If you have had a chain link fence installed on your premises before, you probably know that they come with definite specifications designed to meet a common market. That means you’re bound to find it hard or generally impossible to tweak your fence a little after a few years of using it, to meet any changes in your area or personal needs.
While fence specifications may not change overnight, buyers’ requirements as regards aesthetics, security and size of premises to be fenced continue shifting every season. Most of these can only be satisfied if a little customisation is done. And while it seems impossible, the good news is that you can still customise you fence after you have installed it.
What are chain link fences?
Chain link fences are used almost everywhere. Homes, schools, and sporting fields use them, as do country parks, farms and airports. Their popularity over the years has increased courtesy of their affordability and many other advantages.
Chain wire fencing, also known as chain link fencing, involves the use of galvanised wires or mesh and linked poles/posts to create a fence around a designated area. The posts are dug into the ground and strengthened with concrete before attaching the wires/mesh.
The mesh is twisted and interlocked to form a diamond or square shape which can then be finished with a barb at the top or a knuckle at the bottom. The diamond or square pitch ranges from 25 to 100mm, depending on the supplier and the buyer’s needs.
After planting the posts, the chain wires/mesh are connected starting from the corner posts and passed straight through the intermediate posts until they reach the end posts which are usually connected to the gate. The wires in chain link fences can be made of zinc, aluminium or stainless steel, with each having its own distinct advantages over the other.
Different ways to customise chain-link fence
- Top it off with razor wire or rolled barbed wire for more enhanced protection.
Razor wire is made of sharp razor-like clippings joined to the wire at regular intervals, while barbed wire is made of pointed barbs incorporated at intervals of 100mm, and designed to injure intruders of any sort. Both razor and barbed wire can be rolled up at the top of the fence or laid out as straight horizontal wires connected along the fence from one post to another. For those with security as a higher priority, you can always have your razor or barbed wire connected to an electric power source, just in case.
- Add a coil to the bottom of the fence to control in and out movement during windy days.
The coil is connected directly to the poles and has to be stretched out and tight for maximum effect. For longer fences, this coil is placed before the fencing itself is connected across the poles. That way, you can make your fence more stable and resistant to extreme weather conditions.
- Install your chain-link fence on top of an already built short concrete/ brick wall.
This is really only possible if you haven’t installed the fence on the premises yet. While constructing the short wall, the fence posts are incorporated into it at regular intervals.
The wire mesh is then attached to the poles to make it a complete double wall-chain link fence. This kind of fence adds to the beauty of the place, and provides double strength and more durability. You also require less wire mesh since you only get to cover half of the actual height.
- Elongate the height of the chain link fence to allow for growth of climbing vines and more sports.
Chain wire rolls are distributed or sold in specifies heights that range from 600 to 4200mm, depending on the manufacturers and supplier. You may, after installing the fence, find its height to be rather inadequate for your premises’ requirements and desire a change.
While most suppliers will offer additional wire in regulated measurements, your needs may still fail to be satisfied. In the case of pole and fence elongation, getting the poles out of the ground and replacing them with longer ones can be quite tedious. The good news is that you can still increase the height of your fence, especially if your posts are not made of concrete.
- First, you have to estimate the new height you want and then measure and record the outer diameter of the corner, terminal and end fence poles.
- Purchase additional poles of a longer size and a diameter wider than the outer diameter you previously recorded.
- Remove the wire mesh from the poles around the fence and then slide the new poles over the old ones so that the latter are fully covered within the former.
- Tie down the new poles to the ground to prevent movement and then re-join the wire mesh and bottom coil onto the new poles. You can also purchase additional wire mesh to cover up the new space above the older fence.
- Replace the steel corner and end posts with wooden posts and substitute wood for the top and bottom railings for additional beauty.
You can do this if you no longer want to have steel bars or if you cannot afford them. The main risk here is possible destruction by termites, but that can be combated with professional wood treatment methods. Also, the lower railings do not have to directly touch the ground.
- Incorporate another rail at the top of your existing chain link fence
You can contact your supplier for this or add it yourself. After having it added, the wire mesh from the bottom will only run from the bottom to the lower railing while the top (new) railing can be used for attaching razor wire or sharp edges for increased protection.
- Add a layer of paint or a PVC coating to the fence.
Both add to its aesthetics. Paint’s bright colours and PVC’s shiny black or green surface make the fence look beautiful from miles away. If the fence is being used at a home in a private neighbourhood or a children’s playground, this can be an extra advantage.
Additionally, both materials provide protection from rusting, which is a common problem in many parts of the country. The paint may crack and peel after 3 to 5 years in the ever changing Australian weather, which calls for regular maintenance in form of repainting. PVC is designed to last much longer though.
- Fix slats into the fence for more privacy.
While chain-link fences are noted for their appearance, they are not exactly private, courtesy of their extreme transparency. To control this, you can fix small privacy slats into the side of the fence or grow tall flowers to make the lower fence parts opaque.
NB: It is important to check first whether the materials you intend to use for installation of the chain-link conform to the Australian Standards for Chain-link Fabric Fencing and Gates.