When it comes to security, any fence is better than no fence at all. On the other hand, some fences are a lot better than others when it comes to deterring intruders.
If you’re looking to install a fence to keep your home and family safe, here’s what you need to know about the best fences for security. In the guide below, we’ll cover everything from fence materials and styles to additional security features.
A security fence is the first obstacle standing between a criminal and your home — but if it’s effective, it’s the only one you’ll need.
Here are some features to look for in a functional security fence:
For homeowners, the best fence for security is a vinyl or wood privacy fence, which prevents potential home invaders from seeing into your yard.
Why choose a privacy fence as a security fence?
“Fences made out of metal like aluminum and wrought iron might be harder to cut through, but they tend to provide high visibility,” explains Chris Herman, Founder of Top Rail Fence. “This is why I recommend privacy fences — tall, solid fences that block views of your property — for people looking for security. Privacy itself acts as a deterrent to would-be criminals.”
Below, we explain each of these fence options for securing your property, as well as some others.
Vinyl (also known as PVC) is a sturdy, long-lasting material that’s relatively easy to install but difficult to break down or breach. Known for its gleaming white finish, vinyl is generally appreciated for its aesthetic qualities. It also comes in a variety of sizes, colors, and styles.
There’s no need to stain or paint vinyl, and very little maintenance is needed compared to wood fences. However, vinyl fences require more cleaning compared to other fences in order to keep them in tip-top shape. They also tend to come with a higher price tag.
While wood isn’t going to keep determined criminals from breaching your property (it’s easy to break through or pry loose), wood fences can be built to stand tall and provide privacy. This prevents would-be trespassers from scoping out your home.
A beautiful wood fence can add curb appeal and property value for less than you would pay for a vinyl fence. However, compared to other fence materials such as aluminum or chain link, wood has a shorter lifespan.This is due to its vulnerability to damage from fungus, pests, UV rays, and the elements. But when well maintained, wood fences can last 15 to 20 years.
The type of wood you choose can also make a difference in your fence’s lifespan. For instance, fences made of redwood, which is known for being resistant to rot and infestation, have been known to last up to 25 years.
A chain link fence can serve as security fences for both residential as well as commercial properties. However, it may not be approved by city ordinances. Chain link fences can add a layer of security around your property, but they have a couple of weaknesses: Chain link wire is easy to snip through and can be relatively easy to climb.
A 6-foot chain link fence with three rows of barbed wire at the top is a perfect choice for deterring climbing. A chain link fence can also be paired with other security features such as surveillance cameras and alarms (see below). On the plus side, chain link is an affordable and long-lasting security fence option.
Aluminum is a popular choice for those who aren’t fans of chain link but don’t want to obstruct their view with a wood privacy fence. Pricing-wise, aluminum costs almost as much as vinyl. But compared to other metal fence materials, it’s the least expensive option besides chain link. Aluminum fences are also rust-resistant and require very little maintenance. This can help save on costs down the road.
Standard aluminum fences average 48 inches to 54 inches in height, making them shorter than most adults, and they don’t afford much privacy. However, aluminum is a popular choice for homeowners or apartment or condo property managers looking to keep the perimeter around a pool secure for liability purposes.
Adding a security fence to your home is an important first step. There are several ways to bolster its effectiveness with added security features.
A security fence isn’t complete without a security gate fitted with a heavy-duty locking mechanism. Gates are priced separately from fences in most cases. On average, a fence gate will cost around $2,000, which includes materials, locks, and labor. Your actual cost will vary according to size, materials, and your location.
Homeowners have the choice between wired and wireless home security cameras. While wired home security cameras offer permanent connection and higher-quality, 24/7 footage, they can be harder and more expensive to install. On the other hand, wireless cameras are battery-operated and connected via Wi-Fi. This makes them easier and cheaper to set up. While they can be easily integrated into smart home systems, they tend to only record when the motion sensor is activated. They’re also liable to lose connection if your wireless network goes down.
Lights are always an effective deterrent to would-be home invaders. In fact, this study showed that outdoor lighting reduced crime by 39 percent. Bright lights that turn on when someone comes close to your fence tell the trespasser they’re nearing a home that someone cares about protecting. It also alerts them to the fact that someone may be home, or other security enforcements may be in place. Either way, it’s hard to get away with breaking into a property with a spotlight shining down on you.
Sometimes signage on a fence is enough to warn would-be burglars away. Popular signs announce the presence of surveillance cameras on the property (“Smile! You’re on Camera!”) or warn that a protective canine lives there (“Beware of Dog”). Neither needs to be true — the intent is to make the person think twice, then choose to walk away.
Whereas cameras can have blind spots where intruders can slip by, fence alarms can be used to monitor the entire perimeter of a fence. Wireless contact sensors can also be added to gates to alert homeowners in case a gate is opened.
Perhaps the classic version of an anti-climb device is barbed wire coiled on top of a fence. However, this isn’t particularly attractive, and it’s not typically approved by homeowners’ associations. Thankfully, there are friendlier versions. They include rollers that resist hand grips and footholds, as well as thin spike strips in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors.
One approach to deterring climbing that isn’t exactly a “device” is anti-climbing paint, also known as anti-vandal grease. This thick, oily substance never dries, making it almost impossible to get a grip, even with sneakers or gloves. This do-it-yourself option does require upkeep every few years. And the outside of your fence may not be friendly to wildlife, pets, or children.
Ready to install your security fence? Here are some things to keep in mind:
At Top Rail Fence, we’re dedicated to only offering high-quality fence products installed by trained professionals. When you choose Top Rail’s premium fencing options and installation, you’re making an investment that will bring you security and peace of mind for years to come.
Looking for help with your fence project? Contact our team for a free quote.