Inexpensive Ways To Cover A Chain-Link Fence

Sean Jarvis
by Sean Jarvis

A chain-link fence offers many benefits, curb appeal not being one of them. While it helps keep your dogs in your yard and mark off your property, it won’t do a whole lot to raise the aesthetic of your home.

To make a chain-link fence more attractive, you can start by installing fence slats. If that doesn’t work for you, try full bamboo screens. These can be easily be attached using metal wire and add a layer of privacy to your fence, as well as raising the curb appeal.

The cheapest ways to cover a chain link fence include using fence slats, bamboo screens, reed screens, wire mesh, wooden fence panels, bird netting, hanging slats, and even plants or trees. You can find these items at any home improvement store such as Home Depot or Lowes. Although, you might find them listed in the “FREE” section on Craigslist.

Either method you choose to cover a chain-link fence will be an improvement. Chain-link may be inexpensive to install, but it is difficult to remove, so hiding it will be your best bet.

Covering Your Chain Link Fence

A chain-link fence is one of the cheapest kinds of fence that you can install around your property. Usually not the first choice because of aesthetic reasons, they win over a lot of homeowners with how easy they are to install.

To install a chain-link fence, you dig holes on the ground that are filled with concrete around the fence posts. From there, you stretch out chain-link from post to post, wrapping it around your property. The problem is that once installed, they are tough to remove. Even with a tractor, it is a big job because they are deeply buried and encased in concrete.

If you have a chain-link fence, it will be easier and less expensive to cover it up than it would be to remove it. Below are some options for beautifying your industrial-esque fencing.

1. Fence Slats

A chain-link fence is comprised of metal wires that are wrapped together, leaving large openings. Because these large openings exist in a pattern, it is easy to slide in long, narrow slats and change the look of the fence.

When you insert these individual slats from top to bottom, they stay in place without needing to be attached. They are made from high-density polyethylene or aluminum. You can spray paint them whatever color you like to help match them to your house or complement its color.

Because of their material, chain-link slats can last a very long time. Depending on what the weather is like where you live, you may have to repaint them once in a while. But structurally, they can last decades. If a portion of your fence happens to get damaged, they are straightforward to replace one by one. They are not the most attractive option listed here, but they are relatively inexpensive and offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to color.

2. Bamboo Screens

Bamboo screens will allow you to upgrade your chain-link fence in a way that feels more natural. Full bamboo pole screens come in different thicknesses, and no two poles are alike, as they are not synthetic.

You can attach these to your chain-link fence by tying them directly to it, using different gauges of wire. It helps if your bamboo poles are cut on the bamboo nodes, as enclosed, rather than having exposed ends that will collect rain. This will extend their life, as the nodes act as caps for the poles.

This is a natural and attractive look for covering up chain-link fencing. Because of how close the bamboo poles are to each other, it can also work as a privacy screen. They will give your yard and property a more natural feel, and you can also work in flowers and other accessories if you’d like.

While they will last a while, they will slowly deteriorate if you live in an area with various weather patterns. If they are regularly maintained, you can get more life out of them, but because they are an organic material, they will break down over time when exposed to the elements.

3. Reed Screens

Reed screens are very similar to bamboo screens; their width is different. These are about as wide as a drinking straw, making them easy to roll up and transport. Coming in 4′, 8′, and 16′ long lengths, they are an excellent choice for a lighter-weight fence covering.

They are not as sturdy in strong winds and can bend under pressure because of their thin diameter. Once bent, they may snap, so it’s essential to take this into consideration where you live. They are effortless to install, much like full-size bamboo screens; simply secure them to the chain-link fence using metal wire. If you secure them firmly and frequently, they will do much better standing up tall.

Reed screens act as a privacy screen, especially when new. As they age and deteriorate, this will drop. But because they are so inexpensive and easy to find, replacing these shouldn’t be a problem. You can also cut out sections that have been damaged and replace just that area. They are one of the least durable options, but their price more than makes up for it.

4. Wire Mesh

Wire mesh screens are also known as privacy screens because it is so difficult to see through them. Great and dealing with the wend, these are water and wind permeable, which means they won’t suffer the same damage as other screens.

Made with a double-thick trim around the edges, you secure these to your fence using brass grommets and zip ties. This makes them easier than others to install and remove. They come in different thicknesses, which allow for different levels of privacy, ranging from 75% – to 95% visibility.

These are not the most attractive option, but they are an excellent choice for industrial areas, schools, and activity locations, where you want more privacy.

5. Wooden Fence Panels

Wooden fence panels are by far the most attractive option when it comes to upgrading your chain-link fence, and these will cover it entirely, and no one will know what once existed there.

Using U-brackets, you screw the wooden fence panels into them, and this is how they are connected to the chain-link fence.

This removes the need to nail up the boards individually, and once you run a horizontal board across them at the top and the bottom, they are very structurally sound. You can choose from various stains and colors, offering more flexibility aesthetically than any other option.

Because they are made from wood, you can apply weather-resistant sealants to them, significantly increasing their durability. The privacy they offer goes far beyond most of the other options you have and will completely change the look of your fence. With wooden fence panels, you aren’t just upgrading chain-link; you’re completely hiding it.

You may have to get a fence permit with wooden fence panels, depending on where you live. You will have to check with your city or your HOA before installing these onto your chain-link fence. They also do not often come with installation hardware kits, but you can easily find the U-brackets at a local hardware store.

6. Bird Netting

A mesh wind screen, often known as bird netting, is an excellent pest deterrent with no gaps between the metal mesh. Mesh fencing net is pre-installed in prefabricated panels that can be purchased at your local hardware shop.

Water and wind can pass through the Mesh privacy screen. It also features a double-thick trim around the circumference, as well as brass grommets on the trim, allowing you to zip tie it to the chain-link fence. They’re easy to install and remove than other options because of the brass grommets and zip ties.

Mesh screening is exceptionally long-lasting, and it’s made of non-organic UV-rated high-density polyethylene and can last for years. When compared to other privacy screens, it is also the most affordable.

However, they are more utilitarian than attractive. They’re frequently found in industrial settings, schools, tennis courts, and swimming pools.

7. Hanging Slats

Lay one cedar plank horizontally across the top of your fence and put one cedar plank horizontally on the ground. Then, vertically set two smaller cedar boards. These smaller boards will support the spherical lattice panels.

To keep the slats from hanging straight on your chain link fence, make sure the sideboards are level. The rest of the cedar boards should be evenly spaced and nailed in place. The panel will be completed with the remaining cedar planks. Measure the distance between the top and bottom of the slat and then insert the remaining cedar planks in that gap.

8. Plant Bushes and Trees

Wood planks aren’t your sole option for covering a chain-link fence. Plant shrubs and trees in front of your chain link fence if you want more privacy and security. This will help hide the area and give it a more secure appearance.

Make sure you choose a tree that is appropriate for your growing environment. Choose a plant-based on the climate in your area, as well as whether you require a plant that can withstand direct sunlight, dry soil, and maintain its color throughout the year.

If you choose with bushes, trees, or shrubs, you’ll have to maintain them every week, and they’ll take a few years to reach full height. Also, cut the plant uniformly on the top and sides, with the top broader than the base to allow light to reach the lower branches.

Sean Jarvis
Sean Jarvis

Sean Jarvis is an interior decorator, writer, and expert handyman. Well versed in everything home improvement, he is a savant at manipulating words and spaces and upgrading everything around him. Sean specializes in writing concise guides about appliance repair and installation, home and lifestyle, and other residential projects.

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