Now here’s a question we’re surprised we don’t get more often: What is a chain-link fence made of?
Everybody is familiar with the chain-link fence. We see them all over the place. They’re in neighborhoods and business districts. They surround manufacturing plants in commercial and industrial areas on the outskirts of towns.
So what are chain-link fences made out of? Typically they’re constructed with galvanized or LLDPE-coated steel wire. (Note: LLDPE stands for “linear low-density polyethylene”; it’s a polymer, the properties and creation of which are really beyond the bounds of this short blog post.)
What is galvanized steel, and why is it used for chain-link fence construction?
A description of the properties of galvanized steel actually answers both those questions at once.
Galvanization is the process of adding a protective coating of zinc to steel in order to prevent rust and corrosion. In the case of chain-link fence steel, the parts of the fence are hot-dipped — i.e., submerged in a molten zinc bath.
Cool, huh? You probably never knew that your friendly neighborhood coated chain-link fence system went through such a dramatic process to bring it into existence!
A Brief History of Chain-Link Fencing
A British man named Charles Barnard is credited with building the first machine to net wire together. (He based his invention on cloth weaving machines.) This was in 1844, and it didn’t take long for the idea to catch on. Soon, property owners the world over were clamoring for some of Barnard’s “wire netting” to use as fence material.
Nowadays, we’re accustomed to seeing chain-link fences in the usual places — around homes for example, even if unconventionally installed, like in the famous Gehry Residence in Santa Monica, California. They’re also used in sport, such as for baseball backstops and wrestling cage matches!
According to the American Fence Association (AFA), “Traditional, metallic-coated chain-link fence remains one of the most effective, economical fencing barriers on the market today and is the number one selling fence system in the world.”
Chain-link fence is known for its strength and durability, says the AFA. They provide a cost-effective way “to protect children, control pets and safeguard commercial property and assets in both suburban and urban settings.”
It’s also old enough to be considered historic, at least in one Alexandria, Virginia, neighborhood. As reported by the Washington Post, “some homeowners in Old Town Alexandria were surprised to learn recently that their chain-link fences were historic and that removing them could put them in hot water with the city’s historic preservation office.”
It should be noted here that there are also vinyl-coated chain-link fences. These are still made out of galvanized steel, but they’re coated in vinyl. Both types (galvanized and vinyl-coated) are usually set in concrete footing to secure them.
From hot zinc to hot water, chain-link fences form the backdrop to so many activities that we probably take them for granted. And now you can impress your friends with your knowledge of their construction and history.
Need work done on your fence — or a new fence altogether? Get in touch with Pacific Fence & Wire today! We look forward to speaking with you.