Chain Link FAQ | FAQ INDEX
What are the differences between the various grades of fence?
Chain link fence.
As you may have noticed, chain link fabric, framework, and fittings are all available in
various grades, gauges, and with different types of finishes. Briefly, I will
attempt to differentiate between a few of the options.
Residential Grades "Good/ Light Duty": Framework
(terminal posts, line posts, and top rail) The minimum we carry in framework is .065 wall
thickness (16 ga.) tubing. This is typically the minimum any professional fence
company would offer. There are cheaper options on the market, however with all the
hard work involved with installing fences, the cheaper, thinner pipe is hardly worth the
effort. A cheaper pipe for use for framework for example is a .035 wall thickness.
This is typically found at do-it-yourself type stores and chains nationwide.
Most of this type framework one can bend over one's knee. We suggest 2-1/2"
(2-3/8" actual) O.D. (outside diameter) for terminal posts, i.e. end, corner, and
gate posts. For line posts, or the intermediate posts as they are sometimes called,
we recommend 1-5/8" O.D. posts for up to 5' high fences. 6' high chain link
fences should be installed with a 2" O.D. . 1-3/8" O.D. top rail is
sufficient for most residential jobs. We typically do not recommend tubing for
fences higher than 6'.
Residential Chain Link Fabric/ Mesh/ Wire "Good/ Light
Duty": Most do-it-yourself centers offer a 12 or 12-1/2 gauge chain
link fabric. Typically this has a 2-1/2" mesh. We offer at minimum an 11 ga.
fabric which has an approx. 2" mesh. With chain link wire, the smaller the
number of gauge - the thicker, stronger it is. Although a 1-2 gauge difference does
not appear to be much, experience would teach you otherwise. Not only is one
stronger than the other, but the galvanized coating is much better on thicker wire.
The thicker the wire, the longer it may be hot dipped in zinc without melting which
creates the rust prohibiting galvanized coating. This principle also applies to the
pipe framework. The cost difference between what one might find at a do-it-yourself
center and what we carry isn't much and well worth the investment.
Residential/ Light Commercial Framework "Better/ Medium
Duty": We recommend SS20 framework for residential customers wanting a
higher quality fence which will last longer. It is also a cost efficient solution
for light duty commercial use. SS20 framework is manufactured domestically by Allied
Pipe and Conduit. It is 30% stronger and 20% lighter than mill structural pipe.
It also has a far superior finish than domestic or import mill pipe. We do
also carry import and domestic structural mill pipe (schedule 20, 40 for example).
The savings may be approx. 10% and is fine for fence use. Many of our customers who
need to fence miles may prefer domestic pipe for economical reasons. The diameters
for posts and top rail are the same as above. However you may use SS20 for heights
above 6'. It would be unusual to use SS20 for heights above 8'. 7' and 8'
high fences will often feature a 3" (2-7/8" actual) terminal post and
2-1/2" (2-3/8'' actual) line posts. More information regarding SS20 is found
online here: http://www.hooverfence.com/catalog/ss20_spec.htm
Residential/ Light Commercial Chain Link Fabric/ Mesh/ Wire
"Best/ Heavy Duty": 9 gauge is the preferred gauge for use
with finer residential and light commercial use. This is typically what one will
find at public facilities, airports, and commercial locations.
Commercial Framework "Best/ Heavy Duty":
SS40 framework is far superior to any and all previously mentioned framework
options. It is also manufactured by Allied and advertised as being 30% stronger and
20% lighter than mill structural pipe. More information is found here: http://www.hooverfence.com/catalog/ss40_spec.htm
. Please note both the pages I've mentioned for Allied pipe have a
specification/ comparison page for details. These pages may be visited by clicking
Additional Notes Pertaining to Baseball/ Softball Field
Fences: We suggest all SS40 pipe for backstops. 'Hanging Canopies'
may use a lighter gauge to cut down on weight. Fabric should all be 9 gauge minimum
to withstand public and sporting abuse. It is not unusual for the bottom portion of
backstops which receive the majority of abuse to utilize stronger 6 ga. mesh. The
diameter of posts to use will depend on height of backstop and other structural details.
We would quote a 20' backstop with 4" terminal posts. All horizontal
rails and bracing should be 1-5/8" diameter. More information on typical backstops
may be found here: http://www.hooverfence.com/backstop/
. Sideline fencing is often 6' high or taller. Dugouts and player benches are often
located here. Many quality fields will have mid and bottom rails for the sideline
fences for additional strength. Outfield fences rarely have mid or bottom rails.
Many are only 4' high and most have bottom tension wire. Knuckle x knuckle chain link
fabric is the norm for public facilities. This simply means the top and bottom of
the mesh is bent over "knuckled" so that sharp ends are not exposed.
Knuckle x twist means the mesh will have bent over on one end and twisted to a point on
the other and is typically used for security fences. The twist portion may be
installed up or down. Check out this page for more info and a simple b/w picture: http://www.hooverfence.com/catalog/cpage7.htm
. Chain link has never been called 'high-tensile' to my knowledge. 'High-Tensile' is a
type of agricultural fence which is usually one single or multiple wires strung
horizontally for cows and horses. Many simple tie white scarves to this fence so
that animals can see it. Some styles of high tensile have a white PVC band-like
material to them. I doubt you will be needing this for a baseball field! To
conclude, SS40 is the fence industry's premium pipe. If your city's budget permits,
we highly recommend using SS40 for all the framework. Using 2-1/2" terminals
and 1-5/8" or 2" posts for the 4' high fence is sufficient. Use 3"
terminals on the 8' high fence and 2-1/2" line posts for the best performance.
9ga. galvanized wire is the norm, knuckle x knuckle (abbreviated as KXK). Consider
6 ga. for the bottom portion of the backstop, mid rails for sideline fences if they
exist, and bottom wire for outfield fences. Larger gates will have larger gate
posts. There is very little price difference between a 10' and 12' gate; most of the
cost is associated with labor. Assuming this is a double gate, 8' high, the normal
3" O.D. posts will suffice. You may read over the page found here for some
information regarding gates: http://www.hooverfence.com/general_gate_information.htm
. Although this article was written primarily for vinyl gates, the information
regarding sizing is universal.
Hopefully this has helped differentiate between various grades of
chain link and framework on the market.
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