Chain Link Fence Dictionary

How to Talk Like a Chain Link Pro

At Fencing Direct, we want to empower our customers and contractors to feel confident about what chain link material is needed for each project. We have put together a Chain Link dictionary and reference guide to use on our website, that will take you through the installation process. Whether you are a contractor just getting into fencing profession, or a homeowner installing a fence for your home, we know that this dictionary will a be useful tool to help you with your project.


Rolls of chain link, are commonly referred to as mesh or fabric. Chain link rolls got those names because the roll will start as individual strands of wire that weave together to create the diamond pattern on machines similar to ones used to make clothing fabric. The mesh/fabric comes in 50ft long rolls and creates the enclosed part of the chain link fence system. Your roll will be compressed at the time of delivery, but will stretch out as you install it.


Selvage is the finish of the top and bottom of laces in the mesh/fabric on the chain link. The selvage can be twisted for security or knuckled for safety.


Gauge refers to the thickness of the wire used to produce the chain link mesh/fabric. The lower the number the thicker it is. For example, 9 gauge wire is heavier than 11 1/2 gauge. For vinyl mesh/fabric, keep in mind that it is sold by the finished gauge. Which means that the core wire will be smaller. For example 9G black vinyl mesh/fabric will likely contain an 11.5G galvanized core wire.

Diamond Size

Diamond is the opening size of the mesh/fabric. The diamond size can be as small as 3/8” for high security to 2 1/4” for residential applications. The size of the diamond is very important if you later want to add vinyl slats.

Galvanized Coated

Galvanizing is the process of applying zinc to steel wire to prevent rust. The amount of zinc applied will determine the longevity of the product from 15 to 50 years.

Vinyl Coated

Vinyl coated fabric and/or pipe have a polyester vinyl color coat applied on to it after a 5 stage pre-treatment wash to prepare the pipe for the electro-static polyester/polyolefin coating process over the galvanized steel. This extends the life of the product. The vinyl coating is available in a few colors.


This is the skeleton of the fence that holds the mesh/fabric in place. The framework is a combination of top rail, line posts, and terminal posts. With chain link you will install all of your framework before installing you mesh/fabric and hanging your gates


Tubing refers to the thickness of the pipe used for the framework. Residential is lighter gauge, .055 to .065, than what is used for commercial applications. Commercial application is often referred to as pipe vs tubing.

Top Rail

Top rail is usually a 1 3/8” diameter and come 21’ long for residential fence. It is runs through loop caps that sit on top of the intermediate (Line) posts and are attached to the terminal posts with brace bands and rail ends. The mesh/fabric also attaches to the top rail with ties. For fencing lengths greater than 21’, the top rails connect to each other by swedge ends.


A swedge is a crimped end of a piece of top rail that fits inside the non-crimped side to form a continues length of top rail without using sleeves.

Line Post

Line Post are either 1 5/8” or 2” for residential posts that go about 2’ in the ground and are spaced evenly between the terminal posts no more than 10’ apart. The line post also hold up the top rail with a loop cap.

Loop Cap

Aluminum or steel caps that sit on the intermediate (line) post. That prevent water entering into the post and also allows the top rail to sit on top. The loop cap allows the top rail to continue down the line of the fence to eventually ending at the terminal post.

Rail End

The rail ends are used in conjunction with brace bands, nuts, and bolts, to attach the top rail to the terminal posts.

Brace Band

The brace band is used to attach the rail end cap, that attaches the top rail to the terminal post with a nut and bolt.

Terminal Post

The terminal posts are where the fencing fabric stops, starts or turns a corner. Typically for residential, they are 2 1/2” or sometimes 2” diameter, at least 2’ in the ground. The terminal posts will hold the brace bands and rail ends for the top rail and have a tension bar and tension bands to hold the chain link mesh/fabric. Terminal posts are also where your gate hinges and latches attach. In cases where the ground makes an extreme grade change, a terminal post should be used at the top and bottom of the slope to allow the mesh/fabric to follow the grade of ground.

Post Caps

Also referred to as terminal post caps, they are made of aluminum or steel that sit on the terminal post to prevent water from entering the posts.

Tension Bar

A steel bar that passes through the chain link mesh to attach the fabric to the terminal post with tension bands.

Tension Band

The tension band is used for holding the tension bar in place and attaching the chain link mesh/fabric to the terminal post. The band is attached to the terminal post with a nut and bolt. You will use 1 less tension band than the height of the fence, for example a 4ft tall fence requires 3 tension bands per tension bar.


Tie wires are either made of steel or aluminum. They are used to hold the chain link mesh/fabric in place down the line of fence after it is stretched and attached to the terminal post with the tension bar. They are tied around the top rail and the lines posts spaced apart about 18" for the top rail and every 12" on the line post.

Tension Wire

Tension wire is usually a heavy gauge galvanized wire used to help secure the bottom of the chain link mesh/fabric so that it is not easy to push the mesh/fabric to get under the fence.

Hog Rings

Hog rings are spaced every 24” and are used to secure the tension wire to the chain link mesh/fabric.

Bottom Rail

Bottom Rail is the same product at the top rail and is used for added security at the bottom of the fence to prevent animals from pushing the fabric and gaining access. Bottom rails connect to the line post with line rail clamps and end at the terminal post with the same end rail cap and brace band as the top rail.

Line Rail (Boulevard) Clamp

Line rail/blvd. clamps are used on the line posts to attached the bottom rail along the fence line. Unlike the loop cap with the top rail, you will have to cut your bottom rail as you go. The bottom rail will connect into the line rail clamp with nuts and bolts.

Walking Gate

A walk gate is a single panel gate that comes at a standard width of 4’ wide. A custom gate size can be made smaller or larger if needed.

Drive Gates

Drive gates, or double drive gates, are typically 2 gates that open for a driveway. The standard size is a 10’ opening crated with two 5’ gates, a latch and a drop rod. Custom gates can be made to create a smaller or larger size opening.

Gate Hardware

Gate hardware is a combination of hinges and latches to attach the gate to the terminal posts. 2-male hinges for the post, 2- female hinges for the gate, a collar and latch to keep the gate closed. Double gates would require 4- males hinges for the post, 4- female hinges, 1 - latch, 1 – collar, and 1 - drop rod for the gate.

Pool Code Gate Hardware

Pool code hardware for chain link is a combination of auto closing hinges and a pool code latch. The style of hardware varies from different manufactures.

Vinyl Privacy Slats

When wanting to create more privacy with a new or pre-existing chain link fence, we suggest using vinyl privacy slats. Vinyl slats come in a few different styles, Top locking, bottom locking, winged, and hedge link. Each style offers a different level of privacy. All styles, except the hedge link, also come in a variety of colors.

Ready to Shop? Click here to view products.
Have more questions? Contact Us.