Chain link fences are a fantastic option for fencing for more than one reason. They are cost-effective, as the low-end material is only around $5 per foot and installation costing about $10 per linear foot. They also are much easy to maintain, so not only will your wallet thank you for your choice, but so will future you when it comes time for everyone else to re-paint or re-build their wood fencing.
To accomplish this, though, you might need a few tips on how to properly purchase and install your chain link fence in a way that will allow it to stay sturdy for stable for years to come. Keep scrolling for our top 10 ways to stabilize your chain link fence.
1. Get it Professionally Installed
A lot can go wrong when you decided to install a chain link fence on your own. Unless you are someone who has experience in construction, fencing, or large DIY projects, you most likely will end up making a mistake.
This is especially true as a lot of things can go wrong with chain link fence installations. Though relatively easy to maintain in comparison to other types of fencing, chain link fences require a few more steps.
Doing one of those steps incorrectly can lead to uneven alignment or spacing of the top raise, hinges that don’t line up with one another, or asymmetrical gaps between posts.
This can leave you with a wonky-looking fence, and eventually a bill for the correction of your mistakes. When it comes to large-scale builds like chain link fencing, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.
If you are still set on building it yourself, though, be sure to follow detailed guides such as in the video listed below so you don’t miss a step.
2. Anchor the Posts in Concrete
Though this may seem like a no-brainer when installing a chain-link fence, it’s actually common for people to skip it. In the long run, though it may cost a few pennies now, installing your posts in concrete can help them to last years longer than they would normally.
This is especially important when you may have soil underneath your feet that moves a lot because of moisture fluctuations. To keep your fence from becoming damaged from the ground up, just anchor those posts in concrete.
3. Use Steel Fittings
Steel fittings are a great option that helps in making the bindings of your fence even stronger than would be normally. Steel is stronger than cast aluminum, and the fittings can be tack welded into place after installation.
High-security prisons use the addition of steel fittings to aid in security as it’s much harder for someone to tamper with welded-on steel than aluminum, but they also can help in making the fence a much more stable structure.
4. Say No to Vines on Your Fence
Though growing vines for flowers on fencing has slowly become a popular way of making your backyard a little more aesthetically pleasing, it can also have unintended consequences.
Though vines and flowers are pretty, it’s best to plant them elsewhere. In the long term, the underground sections of vines and plants that grow strong can end up lifting a fence and moving it. This can cause warping throughout the fence, depending on how much your greenery has grown underneath it.
Along with the natural damage that heavy snow has on chain link, it can lead to your fence panels lifting and bowing. Beyond that, when plants are strong enough they can break through the metal at the bottom of your fence, leaving you with sharp areas that kids and pets are sure to find.
5. Don’t Skip Using Tension Wire
Tension is highly important when it comes to keeping a structure standing and sturdy. This is especially essential when it comes to chain link fencing, as time and nature have a way of adding a little extra wear and weight.
Beyond that, tension wire is extremely easy to install, especially if you are paying someone else to do it. If you are installing it yourself, follow the guide in the video listed above by attaching the correctly measured amount to the top and bottom before you apply the fabric to your structure.
This will help immensely in keeping your fence up sturdy and standing.
6. Use Tent Stakes
Tent stakes are a great option for when you need to reinforce the bottom of your chain link fence, making it a little more sturdy. What’s also great about tent stakes is that they are extremely cheap, and can be found at any outdoor or hardware store.
All you need is a hammer and your stakes, and to place them as close to the fence as you can. Hammer them in with the spikes facing away from the fence until the top of the stake is almost fully in the ground.
Once you’ve done that, just try pushing the fence near the area you stakes down and see if it moves at all. If it can handle a little pressure, you’ve accomplished your goal.
7. Consider Installing Buried Mesh
Chain link fencing is a fantastic option for when you have pets or domestic animals like chickens, pigs, or goats. Unfortunately, pets have a tendency to want to explore outside the confines of your backyard, so if they can’t go through a fence, they will usually attempt going underneath it.
This is why installing a material underneath your chain link fence is extremely important if you want to keep your animals secure, and your fence safe from structural damage.
Mesh like chicken wire is an easy and cheap way of not only keeping your pets safe but from deterring them from digging any further. This is especially true when it comes to animals like dogs or pigs, who have a talent for digging.
8. Build with Thicker Materials
Though most chain link fencing looks the same from the outside, though certain fences are a bit stronger than others. This is mostly due to the thickness and weight of the materials.
When shopping for materials, it’s good to understand how builders measure the thickness of chain link fencing. A good rule of thumb for this is to know that the lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire of a chain-link fence is.
Essentially, the lower the gauge number, the thicker and stronger the steel. A 14-inch gauge is on the lighter side. 11-inch gauge is usually used for temporary fencing, and the 9-inch gauge is usually found in residential and commercial areas seeing as it is longer lasting. 6-gauge is really only used for high-risk security purposes.
Using a thicker gauge when it comes to chain link can save you a lot of money in the long run as it lasts the longest, lasting at around 15-20 years, whether coated or uncoated for protection from outside elements.
9. Use Wire Ties
Wire ties are a fantastic way of keeping your chain link fence sturdy, even though exterior wear. Costing pennies and extremely easy to install, wire ties are used to attach the fabric of the fence to the metal structure. The tighter the ties are installed, the tauter the fabric of the fence is, meaning there are fewer vibrations and less wear.
For a more aesthetically pleasing look, consider self-locking fabric bands, which are easier to install and blend in well with the look of the fence. For more high-security fencing, you can always use traditional ties, which are also called J-hooks because of their shape.
Use pliers for both of these options so you can easily manipulate the metal to shape into the fence so that no pets or animals accidentally harm themselves on any sharp corners.
Remember that the more ties you use, the better. They can be added every 18-24 inches apart to create a sturdy, unyielding fence that will last much longer than a regular chain link fence.
10. Use Coating that Holds Up in Harsh Weather
Harsh weather and nature are a fence’s worst enemy. Thankfully, with chain link, you don’t have to worry about how your weather will affect wood or concrete.
But that’s not to say that weather doesn’t have an effect on the chain link. Heavy snowfall can add unwanted pressure on the structure of a chain-link fence, and what happens underground can displace it all together.
Thankfully, there are ways of defending against that. It all depends on our climate. If you live in an area where it’s sunny for most of the year, look for heat-sealed chain link fencing, which will keep your chain link from absorbing too much of the damaging effects of the sun. This also will help in keeping your fence from getting too hot and burning people and pets who touch it.
If you live in a much wetter climate, where it rains or snows a lot, be sure to coat your fence in a water-resistant coating. This will do wonders in keeping it safe from rust and corrosion.
For fencing that is resistant to all types of deteriorating weather, be sure to choose stainless steel, which though the most expensive, are the most durable.
Lastly, make sure you maintain your chain link fence through the use of regular cleaning. Thankfully, unlike wood fencing which requires a painting or staining every few years, all it really takes to keep metal clean and undamaged is the use of some soapy water and maybe a pressure washer.