When you’re installing a fence, whether indoor or outdoor, for security or for safety, it’s important to weigh your options before purchasing.
The three most popular types of fencing for safety and security are: welded mesh, woven wire mesh, and chain link. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, and some are more suited for specific applications than others.
CHAIN LINK FENCING
Chain link is typically the model that comes to mind when you picture a security fence, especially one that’s outdoors. It’s the standard for a variety of applications, but does that necessarily make it the best? There are definitely benefits to installing chain link fencing to your property.
Firstly, it tends to be the most cost-effective style of fencing. The affordability of chain link is one of its primary selling points.
It’s also one of the better options for outdoor installation. The chain link is typically galvanized, or coated in aluminum or vinyl, which makes it very durable and able to withstand harsh outdoor weather. The large openings between the chains also allow wind to pass through, and the flexibility of the links will ensure that the fence moves with the wind in high weather, rather than being knocked down by it.
Chain link, however, because of its large openings and flexibility, makes it one of the easier fences to climb. Increased height and barbed wire can of course be deterrents, but if security is your primary concern, chain link might not be your best option. It’s also ill suited for indoor security. The large openings and flexible wire of chain link would prove ineffective for machine guarding, and the general unfinished aesthetic, while fine for an outdoor setting, is not a polished look for an indoor security apparatus.
WOVEN WIRE FENCING
Woven mesh fencing falls somewhere in between chain link and welded mesh. It’s slightly more flexible, like chain link, because it is constructed by interweaving two layers of wire. The flexibility can be beneficial if you’re anticipating the fence taking a lot of impact, as the flexible wires will move with the impact and absorb it.
However, the flexibility is also a point of weakness. If cut, the wire will simply unravel, as the intersecting points are not physically joined together.
One great benefit of woven mesh, especially when compared to chain link, is its streamlined and finished aesthetic. Because woven wire is finished with powder coating, the overall look is more uniform, as opposed to the generic and unpolished look of chain link.
WELDED MESH FENCING
Welded mesh is easily the most durable and versatile option of the three kinds of fencing. It is created by laying two layers of wire across one another at right angles and welding them at the intersections. While less springy and flexible than chain link or woven wire mesh, welded mesh is incredibly durable.
Because it is fused together at its intersections, it won’t unravel if cut. As such, it’s the most adaptable of the three. If the fencing is being installed around a pipe or a similar obstruction, it can be easily cut and reshaped in the field at the time of installation.
Welded mesh is also the best option for machine guarding; its durable cross points can take the impact of projectiles or malfunctioning machinery, and the smaller openings in the fencing ensure that no rogue pieces can pass through. The narrow openings also ensure that no hands or fingers can fit through the wire, protecting employees or passers by from potential injury.
The small openings are also excellent for security, especially in data centers. They can be welded together at very tight cross points, decreasing the size of the openings in the fence. This means that, while still allowing for visibility and the passage of air, the welded mesh can prevent someone from trying to stick a flash drive in between the links and steal information.
Welded mesh, apart from being the sturdiest fencing option, is also arguably the most aesthetically polished. It has a more streamlined, permanent look than chain link, and can be covered with powder coating for a clean and polished finish.
SO WHICH FENCE IS BEST?
It really depends on the application. Some will argue that chain link is the best option for outdoor settings, especially for things like baseball diamonds or livestock. The weather durability and cost-effectiveness of chain link certainly makes it an appealing option.
Welded mesh, on the other hand, is definitely the best option for applications like machine guarding or data center security, and woven falls somewhere in between the two. Whatever fence you decide to install, make sure that it’s up to your safety and security standards.