperture or opening makes it harder to cut and climb the fence.
Rite-Way Fencing has been manufacturing, supplying and installing chain link and other fence systems for decades. We're members of the chain link fence manufacturer's institute, and we weave our own chain link in our Calgary shop.
If you need a chain link fence - high security or otherwise - reach out to our team to get more information, and get the right fence for the job.
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