What is a Vinyl-Coated Chain-Link Fence

Chain link fence of a lawn

You’ve come across all types of fences, and even if you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of a chain-link fence. But what is a vinyl-coated chain-link fence?

If you like the chain-link style fence but want something a little more durable and low maintenance, consider getting a vinyl-coated chain-link fence.

A vinyl-coated chain-link fence is exactly as the name suggests. It’s a chain-link fence that is coated in vinyl. But to fully understand, you must know what a chain-link fence is.

A chain-link fence is a type of woven fence. It’s made from galvanized mesh aluminum or steel wire. The galvanization process adds rust and corrosion protection. The wire is bent into zig-zag patterns so that it hooks with the wire on either side. These hooking patterns run vertically and form a diamond shape similar to lattice. This wire mesh is called the “chain-link fence fabric.”

The top of the chain-link and the bends of the wire mesh fabric is called the selvage. The selvage is either knuckle (folded) or twisted. The fabric is attached to the framework, which includes posts and rails. Fence posts are the vertical poles, while the rails are the horizontal poles.

Vinyl chain-link fences are very durable, inexpensive, and low maintenance. They come in several colors, including brown, white, green, and black chain-link. The vinyl coating, or PVC, is usually applied to a galvanized wire in one of three ways.

  • Extruded Vinyl: Extruded is pulled over the wire like pants, but can be sliced and peeled off like the red wax on Babybel cheese. This is found primarily in temporary or residential fencing.
  • Extruded and Bonded Vinyl: The extruded and bonded uses powerful glue to bond the coating in place. In this case, you’d have to slice off the vinyl like peeling a potato. This is a common commercial fence..
  • Fused and Bonded Vinyl: With fused and bonded, the vinyl is fused to the metal. Like welding two pieces of metal together, they’re nearly impossible to separate. These fences are used in industrial or government settings.

Vinyl-coated chain-link fences are the go-to choice for many people for several reasons. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, low-maintenance, durable, and customizable.

Inexpensive

Next to wire fencing, chain-link is the cheapest fencing available. Including professional installation cost, chain-link fencing is about $10 – $17 per linear foot.

Vinyl-coated chain-link fencing is a little more expensive. It’ll cost homeowners about $13 – $20 per linear foot. This quote also includes professional installation costs.

Compare this price to other materials (price includes professional installation).

  • Wire fence: $1 – $4 per linear foot
  • Wood fence: $14 – $31 per linear foot
  • Vinyl fence: $17 – $38 per linear foot
  • Composite fence: $26 – $57 per linear foot
  • Aluminum fence: $27 – $55 per linear foot
  • Wrought iron fence: $28 – $56 per linear foot

Keep in mind, like all fencing, other factors will affect the final price tag including:

  • Height
  • Gauge
  • Fence post material
  • Privacy slats
  • Gates
  • Permits
  • Slope of land

Easy to install

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Installing a vinyl-coated chain-link fence is relatively quick and easy. The longest part of the process is the framework – the fence posts and rails.

The chain-link is pre-fabricated, manufactured in advance, and comes in large rolls. Once the framework is securely built, the chain-link fence is unrolled and attached to the posts and rails. There are no individual slats or panels to slow down the installation process.

Low-Maintenance

Although no fence is maintenance-free, vinyl-coated chain-link fences are very low-maintenance. There are only a few things to do to keep your fence in tip-top shape.

  • Clean: Most of the time, a quick rinse with a hose will clean your fence. But if it’s caked with mud, a pressure washer or a soapy brush will do the trick.
  • Repair: The vinyl coating is very durable, but cracking happens. As soon as you notice splits, repair it with plastic paint. Ta-da! Good as new!

Durable

Vinyl-coated chain-link fences are very durable for two reasons:

  • Weather-resistant: The chain-link design allows wind and weather to pass right through the holes. These fences have little wind resistance and low snow and ice buildup.
  • Longevity: Vinyl-coated chain-link fences last at least 15 years. But with proper maintenance, many last for well over 20 years. The vinyl coating protects against rust and corrosion, making it last even longer than a traditional chain-link fence.

Customizable

Vinyl-coated chain-link fences have a surprising amount of customizable options.

  • Color: The coating typically comes in white, brown, green, and black vinyl.
  • Gauge: The gauge refers to the wire thickness. Common gauge options include 6 gauge, 9 gauge, 11 gauge, and 11 ½ gauge.
  • Post Caps: There are a variety of post cap styles. A few common styles include dome, acorn, bullet, half ball-chain, pagoda, and solar lights.
  • Height: Height varies depending on purpose and preference. Common heights include 3, 4, 6, and 8 feet.
  • Privacy Slats: Privacy slats are vertical vinyl slats that add color and privacy to your chain-link fence. They come in styles ranging from top lock to winged and in colors like black, blue, and brown.

Looking for more? There’s a mile long list of custom chain-link fence ideas.

While there are tons of benefits, a vinyl-coated chain-link fence has some drawbacks. Depending on your priorities, the low privacy, low security, and low curb appeal can be a deal-breaker.

Privacy

Due to the holes in the design, a vinyl-coated chain-link fence is not a privacy fence. People can easily see through your fence and into your yard. However, there are a few things you can do to increase chain-link privacy.

  • Privacy Slats: Privacy slats will increase your privacy but will not entirely conceal you from outsiders.
  • Climbing Plants: Climbing plants do an excellent job of providing privacy, but they take time to grow and cover your fence. Choose lightweight plants, or you’ll damage your fence.
  • Trees and Hedges: Planting trees and hedges helps prevent people from peeking into your backyard. Though, they won’t block the view completely.

If you’re looking for more ideas, these landscaping ideas will help increase your privacy.

Security

A vinyl-coated chain-link fence isn’t the best security fence. They’re made at varying heights, but invaders can gain access by climbing or cutting the chain-link fabric. The lack of privacy also will allow intruders a better view of your backyard.

Curb Appeal

Even if you add customized features, vinyl-coated chain-link fences are not the most attractive. They’re sometimes seen as cheap and industrialized. Therefore, chain-link fencing won’t add much to the resale value of your home.

If adding to your value to your home is a high-priority, check out the best fences to add property value.

Vinyl-coated chain-link fences are extremely versatile. There used in all settings, including:

  • Residential
  • Commercial
  • Industrial
  • Governmental
  • Temporary

If you’re wondering how chain-link is used within these settings, the list seems endless. Here are just a few places you’ll find them.

  • Backyards, front yards, gardens
  • Sports fields like baseball, basketball, and track fields
  • Around playgrounds or within playgrounds to separate age groups
  • Dog kennels, runs, or outdoor pens
  • City parks
  • Non-residential barriers
  • Concerts, festivals, and creating lines at events
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Although vinyl-coated chain-link fences are low-maintenance, they need some care. The better you care for your fence, the longer it will last.

Clean Your Fence Regularly

Vinyl-coated chain-link is easy to clean, requiring only a garden hose to remove mild dirt. For removing other stuck-on stains, soap and a brush or a pressure washer will do the trick.

Make Repairs as Needed

Climbing and weather can weaken the vinyl of your chain-link fence. Use plastic paint to repair wear and tear. As the fence gets pulled on or climbed over, connections can become loose and can pull away from posts. If you see any chain-link beginning to sag or pull away, tighten the rail and post hinges. If that doesn’t work, you may need to call a professional.

Another problem you may notice is gates beginning to sag or dig into the ground when you open and close them. If your gates are becoming uneven due to use, make sure their hinges are tight and no bolts are missing.

While it may seem easier to hop over the fence, avoid this at all times. When you climb on the chain-link, you risk bending support posts and pulling the chain-link away from its framework. Both actions will weaken the entire length of your fencing. Keep children and pets from climbing the chain-link by adding vinyl slats or removing all climbing aids near your fence.

The cost of a vinyl-coated chain-link fence will vary depending on preference. The choice between DIYing this project or hiring a professional plays a role in price.

DIY Installation

Based on a 4-foot by 150-foot linear basic fence, installing your own fence will cost about $2330. This includes the equipment, the chain-link fabric, and all the other fencing materials you’ll need. The prices will vary by area, equipment already owned, and specialty preferences. Keep in mind that it will take about two to four days, maybe longer, to install on your own.

Professional Installation

A professional installation for a vinyl-coated chain-link fence will average about $2,475. This price is also based on a 4-foot-by-150-foot linear basic fence. The prices will vary by area and specialty preferences.

For more information, check out this line item breakdown (based on a basic chain-link).

Which is better: Galvanized or vinyl-coated chain-link fence?

The simple answer is a vinyl-coated chain-link fence. The vinyl-coated fence will last longer and need less maintenance. Galvanized chain-link fences require recoating to prevent rust, more frequent checks for damage, and don’t look as nice.
However, vinyl-coated costs more than galvanized. If your definition of better includes a lower cost, you may gravitate toward a galvanized fence

Does a vinyl-coated chain-link fence rust?

Eventually, a vinyl-coated chain-link fence will rust. The uncoated parts of the fence, like the posts and rails, are not as protected as the coated parts. The vinyl-coated parts will wear, split, and crack, allowing the galvanized metal underneath to succumb to rust. If you notice rust, scrub it off with steel wool and recoat with plastic paint (if applicable).
With all this said, a vinyl-coated chain-link fence won’t rust as quickly as an uncoated chain-link fence. Its lifespan is also longer.

What gauge chain-link fence is best?

The best gauge for a chain-link fence depends on its purpose. A 9 gauge is the most common wire size used for residential and commercial applications. An 11 gauge is used for temporary fencing, but the 6 gauge is used in high-security applications.
The gauge on a chain-link fence refers to the thickness of the wire. The larger the gauge, the thinner the wire. So, a 6-gauge chain-link fence is thicker and more durable than a 9-gauge chain-link fence.

Of all the DIY projects, fence installation is one of the trickiest. Whether you’re beginning your fencing research or have all your supplies ready to go, you don’t have to do it alone. Highly rated, experienced professionals can answer questions or lend a helping hammer. For more information, call a local professional today.

Main Image Credit: Pexels

Nicki DeStasi

Nicki DeStasi

Nicki DeStasi is a writer, author, and teacher who grew up in western Massachusetts and currently resides in the Austin area. She enjoys flower and vegetable gardening, reading, cooking, listening to true-crime podcasts, and spending time with her husband, two children, dog, and cat.