Weather, Rust, Digging Pests: How To Keep Your Chain-Link Fence Protected

Posted on: 10 September 2015

Chain link fences may seem low-maintenance, but their lifetimes can be significantly shortened when they're left fully exposed to the elements. If your fence is looking worse for the wear, keep it going strong by adding protections that will absorb the worse nature has to offer.

Fence Slats Add Solid Weather Protection

Though roll-on slats were popularized for their ability to turn any chain-link into a privacy fence, they can also have the handy benefit of protecting the underlying fence from weather and other situational damage. Wind, rain, and climbing plants will all hit the slats before they have a chance to get at the chain-link fence underneath, which allows your fence to maintain its security and structural integrity, even as it ages.

Slats come in a wide range of materials, including wood, bamboo, vinyl, aluminum, and cloth coverings. Regardless of material, good fence coverings will protect a majority of the fence from outside damage. The least expensive fence slats are still more costly than a protective spray coating, but they also take less time to apply. Unlike coatings, fence slats should last the lifetime of your fence, as well.

Spray Coatings Block Out Salt And Humidity

Certain climates are especially good at causing chain-link fences to rust quickly. Usually, this happens in areas where the air is always humid and the local area has high salt content. The salt in the soil draws even more moisture into the air and the ground, which can cause fence posts to rust close to the base. Chain-link that has begun to rust is no longer secure, since the damage leaves it brittle enough to break without tools. Common places that see these conditions include coastal regions and lakefront properties. 

To keep humid air from affecting your fence, one cost-effective measure is spray-coating it with a protective sealant. Vinyl, plastic, and regular spray paint are all commonly used to this end, though of the three vinyl is both the most expensive and the most effective. Spraying down the entire length of the fence can take hours, or even days, but the resulting coating should last for years if applied correctly.

Repairing the coating after a few years is easier, since you only need enough sealant to patch up any scuffed areas. Be on the lookout for marks around gates, especially since going in and out of your yard can cause the coating to wear away near the latch and hinges.

Chicken Wire Keeps The Fence Bottom Unbent

Pets and burrowing pests love to deform the bottom of fences as they dig their way into or out of your yard. This can not only make your fence look uglier, but it can also pose a serious security risk by compromising your fence's ability to keep out ne'er-do-wells and dangerous wild animals. Fortunately, the damage shouldn't take more than a few hours to repair on your own. 

The solution involves using pliers to straighten out bent fence sections as best you can and then attaching chicken wire to the bottom of your fence. Once it's securely attached, you just bend it into an L-shape toward the inside of your yard. This makes it impossible for pets to dug under the fence, and it causes enough trouble for burrowing animals that they'll either get caught on the wire or not even bother trying to get into your yard.

Like your chain link fence, the chicken wire may get bent over time. You can help to prevent this somewhat by staking it down at regular intervals. Still, once it's been bent enough over the years, it will need to be replaced.

Chain-link fences can be durable and long-lasting, but they need a little help. If your fence is wearing down because of weather or animal activity, taking the time to shore it up may help you extend its lifetime by several more years.

Go to sites for fencing contractors for more information on the types of fencing that will best suit your home and needs.