Easy Way to Cover Chain Link Fencing

Reed Bamboo Fencing

Cover chain link fence and save the cost and misery of building an entirely new fence?  Sounds like a pipe dream.  But one of the few good points about chain link is that the posts are insanely rooted into the ground.  You can use this to your advantage, because it allows you to hang other fence on top of that chain link.

Chain Link:  Ugly as Sin, Easy to Correct

Chain link fence:  ugly stuff.  Nobody ever put up chain link for aesthetic reasons; it’s purely functional.  It keeps in the dogs and out the intruders.  Because chain link fence is unbelievably hard to remove–posts are set very deep and that floppy chain link is a bitch to handle–it’s often easier to cover it than remove it.

You’re looking for 6′ tall cover-ups, not 8′.  If you think you’re going to circumvent your local building code’s 6′ maximum fence height by adding a taller cover-up, forget it.  Fence code applies to those sneaky cover-ups, too, like foliage  So, to prevent your eyeballs from melting, here are ways to cover up chain link fence:

Large Rolled Bamboo Fencing

Rolled Large Bamboo
Rolled Large Bamboo

In a Word:  Bamboo

In a Few More Words:  This can best be characterized as “real bamboo,” not that reedy thin stuff.  Full-size bamboo–1″ minimum diameter–is expensive stuff.  Four 14-gauge steel wires running horizontally connect the poles into a mat.

Cost:  About $10.00 per linear foot for 6′ high, not including shipping.  If you cannot do the calculations, that’s $1,000 every 100 feet.  $1 per linear foot is cheap when compared to an all-new wood fence, expensive when compared to the other cover-up methods listed here.

Best:  Looks fantastic and gives you lots of woo-woo crunchy-granola street cred.

Worst:  You can see through it.  Large gaps between individual poles let neighbors see you nude sunbathing.

Where:  You will not find these larger pole bamboo screens at your run-of-the-mill garden shops.  Larger, more specialized nurseries may have them, though.  Online, try Cali Bamboo.

Smaller “Reed” Rolled Bamboo Fencing

Reed Bamboo Fencing
Reed Bamboo Fencing

In a Word:  Reed

In a Few More Words:  Called reed, this too is bamboo–just smaller.

Cost:  About $1.60 per linear foot for 6′ high from a local store like Home Depot.

Best:  So very cheap and easy to find.  It’s right there at your local store.  Also, because the reeds are thinner than full-size bamboo, each mat is lighter and easier to handle.

Worst:  They turn gray within a season.

Where:  Local home improvement stores and nurseries.

Fence Mesh Privacy Screen

Mesh Privacy Screen
Mesh Privacy Screen

In a Word:  Plastic

In a Few More Words:  They call this fence mesh, privacy screen, or fence windscreen.  You’ve seen it:  it’s the plastic mesh that covers up construction sites or the action at outdoor concerts so that nobody can see inside without paying.  Is this stuff right for your precious little home, though?

Cost:  Minimum of $1.44 per linear foot for 98% black mesh screen, based on a 50 foot order, including shipping.

Best:  You’ll have it up fast.

Worst:  What’s the worst, besides making your home look like the the loading zone behind a grocery store?

Where:   Numerous online sources, but most prominently FenceScreen.com.  Watch out for their add-ons, though.

Vinyl Picket Fence – Traditional Looks, Modern Functionality

It’s difficult to match the traditional, old-fashioned charm of a wood picket fence. It’s a perfect accent piece that provides privacy without being too prohibitive of neighbors. In fact, one might argue it invites people to stop by and chat – over the fence.

Today, that same kind of Old Town friendliness is achieved with the vinyl picket fence. From a distance, a vinyl fence looks exactly like a wood one. Indeed passing by, it would be difficult to tell them apart. Manufacturers have made great strides in achieving an aesthetic that matches the wood picket fence, from the spacing to the fence caps to the finials. The big difference – and thereby advantage – with vinyl is its no-mess maintenance.

Today, many homeowners are opting for the beauty of wood with the worry-free maintenance of vinyl. To clean a vinyl picket fence, all you need is a watering hose and perhaps a scrubber. Some versions may need to be painted every few years, but others require no paint at all – ever. What’s more, a vinyl picket fence is built to withstand the elements, including wind, rain, and snow.

Weather-Beaten Picket Fences?

With a wood fence, you need to be mindful of the weather and weathering. Some homeowners prefer the weathered look, but the next step after “weathered” is damaged and “in need of repair.” With vinyl, such concerns are put away. While wood may turn rustic, vinyl will remain pristine. Indeed, the long-term benefits of “going vinyl” will surface in no time.
Vinyl Picket Fence

Vinyl Picket Fence Prices

Price-wise, a vinyl fence will cost you more than a wood one. However, greater cost today means savings in the future, due to the lack of maintenance, repair, and replacement often required by a wood fence. With vinyl, you are investing in a product to last up to 20 years.

Vinyl is admittedly a relatively new product, but with such advantages, it’s catching on fast. With this said, you should educate yourself on all the details, from the manufacturing process to the included warranty. What’s covered in the warranty? Look for one that will cover the essentials, such as cracking, fading, or yellowing.

A quality vinyl picket fence will be one made from notched rail-fastening systems, with galvanized steel inserts. Despite its cottage-look elegance, you’ll want a fence that’s strong and durable. A fence made with heavy wall posts and rails and that makes use of stainless steel fasteners is one built to withstand the elements and time.

Vinyl fences can be installed by yourself or by a professional. Given the investment, you may wish to hire a professional installer; however, it is definitely a project you can take on by yourself. Just be sure to purchase quality materials. It all starts with the right materials. The vinyl picket fence typically comes in pre-assembled sections, 6’ to 8’ each.

Did you know: Vinyl fencing is available in various styles, including those made to resemble decorative iron fencing. For “wood fences,” choices range from the post-and-rail design to the traditional picket fence.