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Understanding the Anatomy of Chain Link Fences: A Guide to Identifying Key Components

 Chain Link Fence

Chain link fences are popular for commercial and industrial settings because they’re durable, affordable and easy to install. But there’s more to a chain link fence than wire and posts. Here’s a breakdown of the parts of a chain link fence and how they work.

Top Rail

The top rail is horizontal tubing that runs along the top of the fence. It supports the mesh and keeps the fence from sagging. The top rail is typically made of steel or aluminum and is available in various sizes, depending on the fence’s height and strength requirements.

Line Posts

The line posts are the vertical posts that support the top rail and the mesh. They’re made of steel and available in various lengths and diameters. The most common length for a line post is six feet, and the most common diameter is 1-1/2 inches. Spacing between posts ranges between six and 10 feet.

Tension Wire

The galvanized steel tension wire runs horizontally along the bottom of the fence to keep the mesh taut. Tension wire is secured to the line posts using tension bands and is tightened using wire tensioning devices. It’s especially useful for fences installed on uneven terrain.

Chain Link Mesh

The mesh material creates the barrier of the fence. It’s made of galvanized steel wire that can be vinyl-coated for extra durability and additional colour. The most common gauge for a commercial chain link fence is nine. Common mesh sizes range from 1-3/8 to 2-3/8 inches, with larger sizes for commercial or industrial purposes.


Gates come in various sizes and configurations, ranging from single swing gates to double swing gates or sliding gates. Hardware components include a frame, mesh, hinges and latch.

Tips for Selecting the Right Parts

When selecting the parts for a chain link fence, consider the following factors:

  • Purpose. Will the fence be temporary or permanent? What operations or equipment will be contained within the perimeter? Will it need to withstand breaches by animals or intruders?

  • Location. Geographic conditions like weather and traffic will affect the type of materials you need. A fence in a coastal area will need to be made of corrosion-resistant materials. High-traffic areas may necessitate adaptations for privacy.

  • Budget. The cost of the fence will depend on the materials used and the size and scale of the project.

Chain Link DIY Kits and Installation Services in Toronto

At City Fence Inc., we sell DIY kits you can install yourself, and we also offer quick, clean fence installation services from our professional technicians. Contact us today to learn more about our fencing services or get a quote online.


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