Types of Metal Fence
Types of Metal Fence
This type of fencing material is commonly found around schools and sports facilities, although it is often found in domestic gardens, particularly where the householder wants to maximise the amount of light falling on the garden. The plain galvanised or plastic coated, interwoven steel mesh is supplied in rolls by fencing companies and some building materials suppliers. It is attached by clips or tie wires to straining wires, which are stretched between concrete or metal posts set in concrete. Straining stays fitted to the posts are used to tighten the straining wires. For a firm fence that will last for years, the straining wires should be as tight as possible. Two wires are required for a fence up to 1.2m (4 ft) high, and three wires for a fence up to 2.25 m (7 ft 4 in) high. If you dig a trench beforehand, you can bury the bottom 150 mm (6 in) of the mesh into the ground to prevent animals from getting under it.
Ordinary chain-link fencing provides limited security, as it is easy to climb – the gaps in the mesh provide perfect finger-and-toeholds. The wire is also easy to cut, enabling an intruder to unravel the mesh and climb through. Chain-link fencing can be made more secure, however, if used as a frame for a climbing thorny plant; in some instances, this can create an almost impenetrable barrier. The hedging plants should be planted on each side of the fence, so you’ll need to set it back a little to plant the shrubs on your own land.
Although not designed for domestic use, the more robust, Class 2 anti-intruder chain-link fence can be installed in high-risk areas. This stronger fence uses a heavier mesh and straining wires, which are more difficult to cut, while the bottom of the mesh can be buried in a gravel trench to prevent anyone from crawling underneath.
Expanded-mesh fencing panels are punched from single sheets of steel and stretched to the desired panel size. Panels are galvanised and powder coated in a wide variety of colours. This type of fencing is stronger and more difficult to cut than standard welded-mesh panels or chain-link fencing, and is difficult to climb. Attempts to cut it can result in very sharp edges. A fencing system using this material would come with its own metal fence posts, although the panels can be attached to wooden posts if necessary.
Although traditionally this product has been used in commercial and industrial settings, welded-mesh fencing has become very popular as an alternative to wooden fencing. The material is particularly useful where a view beyond the boundary of the property is desired. Welded-mesh panels are available in a wide variety of colours and designs. They consist of vertical and horizontal wires that are welded together where they cross. This makes them more secure than the standard chain-link fence. As with expanded-mesh panels, a welded-mesh fence would normally be erected using its own steel framework, but it is possible to fix the panels to wooden posts. The meshes come in a variety of sizes, the smallest being best suited to deter climbing, as it is difficult to gain finger- or toeholds. When viewed head-on, welded-mesh panels tend almost to vanish against their background, depending on their colour. Used with defensive plants, welded-mesh can create a strong and secure fence, although if you want to see through the fence, you’ll have to choose the plants carefully for their height and spread.
Cast-iron railings were widely used by the Victorians, but sometimes their decorative aspect far outweighed their usefulness as a security barrier – many incorporated myriad foot-and-handholds. That being said, there are some fine surviving examples of Victorian railings that were deliberately designed to deter intruders with ‘spearheads’ and razor-sharp spikes.
More recently, the popularity of railings has returned, with attractive examples being used in a variety of new housing developments to create private space. They are useful as a boundary marker and intruder barrier, particularly when combined with a matching gate. An added bonus is that they permit anyone approaching the house to be seen easily from both inside and beyond the property.
Although cast-iron railings are still widely available, many modern railing systems are constructed from box-section or tubular steel, topped with a variety of decorative features, including ornamental spheres and pointed finials. When choosing the topping for railings, select something that will be difficult to climb over, but not potentially injurious. If you intend putting railings on a low wall that borders a busy street, position them as near to the front of the wall as you can to prevent anyone from sitting on it.
Read more about types of wooden fencing