The 3 Most Common Types of Metal Fencing


Brad Ledford

3 June, 2024

The 3 Most Common Types of Metal Fencing

If you find that wood gets worn and vinyl might crack, a metal fence could be more suitable for any application, from industrial to residential.

Of course, the deciding factor will always be your objective. Is security a top priority, or do aesthetics matter more? Do you want a fence that’s easier to replace or one that can last for the next 30 years?

Today, we’re looking at three types of metal fencing, their biggest advantages, and what you can expect for your investment.

Types of Metal Fencing

Steel, aluminum, and wrought iron are three common types of metal fencing. However, there’s a great deal of variety available, from pickets and slats to chain link and corrugated panels.

Here’s a closer look at each.


Wrought Iron

Wrought iron was the gold standard for centuries, which is unsurprising considering how long-lasting it is. It gives the impression of imposing strength with plenty of room for decorative details. This is why the look of wrought iron is still a popular option for upscale aesthetics.

The main drawback is that wrought iron fencing is a significant investment that doesn’t end with installation. Prone to rust, an iron fence requires regular maintenance. Powder coating can reduce those costs, but ultimately, many choose lighter, more weather-resistant metals, styling and painting them to resemble wrought iron.

Wrought Iron Fencing Pros Wrought Iron Fencing Cons
Secure with the right height and spacing Heavy
Many decorative options Expensive to install and maintain
Very long-lasting Prone to rust




Whether it’s made to mimic a wrought iron fence or serve as a classic white picket perimeter that doesn’t need annual repainting, aluminum is arguably the most versatile of all types of metal fencing. It’s lightweight, cost-effective, and usually straightforward to install.

Plus, if you live in an area where extreme weather happens, it’s quite resistant to corrosion. If you do run into damage, finding a pro to repair aluminum fencing is always an option.

The disadvantage is that aluminum isn’t the first choice in strength and security. Depending on the style, aluminum fences are known to bend or dent more than other metal fences.

Aluminum Fencing Pros Aluminum Fencing Cons
Economical May bend or dent easier than others
Many styles for all aesthetics Not the most secure
Easier to install and replace Shorter lifespan compared to others




Steel is the most recycled metal in the world and is a higher-strength alternative to aluminum. When galvanized, it resists corrosion well enough to last for decades. In general, it sits right between wrought iron and aluminum in terms of weight, cost, and ease of installation.

Choosing a steel fence will come down to style, budget, and application. Chain link fences for pet-friendly areas can be very affordable and easy to manage but do not improve curb appeal. Larger budgets can accommodate slat or picket steel fencing that is both more secure and attractive.

Steel Fencing Pros Steel Fencing Cons
Good security Can be harder to install due to weight
Stronger than aluminum Most types cost more than aluminum
Galvanization increases lifespan Some styles, like chain link, don’t add aesthetic value


What is the most affordable metal fence?

Chain link is typically the least expensive type of metal fence. The cost will vary depending on the size of your project, specific panel features, and security and stability upgrades.

If chain link isn’t the right pick for your project (it doesn’t add much curb appeal), aluminum is the affordable choice.


What type of metal are chain link fences made of?

Chain link fencing is made from steel wire. The steel wire may be either galvanized, coated in aluminum, or coated in vinyl. The wire is bent to interlock in a diamond pattern and laced onto a frame that is also typically made of steel.

The gauge of both frame and wire can differ depending on the fence’s purpose. For example, temporary chain link fencing for a work zone may have thinner wire than backyard or commercial chain link fencing.

What type of metal fence do I have?

If you’ve just acquired a property and aren’t sure how to tell which type of metal fence is already installed, check the posts. The posts for aluminum are more likely to have punches in them where the fencing fits in. Iron or steel are likely to use brackets or welds.

A firm grip will help you ascertain the difference as well. Iron and steel simply feel heavier and more solid than aluminum.

If you’d like to tell the difference between steel and wrought iron, look closely. The “wrought” in wrought iron means you can usually see some signs of workmanship, like mottled areas or dings. You may also notice a bit of corrosion in some joints or nooks.

Which metal fence is best for your property?

Rugged wrought iron, undemanding aluminum, or reliable steel? Sometimes the answer is clear, but a professional opinion never hurts. After all, the right fence can increase your property value, safety, and ability to stay in compliance.

Request a complimentary estimate today for your home or business.

Brad Ledford

Brad Ledford, originally from Chattanooga, TN, brings over 12 years of franchise ownership and extensive construction industry experience, including serving as General Manager of a fencing company. Since September 2023, he has been a Senior Franchise Operations Manager with Top Rail Fence.