Chain link fence bottom rail provides extra support and added strength to the fence. Fence ties attach chain link fabric to the rail, making a secure connection. As a result, making the bottom of a chain link fence rigid.
Other methods of securing the bottom of a fence such as tension wire or chain link fence stakes cannot compare to the amount of added security offered by bottom rail.
What is the Bottom Rail on a Chain Link Fence for?
As mentioned before, adding a steel pipe to the bottom of a chain link fence makes it stronger. Just like a top rail adds strength and support to the top of a fence. It is common for both to have a matching diameter.
When installed at the bottom of a fence it prevents chain link fabric from being pushed or pulled away from the ground. Even more so than tension wires. But why is this important? Below we’ll take a look at three common reasons customers install a bottom rail.
Chain Link Fence Bottom Rail Adds Security
Security is probably the biggest reason to install chain link fence bottom rail. Especially on commercial fencing. Having a rigid steel rail at the bottom of a chain link fence is just more secure than tension wire or stakes. And unlike tension wire, it does not break or get loose over time.
Loosely stretched chain link fabric is flimsy at the bottom. This allows for it to be pulled up high enough from the ground to allow crawling underneath.
When chain link fabric is secured to the rail, it becomes impossible to lift. Therefore, making the fence more secure.
Added Pet Safety with Chain Link Fence Bottom Rail
Pet safety is another reason to install a rail at the bottom of a chain link fence. Some pets, especially dogs, like to dig at the bottom of residential fences. A hole below the chain link fabric provides a head start for a dog. Allowing pushing through the bottom of the fencing. Even tension wire will not prevent a determined dog from pushing out. Therefore, a rail is better.
It also prevents other critters or dogs from entering a fence from the outside. Chain link fence isn’t just for keeping pets safely contained inside the yard. It is also great for keeping other animals from gaining access to the yard.
Chain Link Fence Bottom Rail for Containment
A strong secure base at the bottom of a chain link fence is requirement for athletic fields and sporting complexes. Preventing baseballs and soccer balls from getting under the fence. Tennis courts are another place you can expect to find fencing with added support at the bottom.
The installation of bottom rails attached to fence posts help to keep balls in the field of play. They are greater in strength than tension wire and much safer than ground stakes.
Do You Need a Bottom Rail for Chain Link Fence?
Not every fence needs a bottom rail. Sometimes tension wire is enough. Not to mention, it is an option that adds cost to a fence. While top rail is common to install on most fence, bottom rail is not.
If your fence is simply to define a property line or create a border around a garden, then you probably would not benefit from it. However, at the minimum, I would still include tension wire and a top rail.
For unsure customers, I have good news. It can always be installed, even on existing chain link fence.
Installing Chain Link Fence Bottom Rail
Installation isn’t hard, but it is easier to attach to the posts before securing the wire mesh. It starts at the terminal posts which are the end and corner posts of a chain link fence. Brace bands and rail ends allow for the first length of pipe to attach to the terminal posts.
Each line post will have a special fitting called a line rail clamp. Shaped like a cross, it fastens to the line posts using a carriage bolt and nut. Each length of pipe is cut to fit between the line posts until reaching end of the fence line.
The chain link fabric is then secured to the rails using aluminum fence ties. The same process is repeated between all of the terminal posts and line posts.
The gap under the pipes should be just high enough that half of a diamond of the chain link fabric sticks out below.
Bottom rail is an effective means to providing extra strength and support to both new and existing chain link fencing. However, an option not every fence requires or needs.