A neighbor who used to live below my old apartment had his rare imported Honda stolen straight out of the parking lot one night. The gate to the lot was broken, and open, and it rendered the perimeter fence around the apartments useless. He was eventually forced to admit that he was never going to see his beloved car again, and purchased a high-powered motorcycle to give him the adrenaline boost he craved. A week later, at the restaurant where he worked, he emerged in the early morning after a long overnight shift to find someone taking his Yamaha Supersport out of the rear employee parking lot.
Some might take this as the best advertising for a Ford Fiesta ever conceived, but others will understand the need for a heavy duty security fence around businesses and other buildings to protect not only cars, but also employees, customers, and equipment.
The Most Common Type of Security Fencing Isn’t the Best
Often, security fencing is overlooked until something happens that a sturdy fence might have prevented. The usual culprit is the theft of a car out of the parking lot. Frequently, the result of these thefts is that the least expensive and most quickly-installed security fence available is put up. This is usually a chain link fence, which, while it is inexpensive, is not a great option. Chain link fences have several disadvantages when compared to other types of fencing.
- Easy to climb. The links in chain link fencing are perfectly-sized to provide hand and footholds to most people. This means that even casual thieves might be tempted to make their way over the fence to look for something to steal. It is definitely no deterrent to a prepared and determined thief.
- Flimsy against intruders. Chain links are made of wire, and can be easily cut by a cheap pair of wire cutters, granting easy access to anyone looking to get into the lot quickly without much planning or expense.
- Industrial-looking. Chain link fencing is totally functional. This is fencing that is designed to provide a basic barrier and nothing more. It’s distinctly industrial-looking, and has a strong association with crime because of its presence in high-crime areas and its use in the penal system.
Chain link fences are still often used despite their shortcomings simply because they’re among the least expensive fencing options. They can also be used with add-ons to address some of their weaknesses. Barbed wire or razor wire along the top of the fence can prevent climbing. For instance. Unfortunately, this doesn’t improve the aesthetics of the fence, and barbed wire fencing near a business may actually discourage customers. A better security fence is something both more attractive and more heavy duty.
What to Look for in a Heavy Duty Security Fence
Steel fencing with the look of wrought iron is both more solid than chain link fencing and harder to climb. It’s durable because each piece is built out of steel and is firmly attached to the rest of the fence, making it very difficult to cut or otherwise remove entire sections of the fence. The steel pickets don’t provide easy footholds for climbing, and pointed finials or curved top pickets can be added as an extra deterrent at the top of the fence.
Not all wrought iron-look fencing is meant to provide security, though. Many types of fences with this look are more ornamental. Securing a property requires a high-quality fence that has the following features:
- Steel construction. While aluminum is a fairly strong metal, security requires the strength of steel to resist cutting, breaking, and the other methods that criminals might employ.
- Solid assembly. This is necessary to prevent criminals or vandals from damaging the fence. Pickets should be locked into place with an internal assembly providing no obvious fasteners that would allow the ill-intentioned to begin removing pieces of the fence.
- Corrosion resistance. This is a key factor in keeping your security fence functional over time. A solid steel security fence loses much of its strength when it’s rusting out at the joints.
A quality steel security fence for industrial sites and commercial properties should have these characteristics, and will also use thicker gauges of steel than residential fences do for extra strength.
Finding Reasonably-Priced Security Fencing
With all the advantages of steel fencing, it is a bit of a wonder why chain link was the go-to fencing for security for so long. The answer lies in the expense of these steel wrought iron-look fences. For a long time these fences were expensive because each fence had to be custom-built on-site at its final location. Since fabricating this fence required having a skilled welder on-site, this meant a premium price on labor, which resulted in a hefty price tag for fabrication and installation.
There are now other options. Pre-welded steel panel fences have all the qualities you might look for in heavy duty security fencing. Due to the controlled environment of the factories where they are built, many of these panel fences are actually superior to the custom-built ones of yesteryear. A controlled environment results in a better coating and improved rust resistance. They install very quickly as the panels are simply cut to width and mounted to the posts. This results in savings on labor that can go toward a higher-quality fence. However, not every steel panel fence makes a good heavy duty security fence.
The Titan fence by Fortress Fence is one that does. This is a security fence with 16 gauge steel rails and pickets, and an internal 18 gauge steel slide lock that holds the pickets in place. This arrangement makes the rail 20 percent stronger than other security fences and able to support a load of 680 pounds mid-rail. It has superior rust resistance–one of Fortress Building Products’ specialties–with G60 grade galvanized steel, an e-coat, and a final powder coating on top that protects the fence from UV rays and gives it the classic look of wrought iron.