How to Convert a Chain Link Fence Into a Privacy Fence

Chain link fences are great for a simple perimeter. But what about privacy? 

To convert a chain link fence into a privacy fence buy and install one of the following options:

  • Vinyl Screen
  • Mesh Screen
  • Faux Natural Hedge
  • Plastic Slats
  • Privacy Tape or Weave

There are various ways to change your plain fence into something more private, so follow us we address the different ways to do so.

Using a Vinyl Screen

Vinyl privacy screens are a great option when you want or require 100% privacy and don’t want anyone looking in. Because of this, though, there is no air flow coming through.

This could be problematic if you live in an area with frequent high winds as the wind could catch the screen and rock the fence. Over time, this could make your fence come down.

Besides that, these are a great option for complete and total privacy!

Where to Find It

These vinyl screens are a bit harder to come by since they’re 99%-100% blockage. Here’s one on Amazon with 4 1/2 stars and 3000+ reviews.

This one is from Fence Screen and provides 100% blockage.

How to Install a Vinyl Screen

Once the chain link fence is installed, placing the vinyl screen on top of the links is fairly simple.

Whatever you order should come with instructions, but generally, this is what needs to be done.

  1. Line up the smooth since against the fence
  2. Thread fasteners such as zip ties through each grommet, starting vertically.
  3. Continue to fasten zip ties through the grommets across the length of the fence, stretching as you go
  4. Secure the bottom using the same method.

Here’s a good video with instructions for the specific brand listed above.

Benefits of a vinyl screen

The biggest benefit to adding a 100% blockout screen to a chain link fence is obvious: privacy. There’s no way anybody can see through it and it gives you that closed off feel from anything around you.

Another perk is customization. These screens usually come in a few different colors and you can choose which one you like best. Usually the darker the color, the more privacy you get.

Using a Mesh Screen

Mesh screens have the same concept as vinyl screens, they just provide a bit less privacy. These typically don’t rise above 90% blockage so you can see through them a bit.

Where to find it

There are a plethora of mesh screens on Amazon, you just need to decide which one is best for you! The Windscreen4less (Amazon link) has fantastic reviews. Zimo (Amazon link) offers a great screen one as well.

There are plenty of options for mesh privacy screens, so don’t only look on Amazon. Do your research and find one that will best suit your needs.

How to Install a Mesh Privacy Screen

Installing a mesh screen on top of a chain link fence is pretty simple and similar to a vinyl screen!

Typically, the screen will come with zip ties or some other sort of tie to keep the screen in place.

You’ll want to lay the screen out on the ground and start on one end. Attach that end to the fence using the ties provided (or you can buy your own zip ties, or even use metal ties).

The screen has metal grommets on the top and bottom every few inches apart; don’t feel like you have to put a zip tie in every grommet. If you place the zip ties about every 2-3 feet apart, that should be sufficient.

Pro Tip:

Pull the screen tight between each zip tie so it doesn’t sag or wrinkle.

Do this until the entire fence, or the desired section, is covered with the mesh screen. Once the top is tied down, do the same to the bottom.

Benefits of a mesh privacy screen

The nice thing about mesh privacy screens is just that: they’re mesh. Yes, you can see through them a bit more than the vinyl, but air can also pass through.

This is extremely helpful when undesirable weather passes through. There’s a much lesser chance your fence will come crashing down.

Using a Faux Natural Hedge Screen

This type of screen is a good option if you want a more natural and green look. It’s usually made of either faux leaves or vines or grass looking material and comes in either rolls or squares.

Where to Find It

You can purchase these on any fence or screen website, or on Amazon. The most popular ones are the Best Choice Products Screen (Amazon link) and Windscreen4less Screen (Amazon link).

How to Install Faux Natural Privacy Screens

These are a bit more tricky than the vinyl or mesh privacy screens because they don’t always have a specified place to attach them to the chain link fence. But, they still do follow the same pattern for installation.

Zip ties are usually provided with these screens, but you need to get creative with placement. Due to the material, the zip ties can be hidden pretty easily so you aren’t confined to just placing them on the top and bottom of the screens.

If you don’t want them to move at all, you can place them in the middle of the screens, as well. This method just take a bit more planning.

Benefits of a faux natural screen

Installing a faux natural privacy screen has lots of benefits, just like any privacy screen.

These natural ones, though, provide a bit more esthetic and beauty to the fence. Rather than just having a black, gray, or white screen covering the chain link fence, there’s a beautiful sea of green leaves and vines.

Granted, they are faux so they come with certain drawbacks, but from afar, it usually looks pretty natural and can compliment the esthetic of your yard very well.

Using a Plastic Slat Screen

This type of privacy screen isn’t really a screen, at all. These plastic slats are sold in strips and are inserted into the chain links on the fence. They usually run vertically into the links and help provide some privacy.

Where to Find It

This type of privacy screen is probably the most readily available since it’s the most commonly used. It’s fairly inexpensive and super easy to install.

All major outdoor retailers sell them: Home Depot, Lowe’s, Ace Hardware, etc. You can also find them online, just do a general internet search for them.

Here’s a link to Home Depot’s website. These ones come in lots of different colors:

These ones can be found on Amazon here. Again, they come in lots of different colors so they’re easily customizable.

How to Install Plastic Slats

This type of privacy screen is fairly simple to install. The slats are all separate (obviously) since they each slide into the individual links on the fence.

Along with the slats, you’ll need at least a bottom stabilizer – this is the piece the slats stand in so they don’t fall out the bottom of the chain link fence.

The stabilizer slat slides along the bottom of the fence, open side up. Then the slats are installed vertically into each column of the chain link fence. .

Once the plastic slats are pushed through the chain links, the bottom of the slats snap into the stabilizer slat, which should have already been installed. The slats simply slide and lock into place in the stabilizer slat.

Benefits of Plastic Slats

There are so many benefits to choosing the plastic privacy slats on a chain link fence, but I think the best one is ease: the components are easy to find, easy to install and takes very little time and experience.

It’s also fairly inexpensive, especially compared to the faux natural screens. The plastic slats aren’t as beautiful and fun to look at, but they sure are easy!

Using Privacy Tape

Also known as a privacy weave, this type of privacy screen is very similar to using the plastic privacy slats.

The weave comes in a roll and has to be cut to size, depending on the area of fence it’s covering.

Where to Find It

Since using this type of privacy screen is fairly common and easy, it can be found almost everywhere, as well. Here’s an option from Lowe’s that comes in 5 different colors.

This one can be found on Amazon and comes in 15 different colors so you have tons of options.

How to Install a Fence Weave

Installing a fence weave is pretty simple, actually! Since it does come in a roll, it does require a bit of measuring before hand so you know how long to cut the strips needed to cover the fence links.

This type of privacy screen is installed diagonally rather than horizontally and is secure with pins, or brads, on the top and bottom of the strips.

  1. Weave the full roll or cut pieces in and out of the chain links.
  2. Fold over the weave over on top and secure the pin
  3. Repeat same process on the bottom of the weave and fence.

Here’s a great, simple video on how, exactly, to install a fence weave:

Benefits of a Fence Weave

The benefits of installing a fence weave are basically the same as choosing the plastic slats: they’re easily found, easily installed, and fairly inexpensive.

The securing pins, or brads, used with the fence weave makes install even easier and faster. There’s no tying or force involved.

No matter what type of privacy screen you choose to install, you’ll be happy with the results since they all function in the same way. It really just matters what esthetic you’re trying to achieve.

Fence Frenzy

We at Fence Frenzy absolutely love taking on the challenge of building, or even restoring, a fence. Especially elaborate and exotic fence designs that really make us scratch our heads! We're happy to share everything we've learned with you.

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