In a previous post we discussed the pros and cons of chain link versus wood fencing. We touched on the question of durability, noting that galvanized chain link fencing offers longer wear against the elements than does wood fencing.
In this post we will take a look at why.
Virtually all chain link fencing is what’s known as ‘galvanized’ chain link, that is that the steel fencing undergoes a chemical bonding process with zinc that protects it from rusting while adding a durable, scratch-resistant layer to the steel.
Without galvanization, the steel wire in the chain link fence would be fully exposed to moisture and oxygen, creating rust that would corrode the fence. With it, the chain link fence resists rust, extending the life of the fence.
Most often the steel fence wire is galvanized before it is woven together into the familiar chain link fence pattern. The most common method of galvanizing is called “hot-dipped galvanization.” This process submerges the steel wire in melted zinc which creates a chemical reaction that permanently bonds the two metals together.
This process doesn’t coat the steel wire with zinc as a paint primer coats a wall. Instead it melds them, with the outermost layer being zinc and internal layers a combination of zinc and steel until reaching the all-steel center of the wire.
While the hot-dipped method is the most popular way to galvanize the wire, there are others. One is running a steel wire through molten zinc. This creates thinner layers of zinc and zinc/steel combination than when hot-dipping is used.
Zinc can also be sprayed or painted on to steel wire, but this creates a weaker bond than hot-dipping. Electroplating is also use, but, again, created a thinner layer than does hot-dipping.
In addition to providing the tightest, thickest bond, hot-dipping is also preferred for chain link fencing because it can be bent more than the other processes without flaking or chipping.
While galvanized wire is the most popular way to extend the life of chain link fencing, it is not the only way. In our next post we will discuss vinyl-coated chain link fencing.
In our next post, we will look at vinyl coated chain link fencing.