Skip to main content
Installing a Chain Link Fence

Residential chain link fence used to be a popular fencing option in the metro St. Louis area. Many homeowners chose it because it’s cheap, easy to install, and well, everyone else was using it. But installing a chain link fence is no longer the preferred choice for residential fencing.

And as a wide range of alternatives to chain link fences become more affordable and widely available, many homeowners are making the switch. And with good reason. Chain link fences come with a number of serious problems.

This guide shows you the five biggest reasons why chain link fences aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. And along the way, we’ll also take a look at a few of the best alternatives to chain link fences.

Table of Contents

The 5 Cons of Investing In & Installing a Chain Link Fence in Your Backyard

So, what makes investing in and installing a chain link fence such a bad idea anyway?

1. Watch the Rust

Rust on FenceNo one likes a rusty fence. And St. Louis’s rainy springs and autumns will undoubtedly cause your chain link to rust and discolor over time.

There are two reasons rust is a bad thing.

  1. It doesn’t look great. A rusty fence often means a neglected home. And for those who take pride in their home, it can be an aggravating eyesore for an otherwise beautiful property.
  2. It can cause damage. The more rust you have on your fence and the longer it goes untreated, the more it’ll cause damage to the underlying structure of your fence. And that means a shorter lifespan.

When your chain link fence does start to rust, you’ll need to either replace the broken parts or remove the rust with a wire brush and refinish the chain link with rust-resistant paint, both of which take time and money.

Don’t forget, that you’ll have to apply a rust-resistant coating once a year to keep your chain link fence well-maintained. And of course, that can take quite a bit of time year after year.

2. A Lack of Design Options

Let’s face it. Chain link hasn’t evolved much past its industrial or prison yard vibe over the past few decades.

For some, that isn’t much of a problem. And a fence doesn’t have to look a certain way. It just needs to keep things in and out of the yard.

But for others, a fence should be at least a little easy on the eyes. It is one of the first features of your home visitors see, after all. And that can be a problem when it comes to chain link fences.

That being said, there are plenty more design options when it comes to some alternatives to chain link fences.

Vinyl fencing, for instance, comes in a wide range of styles, from traditional or contemporary to privacy and semi-privacy. Posts can feature a number of ornamental toppers and crossbars. And many homeowners are surprised to find the long list of color and texture choices this fence type offers.

They can even look and feel just like a stone wall fence.

Aluminum fencing is another alternative to chain links that allow for lots of different design options. Decorative crossbars, ornamental tops, varying post lengths, and color choices that go beyond classic black are all available too.

Need help finding an alternative to chain link fencing? Check out “Types of Fences: Fencing for Your St. Louis Home,” and make sure you have considered all your options.

3. Reduced Privacy & Safety

Chain Privacy FenceChain link isn’t bad at keeping pets and kids in your backyard, up to a point. But it does little to stop people from peeking in or simply hopping over the short fence.

Simply put, chain link simply is not built for privacy or for safety.

If privacy is at the top of your want list, you’ll want to find a fence type specifically constructed for maximum privacy. A simulated stone or vinyl privacy fence works much better than a chain link one here.

A well-constructed privacy fence offers the best protection you can get. Durable hardware, steel-reinforced rails, and high walls mean these fences are built to take a serious beating while turning your backyard into the private sanctuary you’re looking for.

In addition, a chain-link fence is incredibly appealing for kids – and large dogs – to climb over, while its sharp edges put your family at risk of scratches, cuts, and even diseases like tetanus.

[ Compare Vinyl vs. Wood Privacy Fences ]

4. Limited Life Span

On average, you can expect your chain link fence to last about 15 years. Compare that to about 15 to 20 years for wood, 20 to 30 years for vinyl, upwards of 50 for aluminum, and centuries for wrought iron.

That being said, your chain link fence maintenance schedule can, of course, lengthen or shorten your fence’s lifespan dramatically.

While chain link tends to be more durable than an alternative like wood, it’s especially prone to sagging due to loose posts or stretched tension wires. Your gate, in particular, is at risk when rust or frequent use compromises its hinges.

To protect the integrity of your fence, expect to budget for a number of repairs over the next few years. And don’t forget to scrub off any rust with a wire brush and cover your chain link fence with a rust-resistant coating every year.

5. It Can Hurt Your Home’s Resale Value

Fence hurting resale valueLast but not least, a chain-link fence can actually bring your property value down. If you don’t want to have to maintain your fence, neither will potential buyers. And those looking for a new home will likely consider a chain-link fence a liability rather than an asset.

Then there’s the optics of a chain-link fence. In almost all St. Louis neighborhoods, chain links can quickly lower your home’s curb appeal when surrounding homes feature modern, high-end vinyl, or aluminum fencing.

Some homeowner associations are even starting to change their guidelines to get rid of chain links altogether, forcing owners to install more appealing options on their own. A chain-link fence, then, can quickly become a pricy update just waiting to happen.

On the other hand, the right maintenance-free fence can actually boost your home’s selling cost considerably. These options offer lower maintenance costs, improved curb appeal, and longer-lasting durability—all qualities a smart homeowner will be looking for in a new property.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are just a few frequently asked questions about installing a chain-link fence.

What Is the Cheapest Fence to Build?

Chain link is without a doubt the cheapest fence type to build.

According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install a fence is $2,889 including labor, materials, and professional installation. That being said, the material type you choose is one of the largest factors in your final costs.

Take a look at what Homeadvisor liss as the average price range per linear foot.

  • Chain Link – $15-30
  • Wood – $17-45
  • Vinyl – $10-$40
  • Aluminum/Steel – $17-$90
  • Wrought Iron – $30-55+
  • Composite – $11-$45

What Type of Fence Lasts the Longest?

Wrought iron fences tend to last the longest. With proper installation and upkeep, a wrought iron fence can actually last for centuries. But for most, you can expect to get at least 60+ years of life out of them.

Other more common fence types last for quite a bit shorter. Wood, for instance, can last for about 15 to 20 years with proper upkeep (cleaning and repainting or staining every three years). Vinyl fencing can last for 20 to 30 years without much upkeep. And aluminum fences can last upwards of 50 years.

How Long Does a Chain Link Fence Last?

You can expect a chain-link fence to last about 15 years.

However, the proper lifespan of your fence is going to depend on a variety of factors. The material quality and skill of the installers will certainly come into play. But more than most other qualities, the amount of time you put into upkeep will play the biggest role in fence lifespan.

To get the longest life out of a chain-link fence, you’ll need to clean the fence with a tough brush to eliminate rusting. You’ll also need to apply a rust-resistant coating at least once a year.

As you can see, maintaining a chain link fence can be quite a bit of work.

Does Chain Link Fence Decrease Property Value?

It certainly can.

Many new homeowners may consider a chain-link fence to be more of a liability than an asset. That’s because of a chain-link fence:

  • Comes with limited design options
  • Offers little protection or privacy
  • Is prone to rust
  • Requires lots of maintenance
  • Isn’t as attractive as other alternative materials

For these reasons, homes on the market with chain-link fences may actually have a lower property value than if they had another fence type.

Take the Smarter Route with Maintenance-Free Outdoor Solutions

While chain link continues to live on in St. Louis’s older neighborhoods, homeowners are increasingly recognizing the benefits of replacing this outdated fencing with more modern fencing options.

There are so many new types of fencing available that chain link is largely becoming outdated. Best of all, these alternatives to chain link fences tend to last longer, look better, and require little to no maintenance—all coming in at a surprisingly affordable price.

And that’s the type of fencing we at Maintenance-Free Outdoor Solutions specialize in.

With Maintenance-Free Outdoor Solutions, you don’t have to worry about how to install a fence or feel the shopper’s remorse after it’s in place. As fencing contractors, we proudly offer a full line of fencing alternatives to chain link fences that are not only attractive and affordable but also come installed by our team of experienced professionals.

Learn more about the Maintenance-Free Advantage today, and contact us for a free fencing estimate at your home.

Undecided On A Fence?  Dig In With Our Ultimate Guide to Fencing Ebook!  Get this free guide now!

The Ultimate Guide to Fencing


I'm A DIY'er  I need full service I'd like a free estimate