Since all chain link fences ares built from the same steel mesh, there are not different types, as much as different treatments. For example, 6 gauge wires would be much stronger than the 12 gauge wire but excluding the thickness, it is still just steel wire. There are different coatings that you can add to the wire that will change its properties and life span. They fall into 4 main categories:
- Zinc Coated – This is by far the most popular coating method. Zinc is a sacrificial element, in that it will dissipate in order to protect the steel wire. It can also do superficial healing of cuts and scraps. If the wire is scraped the zinc starts to oxidize and form a white crust that protects the steel wire beneath from corrosion and rust. The longevity of a fence treated with zinc is often measured by the thickness of its zinc coating. 1.2 ounce per square foot is common but can go as high as 2 ounce per square foot when the fence needs to be in place for a really long time.
- Aluminum coated – This coating forms a barrier that is stronger than zinc but does not have the healing effect. So, when a fence needs to be in place for a long time but it doesn’t need any aesthetic value, aluminum is best. When the fence is nicked and scratched it will start to form red rust and become unsightly in a short time span.
- Hybrid – the hybrid has gone by a few trade names like Galvinal and Galfan but it is essential the aluminum coating combined with the zinc coating. This gives the fence the stronger barrier of the aluminum but if the barrier is breached the zinc will begin healing it.
- Colored – You can achieve color by adding polyvinyl chloride to the zinc coating. You can do that by extruding a vinyl jacket over the core which is enough for most light commercial and retail needs. You can extrude a bonded jacked which will adhere to the steel core or thermally fuse the jacked to the steel core which is suitable for all uses. The new trend is toward a polyester coating that is a powder that is electro-statically applied to the wire.