Learn the Lingo of Security Fencing

One of the main reasons to get a fence–indeed, probably THE main reason to get a fence installed–is for security. Either you want to keep something inside, like children or pets, or you want to keep something out, like vandals, thieves, and burglars. So when you’re looking into buying a security fence, it’s important to know the ins and outs of security fencing lingo. You want to be able to get what you’re looking for, and by knowing what to ask for–what each thing does and what security benefits it has–you’ll be better prepared for getting a secure fence that can give you peace of mind.

Here are a few of the main terms used when talking about security fencing:


While there are many types of fencing that are touted as good security fences, such as chain link or wrought iron, aluminum is an ideal candidate for a security fence because it blends the best of both worlds: it is a strong, affordable fence that can repel most climbers, but it also looks good in the yard. This is in opposition to wrought iron, which is incredibly expensive and difficult to install, and chain link, which looks cheap and can be easily scaled.

Bottom line: Aluminum fencing is strong, affordable, and attractive.

Powder Coating

The term “powder coating” often accompanies aluminum fences. Powder coating is a baked-on compound that keeps aluminum looking good and protects it from scratches and damage. It prohibits the oxidation process, which means no rust, which means that your aluminum fence will last the test of time.

Bottom line: Powder coating keeps your security fence in tip top condition, as well as attractive.


A finial is a distinctive ornament at the top of a picket. These can take all manner of shapes, but some of the most common are fleur de lis, tri-point or quad finials. They give decorative character to the fence, making it more attractive. But they also make the fence more difficult to climb, making it more secure. While some finials are better at this than others–a tri-point pointed top is more intimidating than a rounded pressed point–all of them make a fence harder to climb than a horizontal top… be it with a spear top… with or without finials attached.

Bottom line: Finials, depending on the shape and design, can discourage trespassers from attempting to scale your fence.


A spear or pressed point picket top is a standard type of picket top that is the most common type to deter would-be trespassers. As the name suggests, a spear is a rounded pressed point that makes the fence top look dangerous and injurious to would-be climbers. Spears come in a variety of designs, some very basic and some ornate. All of them are imposing, though some are more attractive than others.

Bottom line: Spear tops are a fearsome threat to would-be trespassers as they could stab the thief trying to climb over the fence.


Pickets are the vertical, evenly-spaced verticals that are attached to the horizontal rails. Most pickets are topped with a pressed point, though the well-known picket fence is made up of simple pointed wooden boards. These seemingly innocent fence posts are dangerous to climbers, as the name’s origin suggests: pickets come from the sharpened logs that were used to defend positions and forts by early settlers and colonists.

Bottom line: While a low picket fence might not seem imposing, a well-made, sturdy one can deter opportunists from crossing it and entering a yard.

Plant Life

Plant life has long been associated with fences, especially hedges and vines which are planted either adjacent to the fence or even incorporated with the fence. This vegetation serves two security purposes with fences. First, it blocks line of sight, keeping the yard private and hiding any potential targets for thieves, and second, hedges and large vines can make it harder to access the fence to be able to climb over it.

Bottom line: Any type of fence, with any type of security measures, can be made more secure with a hedge or vines growing around it.

Security Gate

A security gate can really be any gate with a good strong latch or lock. Some gates are more secure than others: a low gate with no finials and just a horizontal rail for a top will not stop would-be thieves from hopping over it. But a taller gate, and a gate with finials or spears, offers the same kind of protection that the fence proper does. Plus, a good lock that can’t be accessed by reaching over the gate or through the pickets will keep the gate secure. This applies to all gates, both yard gates as well as driveway gates.

Bottom line: A security gate that is made with the same security features of the fence, as well as a good strong lock, will deter outsiders as well as any other part of the fence.


Vinyl fences may not appear to be as imposing as aluminum gates, as they generally have no finials or spear topping them (though some styles do, such as picketed vinyl fences), but there are benefits to some vinyl fences such as the type that block all view of the yard. A thief that is not able to see into a backyard is less likely to make a crime of opportunity.

Bottom line: While not as strong or imposing as an aluminum fence, vinyl fences that block line of sight into a yard can be good deterrents to trespassers.

Additional considerations

If you are especially concerned about security in your fencing, there are always much stronger actions that you can take through third-party security retailers, including anti-climb devices like barbed wire, razor spikes or electric pulse fencing. These precautions keep your yard safe, though they do decrease the aesthetic look of the fence and the yard.

For more information about how you can protect your yard from trespassers, thieves, and vandals, contact us for a full rundown on our fence security measures.

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