Chain Link Fence
Chain link fencing is not the subject at most cocktail parties to be sure! But if you are looking for a durable fence that can withstand enormous amounts of abuse, this is the material to go with. If you don't believe me, simply visit a local playground or school yard. Invariably you will see chain link fencing that has been tortured by the local youngster population.
Get the Right Stuff
If you were a dishonest person, chain link sales might be attractive to you. I can just see a sleazy salesperson talking with customers and showing them the lightweight chain link and the thin wall fence posts. When you hold and touch samples, they seem substantial. But once installed the chain link fence doesn't seem like it will hold up for long.
The fencing you see at city playgrounds is industrial strength so to speak. You may not want it, but there are grades in between the lightweight material and the heavy duty material. If you are lucky, the fence dealer may have small test sections set up that allow you to do side by side comparisons of the actual full size fence or chain link panels. This is the only way I could make an informed decision. If your dealer doesn't have full size panels, then ask for addresses of places where different fences have been installed. Go touch and feel the different fence gauges and fabrics on a short road trip.
Doing it Yourself?
Are you thinking of installing a chain link fence yourself? If so, you need to get a very handy pamphlet from the Chain Link Fence Manufacturers Institute (www.chainlinkinfo.org). Go to their web site and find Eight Steps to Chain-Link Fence Installation. It's available for free download in PDF format.
Here are some key points you will find in the DIY pamphlet:
1. Get a survey done! Are you thinking of installing the fence right up against the property line? Think again! What about the fence post holes? You can't dig on your neighbor's property! Plan to keep the fence a minimum of 4 inches on your property. Six inches might even be better.
2. Set all terminal posts first. These posts are the ones that turn corners or make grade transitions. Once these are set you can then calculate even distances between terminals for your regular line posts. The pamphlet has a handy table that gives you the distances for even spacing.
3. Install line posts. If your lot is level or slopes evenly in the same plane, then you simply string a line between terminal posts. If the ground between the terminal posts rises and falls slightly then the line posts must stick up the same distance from the top of the ground. This will allow the top of the fence to be parallel with the ground. This always looks best.
4. Be sure the concrete around the posts is not too wet and that the concrete is humped with the highest point being at the posts. You want rain water to flow off the concrete, not puddle there!
5. Install all of the fittings on the posts.
6. Install the top rails. This is easy!
7. Install the fabric and stretch it.
I have made it sound easier than it really is, but the pamphlet fills in with some very good detailed tips. Like anything else, you simply need to take your time!