Can you hide behind a fence for proper protection during a storm? The assumption is it’s not the best idea, but we decided to put our most common fence materials to the test. Oh and did we mention that we had a 45ft boom lift onsite that day, so what better way to test than to drop heavy objects from 45ft up and see how they do?
Now, before we get started Joe had the proper safety equipment on including safety glasses, gloves, a hard hat and harness. If by chance you find yourself with a 45ft boom lift we absolutely do not suggest trying this at home. With that being said, let’s see what the results were!
Residential Chain Link vs Wood 4×4
First up we put a residential chain link gate to the test by dropping a wood 4×4 post on it. Our assumption was that the chain link mesh would hold up pretty well – taking most of the impact. Turns out we were right. In this test it resulted in a large dent in the chain link itself, however the fittings were up to the test and did not break.
Ornamental Steel vs Wood 4×4
The second test was to send a 4×4 through an ornamental USA made steel panel. Since these panels are built with individual spindle’s we thought there was a good chance that they would break at the frame. We were wrong about this one, rather than breaking the spindle from the frame it actually took the impact pretty well – only leaving a large dent in the middle of the spindle.
Ornamental Aluminum vs Wood 4×4
So if the steel ornamental panel held up, how would its aluminum counterpart do? For the third test we dropped a 4×4 wood post onto an ornamental aluminum panel and figured it wouldn’t hold up as well as the steel. Turns out we were right. The 4×4 dented the spindle in the middle, while also breaking the spindle from the frame.
Commercial Chain Link vs Cinder Block
We knew the residential chain link gate held up against the 4×4 wood post, but how would a commercial chain link gate hold up to a cinder block? Our fourth test left us a bit surprised since we thought there would be a similar result as the first test. Like the first test, the cinder block dented the chain link, but it also snapped the fittings from the frame.
Ornamental Aluminum vs 4×4 – Vertical Test
For the fifth test we wanted to see how the ornamental aluminum panel would fair with a 4×4 wood post being dropped on it vertically. Surprisingly it was a different result than the third test and only dented the first panel that it hit.
Ornamental Aluminum vs 5” Round Wood Post – Vertical Test
Next we flipped that same ornamental aluminum panel around for the sixth test. This time with a 5” round wood post. Maybe a larger object would lead to more damage? The post missed the first couple of spindles, but ended up denting three of them on the way down. For some reason the impact from the side of the spindles seemed to hold up better than when the panel was laying flat.
Wood Panel vs Four Wood 4×4 Posts
Now when it comes to strength we know that wood is typically inferior to metal. That didn’t stop us from using a steel frame wood gate for the seventh test. We thought this would result in the most damage, and let’s be honest, the best slo mo footage of the day. Just to make sure – we dropped four 4×4 wood posts at once. Boy were we right, the wood pickets didn’t stand a chance with the impact from all four of those posts.
Commercial Chain Link vs SandBag
Then there was one. For the eighth and final test we decided to drop a sandbag on a commercial chain link gate. Would it hold up like it did with the wood post, or would the fittings break like the cinder block? Turns out it was a mix of both. While there was a dent in the chain link, there weren’t nearly as many fittings that broke this time around.
So what did we learn from this not so scientific experiment? Our fences are strong, and can withstand a lot of impact, but it’s not a good idea to use them as protection during a storm. After all their purpose is to help with security and privacy – not act like a storm shelter. So the next time a storm is rolling through the Ozarks, do yourself a favor and take cover inside, and not in your backyard.
One last time – do not try this experiment at home, even if you do have access to a 45ft boom lift. This was made for entertainment purposes only.