The Pros and Cons of Fully Welded Fence Panels

The Pros and Cons of Fully Welded Fence Panels

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Metal fence panels come in a huge variety of sizes, styles and designs. Some are bolted together, some have proprietary construction methods, but some are fully welded. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of fully welded fence panels, and whether they might be right for your site.

The Pros of Fully Welded Fence Panels

We always like to be optimistic, so we decided to start with the good stuff. Here’s why fully welded fence panels might be the right choice for your site.

They’re Stronger

The first and most important reason why you might want to choose fully welded fence panels for your project is that they are stronger. Anywhere that you use a fitting of any kind is potentially a weak point in your fence design, and since fully welded panels don’t have many, they’re harder to break.

They’re More Watertight

Whether you’re in the far north, facing ice and snow or just dealing with corrosion from rainwater getting into your fence panel, there’s no denying that precipitation is not your fence’s best friend.

Fully welded fence panels don’t have many holes where water can get into them. Even if they have been hot dip galvanized, the drainage holes for excess zinc are usually on the bottom of horizontal members, so there’s no way for water to get in and stay in.

Quicker Install

If your fence system is constructed of bolted fence panels (for example, bolted palisade systems) each bolt needs to be placed, tightened, and if you are using shear off nuts or breakaway nuts as they are also known, someone will have to shear them off.

Welded panels are already complete when they arrive at your site, so you’ll only have to deal with bolts that attach your panels to, which can increase the speed of install dramatically.

The Cons of Fully Welded Fence Panels

Of course, there’s also a downside to everything, and fully welded fence panels are no different. Let’s look at some of the challenges you might face if you choose this type of fencing.

Can’t Follow the Ground

If you choose a bolted fence panel, or one that is designed to be rackable, the panel can be installed to follow ground contours. However, that’s not possible with a  fully welded fence panel.

In some cases, where fence panels are custom manufactured for your job, you could request some of the panels to be made to different angles. If not, you will probably need to cut and step the fence to accommodate gradients.

Harder to Ship

Shipping fence panels that are made of components is fairly easy, and you can usually make the most of available deck or shipping container space. However, depending on the dimensions of the panels, shipping fully welded fence panels can be a trickier proposition.

If you have the option to factor shipping into the design of your fully welded fence panels, take advantage of it. Even small design changes could reduce shipping costs dramatically.

Heavier to Install

Fully welded fence panels are usually quicker to install than bolted panels, but they can also be very heavy, which makes installing them tougher for your fence installers. Adding lifting equipment to your site makes the job faster, easier and safer for everyone involved.

Harder to Modify On Site

If you choose to use fully welded fence panels and you need to modify them on site, you will probably need to cut them using a grinder or cutting torch, and you’ll have to have cold galvanizing and touch up paint available.

While you might still have to make minor modifications to other types of fence panels, it’s usually quicker and easier.

Accuracy Is Critical

When you are installing fully welded fence panels, they’re always going to be the size they are, so you have to be completely sure that all your posts are positioned precisely. They have to be installed at exact distances apart, and they need to be completely plumb and level.

That means that fence installers who are used to working with more forgiving fence types like chain link or wood might struggle to install their posts with the precision needed for this type of fence.

The Right Kind of Fully Welded Fence Panel

There are many different types of fully welded fence panel, and your options will probably differ based on where you are in the world.

If you do choose this type of fence system, make sure you take your time choosing the right product, and that you hire a fence contractor with experience with this type of install.

When you are investing in fences like this, that are intended to look good and be as durable and secure as possible, you should never base the decision solely on price. Make sure you consider all factors and take your time making the decision.

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