So you’ve decided to install a fence to keep your family and possessions safe from unsavory elements. If so, know this: Just any old fence won’t do.
Choosing the right security fence is considerably more challenging than choosing one for purely cosmetic purposes. You have to have the right material, it must be the right height, and it must have all the necessary safety features without looking like it’s encircling a prison.
In this article, we’ll tell you what you need to know when choosing the best fence for your family’s security.
- What is a Security Fence?
- Characteristics of a Good Security Fence
- Best Fence Types for Security?
- Pros and Cons of a Security Fence?
- FAQs about How to Choose the Best Fence for Security
What is a Security Fence?
A security fence is simply an enclosure that prevents unauthorized access to a home, business or property. What makes it different from a privacy fence, though?
Keep in mind that no fence is intruder-proof. Given enough time, a motivated bad guy will find a way to breach your defenses. Rather, a security fence is intended to deter the average baddy and slow or frustrate the truly determined ones. The right fence and features will determine how successful you are at deterring and frustrating these miscreants.
Characteristics of a Good Security Fence
These are the features you should look for when shopping for security fences. Keep in mind that your specific needs and personal aesthetic come into play as well.
In general, however, a security fence must be:
Concealing, or Transparent
There are benefits to a fence that blocks the view of your property from the road. Security fences that obstruct a passerby’s view prevent bad guys from getting a good look into your home and your valuables.
On the other hand, a fence that obstructs a bad guy’s view into your property also obstructs your view of what’s occurring outside your property. This can be an advantage to stealthy intruders or thieves. In some cases, you may be better served by a see-through fence like chain link or wrought iron. Bad guys often lose their nerve if they think they’ll be spotted. No, a see-through fence doesn’t offer the privacy you desire, but it’s a trade-off that some safety-conscious homeowners are willing to accept.
Which one is best? Both have advantages. It depends on your property, your security aims and more.
When it comes to fence security, the taller the better. A dependable security fence is usually at least six feet high. The taller the fence, the more difficult it is to scale.
Hard to Climb
Speaking of being difficult to scale, a decent security fence will be vertically oriented, meaning there won’t be many horizontal bars, rails, or other footholds that make it easy for trespassers to climb.
If you do have horizontal railings, the spaces between them should be narrow enough that intruders can’t use them for climbing. If you decide to install a chain link fence, residential versions have smaller holes that make it difficult for climbers to get a good purchase.
Of course, any fence that features spikes or points on top may also deter climbers. No one wants to be impaled in the act of trespassing.
Difficult to Cut or Breach
Intruders determined to get onto your property will look for weak spots, gaps, and scalable sections. If your fence isn’t flush with the ground, someone may be able to sneak under it in certain places. Be sure to fortify these areas.
In addition, damaged fencing can present opportunities for intruders to break through, go under or slither through openings. Check your fence periodically and make necessary repairs without delay.
Outfitted With Locks
All gates should have locks. Whether the lock is mechanical or self-latching, you’ll want to ensure that strangers can’t easily reach through openings in the fence and unlock it themselves.
Best Fence Types for Security?
Standard chain-link fences provide some degree of protection but aren’t especially great for security because they’re so easy to climb. However, you can purchase residential chain link fences with holes that are too small for climbing, or you can modify your chain link fence to make it more impassable.
For instance, you can add barbed wire or razor wire coils to the top of the fence or use a bottom rail to the lower edge to make it more sturdy and inaccessible. Adding slats or fence tape between the chain link holes, often used to increase privacy, can make the links more challenging to grab and hold.
Palisade and Wrought Iron
Palisade fences provide a high degree of security and are nearly impossible to climb. They typically contain steel or wrought iron pales, rails, and posts bolted together, often with sharp prongs on top. Two types of pales are available, W-shaped and D-shaped. The former is used for high security, and the latter is used for low to medium security and ornamental fencing.
Many homeowners choose palisade fences because they are so forbidding in appearance yet aesthetically pleasing at the same time. Plus, they’re easy enough to install for some, and you can do so on uneven terrain.
High-Security Ornamental Fence
A high-security ornamental fence is an upgrade on your standard ornamental fence as it’s made from thicker, tougher metal. Wrought iron and palisade fences can be ornamental. Usually, they have some spikes at the top, and the fence infills are close, so they will not have any gaps for scaling.
Another trendy ornamental type is aluminum fencing, which is more flexible, easier to work with, and cheaper than iron. However, installing aluminum fences sometimes requires special tools, and calling a professional might be preferable.
Welded Mesh Fencing
Welded wire mesh fencing provides a high degree of security because it’s hard to climb and hard to breach with a wire cutter. Welded mesh panels stand alone without horizontal rail support because they’re so rigid, thanks to the thickness of their wire and how tiny their holes are.
Wood, Vinyl, and Composite
These materials are generally reserved for privacy fences, but they also provide a decent amount of security, often more cheaply than their metal counterparts. Whether you choose wood, vinyl (PVC), or composite might require further research to learn about their differences.
Block, brick or concrete walls are terrific for security. The higher, the better. But even relatively low walls at least present an obstacle for a would-be thief, and thieves prefer a clear path to success.
For added security, you can modify these fences with spiked attachments at the top.
Pros and Cons of a Security Fence?
- Crime Deterrence
- Insurance Discounts
- Accessibility Control
- Increased Property Value
- Extra Trimming around Fence Edges
FAQs about How to Choose the Best Fence for Security
Depending on what type of gate you install, it will usually add $175 to $1,200 to the cost of your fence.
Yes, fence alarms, surveillance cameras and other deterrents can provide additional levels of security.
Unless you live in a rural area, installing an electric fence at your home is probably illegal. Even in rural areas, your electric fence cannot legally touch a roadway, park, or other private property like a neighbor’s. You’ll need to stick with non-electric fencing options.
Check your HOA’s rules to ensure you can build one in your area. Also, your city may require a permit and may have rules or zoning restrictions regarding fences.
Building a tall fence, installing security cameras and anti-climbing devices, and adding anti-climbing paint are a few things you can do to make your wood fence more secure.
Insecure about Installation?
Security fences tend to be pretty heavy-duty; the same goes for installing them. Erecting a fence can be arduous, especially if you have uneven terrain. Done improperly, you’ll risk losing the security benefits of your fence over time as it falls into disrepair.
There’s a reason why professionals are specially trained to install them; because the job often requires finesse and expertise. If you’re not a confident DIYer, tap into one of our fencing contractors, and let a pro take care of your fencing needs.
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