Basic Chain Link Fence Terminology Explained

Aug 14, 2019 | Uncategorized

Are you looking to install a chain link fence in your yard, but unsure of what some of the terms you keep reading about mean? Don’t worry, here is a quick basic guide to help you learn some fencing lingo.


Posts are the vertical or upright poles that the rest of the fence is built around. These are typically anchored in the ground and placed around 6-10 feet apart, though it can vary by the fence.

Top Rail

This is the horizontal rail that runs across the top of the fence.

Loop Caps

These are toppers for the posts with a loop that the top rail is inserted into. These are placed on all of the interior posts.

Post Caps

Post caps are simply a decorative topper that covers the top of the end posts and make the fence look more finished and professional.


This is the actual chain link part of the fence. The mesh is hung between the posts to create the fence.

fence parts


This refers to the thickness of the wire used to make up the mesh. A smaller number means a thinner wire, while a bigger number indicates a thicker wire.


This is a type of finish that the mesh can come in. All chain link fences are made of metal, but they come in different finishes. Galvanized chain link is probably what you are most familiar with. It simply means a protective coating of zinc is applied to the metal to make it more durable and rust-resistant.

Vinyl Coated

Vinyl coating is another type of finish. The metal is coated in vinyl in order to protect it. This vinyl can come in a variety of colors, so these chain link fences are not the silver color you would expect.

chain link fence

Galvanized Chain Link 

vinyl coated chain link fence

Vinyl Coated Chain Link 


Selvage refers to how the excess wire is finished off at the top of the fence. The two common types of selvage are knuckle and twist. In knuckle selvage, the excess wire is folded over, forming what looks like a knuckle. In twist selvage, the wire is twisted together to finish it off.

knuckle selvage fence

Knuckle Selvage

twist selvage fence

Twist Selvage


Slats can be inserted into the chain link mesh in order to add privacy and decoration. There are a wide variety of slats available, offering different degrees of privacy.  

privacy fence slats option 1
privacy fence slats option 2

Different Types of Slats

privacy fence slats option 3
Hopefully, this article has helped you learn about some of the different components and aspects of chain link fences!
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