Chain Link Fence Cost & Installation Guide
In our Chain Link Fence & Cost guide you will find all the information in regard to material prices, DIY tips as well as the cost of hiring a contractor for installation.
If you are searching for a fence that is easy to install, and cost-friendly, then you want to consider installing a chain link fence. Also known as a hurricane fence or a diamond mesh fence, it is made of galvanized steel and runs vertically from top to bottom. The wires bend at 45-degree angles where they link up to form a diamond pattern. The diamond pattern is one of the reasons why a cyclone fence is durable and secure.
Though they can be installed about anywhere, there are places where chain links are often used. These are:
Playgrounds – Or areas where line of sight is necessary. This is to keep kids in but still have the ability to keep an eye on them. The same applies to any other area where it is paramount to have a line of sight.
Industrial areas and homes – chain link fences are used in homes and industrial areas as they are easy to electrify increasing the security, plus they are a low-cost option. The fence will set you back less than half what wood, wrought iron, or concrete fences cost.
High wind areas – Chain link fences are ideal for regions that face frequent high winds. They have no wind resistance and thus can withstand abuse, unlike wood or stone fences which will often are damaged under such conditions. The ability to withstand such conditions is the reason why a chain link fence is also called a hurricane/cyclone fence.
Around HVAC units – Or areas within your homestead that need to be fenced off and chain link is the best option owing to its low cost.
Advantages of Chain Link Fences
First, chain link fences are a low-cost option. Unlike wood, stone, or wrought iron, a chain link fence will not break your bank as it costs less than half what these other fences require.
Safety is often the top concern when erecting a fence. Worry not as chain link fences do provide security, and more so the 6’ high chain link fences because it is more difficult to climb over unlike the 4’ fence. Another reason why you should install a diamond mesh fence is their ability to withstand high winds. If you reside in an area which has frequent high winds, cyclones, or hurricanes, invest in a diamond mesh fence. First, they will not suffer damage from the wind, unlike vinyl, wood, or concrete. Also, it means you will not spend a fortune on fence repairs. Finally, you don’t want debris damaging your home.
Openness is another reason why homeowners prefer chain links. Though this can be a con in that there is no privacy, some homeowners prefer the views from beyond their yard, and the unobstructed sunlight.
You should consider installing a chain link fence if you are looking to contain pets within one area. Most pets hate being locked up inside for hours on end. It is stressful to the animal and unhealthy. Pets need a lot of fresh air, and ample space to run free. However, it is a concern for most pet owners that they might run away, or be attacked by wild animals. With a chain link fence, the animal will get enough exercise and air, and your concerns are addressed.
Finally, chain link fences are low maintenance. The metal is galvanized steel and therefore cannot rust. Upkeep is thus just occasional spraying with the garden hose.
Disadvantages of Chain Link
Despite the many advantages of it being cheap and low maintenance, a chain link fence has its shortcomings as well. One that tends to bother homeowners most is the privacy. A diamond mesh fence will not provide as much privacy as wood or vinyl. On the same note, it offers less security compared to a 6’ security fence. As you might have guessed, it will be easier for a burglar to climb a 4’ hurricane fence than a 6’ wood or wrought iron fence.
Finally, it has minimal appeal. If home aesthetics and the value of your home are a concern, you might want to stay away from this fence. It is not attractive and does very little to increase the value of your property.
There are a couple of things which will affect the amount you pay for a chain link. From the height of the fence to the gauge, and finally whether it is coated or not. Nevertheless, expect a fee between $7 and $14 for a 4’ high chain link fence. The cost translates to between $700 and $1,400 for a 100 ft. Fence. The fences though are available at 5’ and 6’ heights, but you will have to pay an extra $2 for every additional linear foot.
As highlighted earlier, the gauge of the wire will influence the price as well. The lower the measure, the thicker the wire and as a result, the higher the value. Most fences are available in gauges 11.5 and gauge 9 with the lower gauge often costing twice as much as gauge 11.5. The last item that will influence the price is whether the wire is coated or not. Vinyl coated chain links often cost twice as much as uncoated galvanized steel.
You will also need job supplies. These are the related materials required to install the fence. Anything from post concrete to fasteners and connectors. These job supplies will set you back between $148 and $168 for 100’ fence. You will have to factor in equipment allowance. These are the job-related costs of specialty equipment that will help you achieve efficiency and high-quality work. The apparatus could be anything from a portable concrete mixer, to a pneumatic nailer. The costs can range from $69 to $101.
Most companies will try to bring down the cost as much as possible. However, this is often not possible as the labor costs can be as high as the cost of the chain link itself. Though installing a chain link is a pretty straightforward affair, there is a lot of groundwork required. First, the posts need to be mapped out and erected to with pinpoint accuracy. Lack of these precise measurements might affect the integrity of your fence. Your fence might not stand for too long. The concrete has to be left to dry, and it might take 2 or 3 days. Most contractors take some days to make other measurements or handle jobs and will only come back after the concrete has dried up. Still, keep an eye on the contractor and ensure you aren’t paying them to watch the cement dry.
After the concrete dries, it’s time to string the fabric using brackets. The labor will set you back between $8 and $14 per linear foot which translates to around $800 and $1,400 on employees for 100 ft. The total cost of materials and labor is $15 and $28 for every linear foot.
Gates – To increase the efficiency, and make the most of your fence, you might want to add a gate. An entryway will help you gain access to and from your property without compromising the integrity of your barrier. The installation cost will be included in the total project cost if you want the gate erected by professionals. However, you will have to spend around $60 for a 4’ tall gate and $100 for a 6’ tall gate.
Privacy Slats – if you are on a budget and privacy is paramount to you as a homeowner, a chain link will still work if coupled with slats. The slats are sold in boxes, and one container will set you back around $45. If you require the services of a professional, be ready to pay an extra $2 or $3 per linear foot for installation. Other than the privacy they offer, they are available in various colors for blending in with your property.
Fabric Screen – if you are looking for something customizable for privacy but one that doesn’t cost a fortune, you might want to look into fabric screes. These are temporary covers designed to give your home some privacy. They are lightweight and are hung on the outside of your fence. They are designed to let air pass, but not light therefore increasing the confidentiality. Compared to slats, they have a shorter lifespan but are more customizable and pocket-friendly. If you are interested in fabric screens, be ready to part with between $0.99 for a primary material per linear foot to $6 per linear foot of a customized screen.
Dig Safe – Seeing as your posts have to be set in the ground, ensure that you are digging in the appropriate areas. First call your utility company to mark the unsafe regions, i.e., where there are gas lines, power lines or other utility lines. Often this service will be at no extra cost.
Building Codes – Most areas or homeowners associations have restrictions as to the type and size of a fence you can erect and more so if the fence blocks the line of sight. To prevent scuffles with the local authorities and neighbors, always check the allowed height and fence type before you erect your fence.
Permits – Check if you need a license to install a fence in your location. If so, you will have to submit the plans to the authorities for approval. Once the plan has been accepted and the fence constructed, it will be subject to inspections to ensure it meets all the requirements.
|4'High Mesh||$7 - $14|
|5' High Mesh||$9 - $16|
|6' High Mesh||$11 - $18|
|Equipment||$69 - $101|
|Job Supplies||$148 - $168|
|Labor||$8 - $14|
|4' Tall Gate||$60|
|6' Tall Gate||$100|
|Privacy Slats||$45 a box|
|Slats Installation||$2 - $3|
|Fabric Screen||$0.99 - $6|
DIY Chain Link Construction
Installing a chain link is DIY friendly. Other than the groundwork, the rest is pretty straightforward.
First, you want to pull permits from the local authorities. You will have to submit elaborate plans, but the good thing is that you can purchase plans for as low as $20. You want to avoid any problems with the local authorities and follow their stipulations on the height, fence setback, and type of fence you can erect. You also want to check the homeowner’s association regulations on fencing. Often they have more stipulations to the class and height of the fence you can erect on top of those imposed by the local authorities.
On top of the regulations, contact your utility company to mark the utility lines. You don’t want to risk hitting them as you dig your post holes. Often, this service is free. Just dial 811 anywhere in the US, and make an appointment. Finally, you want to establish your property lines. You can hire a land surveyor for this and s/he will set you back between $367 and $490. You can also use city records or a line plot map.
Installing Terminal Posts
A terminal post is an end, corner, or gate post. They are quite vital and are to be installed first. The spacing of the rest of the posts will depend largely on the distance between terminal posts. First, locate the property lines that border your neighbor’s and measure about 4” inside the line. You want to prevent the footings from encroaching into your neighbor’s property. Afterward, clear the entire working space. It will make it easier to roll the mesh and move the wheelbarrow. Next, measure the length of the planned fence. You want to avoid purchasing materials that you will not need, or that will be not enough.
You can consult your retailers on the spacing of the posts. Afterward, start with digging the final post holes. First, find the location, and mark it with a stake or spray paint. The holes should be three times the width of the post, and at least a third the height of the post. As for the post, it’s height from the ground up should be the same as the height of the mesh. The hole too should have an extra 4” for gravel. Finally, it should be sloping such that the bottom is wider than the top.
After the preparations, pour 4” of gravel into each hole and tamp down to create a solid base where the posts will sit. Place the posts dead center, and fill the holes with concrete footings.
Installing Line Posts
Line posts should only be installed after the terminal posts are in place. Start by running a really taut string between the terminal posts. Other than being taut, it should be low to the ground, and on the outside of the terminal posts. Next, you will need a post-spacing chart to measure and mark the positions of the post. Again, you can use spray paint or a stake. We recommend you use spray paint as stakes can be hazards. The line post holes should be 18 inches deep and 6 inches wide. They should also be sloping such that the top is narrower than the bottom. Again, fill the bottom with gravel, and tamp down to create a solid base. Place the posts dead center and fill with concrete.
Installing Caps and Bands
The next step is to slide tension bands into each post. Tension bands should be added before the top caps. Ensure the long flat surface is facing the outside of the fence. Also, the bands should be one less than the height of the fence. That is, if the posts are 4’ high, the number of bands should be three. Afterward, use the appropriate caps on the posts. Terminal posts get end caps while line posts get looped caps. The looped caps will hold the top rail. Finally, tighten the nuts and bolts, but leave some room for adjustments.
Installing the Top Rail
First, feed the top rail through the looped caps, insert the ends to the terminal caps on the terminal posts. You might need to cut the top rail using a pipe cutter or add some length to it using male-female coupling ends. You might also need to adjust the height of the rail caps to accommodate the height of the mesh. After you have ensured that the top rail and caps are in proper alignment, tighten the nuts and bolts.
Hang the Fence
Now it is time to hang the fence mesh. Start by sliding a tension bar through the starting end of the mesh. Stiffen the mesh, and then attach the bar to one terminal end. The mesh should overlap the rail by two or so inches off the ground. Unroll the fence by standing it against the fence and getting rid of the slack as you go. Finally loosely attach the fence to the top rail using fence ties.
Stretching the Chainlink
The last thing you will do is stretch the chain link. This is a crucial step to prevent the mesh from sagging. You will need to thread a fence pullers bar to an unattached section of the mesh. Not too far from the end post. Next, attach the fence puller’s yoke to the threaded pull bar and attach the other end of the yoke to the post. Using the fence puller, stretch the fence such that the loops move less than a quarter-inch when squeezed. Finally, terminate the fence using a tension bar, same as the one we used at the beginning. Thread it through the mesh and attach it to the end post using tension bands. Cut out any excess mesh that might have resulted from stretching.
Repairing Damaged Chain Link
The top benefit of chain link fences is that they are low maintenance. However, there are instances where they are damaged and often by falling trees. Another benefit, however, is that they are easy to repair, seeing as the rails and posts suffer the most damage. A professional will charge you about $150 for repair materials but you can DIY for less than $60 inclusive of renting tools.
To repair a damaged top rail, you only need to cut out the damaged part and slide in a new part. Ensure the new rail has a crimped end and an open end. Start by marking two cutting lines. One on the damaged rail, just before the area that’s damaged, and one on the new rail, where it meets a joint. You will have to be very careful lest you cut a piece that’s smaller. Start by removing the wire ties, then cut off the damaged rail, and dispose of it. Slide the new rail and attach the mesh using wire ties. You can purchase new ones or recycle the old pieces.
How to Get a Good Fencing Contractor
The difference between having an envy-inducing chain link fence and a fencing disaster often boils down to your DIY skills or the contractor you hire. To avoid the later, you need to hire a proficient contractor, and the first thing you need to do is research.
First, you can ask colleagues, family or friends who have recently installed their mesh-fence. Ask how they went about their hiring process, their experiences with the contractor, and whether they would hire him/her for future projects.
If referrals don’t yield the desired results you can always check third-party review sites for top contractors near you. One such site is Angie’s List. You can look up any number of contractors and know of previous customers experiences. The Better Business Bureau is also a good prospect. You can even tell if there are any legal complaints against your chosen contractor. In conclusion, always take your time to investigate the various contractors around you. This often determines whether you are or aren’t hiring a professional.
Website and Portfolio
In the current world, any contractor worth mentioning should have a website, and a decent one. You can visit it to get a feel of the individual you are dealing with. You can also check the reviews on their website, but we advise you take it with a pinch of salt. They are often positive, as the contractor stands to benefit.
Ask Pertinent Questions
Now that you have narrowed down your list of potential contractors, you want to ensure you ask the right questions. Though often the contractor will be in a hurry, there is always enough time to ask some few questions. First, though, you want to be sure you have a basic understanding of fencing for you to ask the right questions. Pay attention to how the estimator responds, and only work with someone who is professional with their responses. One such question is asking about the company’s timeline. Fencing companies have major backlogs in summer and spring months. It may take a while for them to get to you during these peak months. You want to know about this timeline before you hire the company.
Get Multiple Estimates
For any construction job, ensure you get at the very least 3 estimates. Quotes/bids will give you a wide field to choose from. Often the prices will be almost similar but will differ as different companies have different expenses and overheads. However, avoid institutions whose estimates vary greatly from the rest. Say you receive three bids and one is at $3,000 while the rest are around $5,000. Avoid the low bid as it might be a ruse to get one foot into your house. Often, the contractor will end up increasing the price as the job progresses.
Get it in Writing
Finally, you want to get the contract in writing. The agreement should be witnessed by a lawyer, and signed by both parties. It not only protects you the homeowner but the contractor as well.
How to Avoid Fencing Scams
Address & Professionalism
Most fly by night contractors are often from out of state. Hiring from your locality, therefore, goes a long way in preventing these scams. Ensuring that they have a verifiable address can also save you a lot of money. First, ask their estimator for their address. However, don’t take his/her word for it, but pay them a visit. You will know whether they are legit or not, and you also get a feel for their work. However, an office doesn’t have to be elaborate. A contractor can have a dedicated room in his/her house. We advise you drop any bias against such contractors.
As for professionalism, we advise you place a call to your shortlisted companies. All proficient companies should engage the services of a professional to answer phone calls. Avoid any business that haven’t.
Avoid ‘Licensed’ Contractors
Yes, that sounds counter-intuitive, but you should be wary of qualified chain-link fence contractors. Often, the estimator and the installer will be different, and often the estimator is licensed but the installer isn’t. However, most homeowners don’t bother to check the qualifications of the second individual and end up with low-quality work despite paying premium dollar. Avoid any contractor who sends a different person to install the fence.
Check Their Insurance
Unethical as it might be, there are organizations that claim to have insurance while they don’t. This is putting you the homeowner in a rather precarious situation, as it would be a legal nightmare should one of their workers be injured during installation. Only hire institutions with papers and are willing to produce them.
Cross-Check the Materials
Most homeowners don’t check the materials delivered to the site. Contractors take advantage of this and purchase lower quality items pocketing the difference. As a homeowner, you end up with an inferior fence despite paying top-dollar. You want to avoid this, and the best way is to check the materials the contractor delivers. Ensure they are the quality you purchased. Also, don’t accept materials from a previous job. All materials should be returned to the homeowner.
5 Questions to Ask Your Fencing Contractor
How will you deal with the spacing at the bottom?
This is often a problem if you have pets, and are installing a fence on a sloped lot. If the contractor decides to go with a stepped fence, there will be rectangular spaces beneath the fence which will be a problem if you have pets. Ask what he plans to do about this, or how s/he plans to deal with the slope.
Will you call the utility company?
You want to know who between the two of you is responsible for preventing any issues associated with utility lines. The purpose of the question is to establish responsibilities early on to avoid problems. However, allocating responsibilities should go beyond the utilities to permits too. You also want to ensure you have established who is responsible for pulling the permits early on.
Are the gate and associated hardware part of the cost?
Often, the associated hardware and the gate installation cost is included in the final cost, but the gate isn’t. However, ask just to be sure.
What guarantee do you offer?
Any credible chain-link contractor should be able to guarantee the end result. Only work with institutions that are willing to do this. It shows professionalism, and that they believe in their work. Finally, ask for a warranty for your fence. If well installed, a diamond mesh fence should last well over 10 years. Don’t accept any warranty that is less than that.
How long has your company been operational?
You want to work with older companies. Not because their services are better, but because they are more streamlined. Also, their likelihood of conning you is low.
A chain-link fence is one of those additions that we can’t do without. It is a cheap fencing option and comes in handy in areas where the line of sight is crucial. It is also important where a fence is required but privacy isn’t a top priority. They are low maintenance and have a rather lengthy lifespan. Finally, they aren’t susceptible to wind and thus ideal in areas where strong winds are a concern.