Chain link and faux bamboo
October 16, 2005 5:35 PM   Subscribe

How do I successfully attach a "bamboo" screen to a chain link fence without the wind tearing it down?

A while ago I bought some of those faux bamboo vertical privacy screens from Home Depot to put along the chain link fence in my backyard. I used plastic zip ties to attach them to my chain link fence. The screens do a great job of making the backyard more private and I'm happy with the way they look. The screen extends about a foot above the top of the chain link fence which gives even more privacy than I would otherwise have. I really like them.

Except for one thing. They keep falling down. I've fixed a few parts of the fence at least four times, it seems like the wind whips through a few areas of the fence and makes the plastic zip ties rub up against the chain link so that it snaps.

I'd like some suggestions about how I could better attach these things to the fence so that they won't fall down. I liked the zip ties because they were pretty much invisible. Would wire be a better idea? Should I pick a particular size/type of wire – particularly wire that wouldn't breakdown and can withstand some friction? The "bamboo" is pretty flimsy and held together by wire itself, and in a few places it's broken where the wind has separated it from the zip ties.

I'm getting pretty exasperated with having to keep tying them back to the fence, though I am loathe to get rid of my increased privacy. Any help would be appreciated!
posted by mulkey to Home & Garden (10 answers total)
Do you mean zip ties (plastic devices with a toothed tail and a square anchor) or do you mean zip ties (wire surrounded by plastic that's twisted by hand, like a bread bag or garbage bag closure)? If it's the former, try a thicker gauge. If it's the latter, try the former.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:48 PM on October 16, 2005

Part of the problem is that the wind can't go through the screen. Would it be acceptable/possible to remove every third or fourth strip so the wind passes through?
posted by PurplePorpoise at 6:13 PM on October 16, 2005

I would try brass wire. Mainly just because I have some, but it looks like it would be perfect for that.
posted by sfenders at 6:34 PM on October 16, 2005

You mean the wire that holds the "bamboo" together is breaking, or the "bamboo" is? What if you ran some heavier gauge wire/string horizontally (perhaps weaving in and out of the bamboos intermittently), and then zip-tie to your fence around this heavier horizontal thing?
posted by misterbrandt at 6:42 PM on October 16, 2005

The local hardware store sells spindles of 'bailing wire' which is a very thin guage of cheap wire. Run it (like others have said) horizontally in and out of the fence and bamboo.
posted by unixrat at 7:07 PM on October 16, 2005

If you were using plastic zip ties were they white or black? The white variety aren't UV stabilized, you need the black kind for anything exposed to sunlight. They are also available in several sizes, maybe some of the 1/4" or 3/8" size would be more durable.

Baling wire will rust. If you want to go with wire go to a welding place and get some stainless MIG wire(I like the .030 size for this use). Won't rust and is a little stiffer. A one pound roll is practically a life time supply.
posted by Mitheral at 7:36 PM on October 16, 2005

Response by poster: Thanks for the thoughts so far. They are clear zip ties (plastic devices with a toothed tail and a square anchor). Though I could use black zip ties, I'd rather not because it would be much more noticable.

The bamboo is the stuff that's breaking - only in some places, in other places it's the zip ties themselves. I've tried several sizes of zip ties, most recently using larger sizes. It seems not to make much of a difference.

I like the idea of running the wire horizontally between the fence and the bamboo - kind of like sewing right? I'll have to see if there is a welding place in town. I've never heard of MIG wire.
posted by mulkey at 9:27 PM on October 16, 2005

Purple Porpoise brings up a good point: reducing the wind load on the fence is a very good idea.

Traditional bamboo fences (Japanese) often embrace the visual contribution which connections give. If you're interested in more about bamboo fences, I have found A Japanese Touch for Your Garden to be helpful in this area.
posted by Dick Paris at 5:39 AM on October 17, 2005

mulkey writes "I'll have to see if there is a welding place in town. I've never heard of MIG wire."

Around here Home Depot, Canadian Tire, House of Tools, and Princess Auto all carry MIG supplies. MIG is really common, you should have no problem finding the wire in Tucson. There is a Harbor Freight at 5570 E. 22ND STREET in TUCSON,AZ PH:520-790-4404. They carry SS MIG wire in .030 and .023 sizes on 1kg(2.2lbs)[1] for 20-26 dollars. The .023 is more money but you get a lot more length because MIG wire is sold by the pound. It might be too thin though.

The clear wire tires are not UV resistant so they will deteriorate outside.

[1] I miswrote earlier.
posted by Mitheral at 7:01 AM on October 17, 2005

Response by poster: Wow Mitheral, thanks.
posted by mulkey at 2:39 PM on October 17, 2005

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