Here's a good question......

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by coolcanoechic, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. coolcanoechic

    coolcanoechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    I would like to know,,,,,,
    How long does hardware cloth really last when burried? I am planning a new run, and want to be asssured that it really will not rot under ground after a short time. Anyone have any experiences?
     
  2. rikithemonk

    rikithemonk Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is a good question. I think the answer depends on your area. How wet your ground is, How long it stays wet. and how often it rains. Just an FYI. In the wooded area behind my house, there is an abandoned rabbit hutch. It was dumped there years ago and the last time I glanced at it, I noted that the hardware cloth was still in very good shape. Im in florida, which is subtropical.

    Riki
     
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    There is no easy answer to that. It depends on a lot of things. Soil moisture is one for sure. How acidic is your soil? How thick (what gauge) is your wire?

    One really big thing is the integrity of the coating. Most hardware cloth is galvanized. That sets up a cathodic reaction that protects the wire. There are different qualities of galvanizing jobs. Hot dip galvanizing done right is the top of the line.

    If that galvanizing is scratched or you have a hole in it, commonly called pinholes, you have a specific spot that the corrosion will concentrate on. Those hot spots don't last long.

    I used to work offshore. That is a wet saltwater environment that will corrode steel real fast. We used top quality galvanizing and painted on top of that. I saw galvanized steel next to galvanized then painted steel. There is no question the paint on top of the galvanizing helped extend the life of the steel tremendously. I don't know what kind of paint they used but it made a huge difference.

    Probably the best way to paint hardware cloth is with a roller. There will probably be a lot of paint waste no matter how you do it. Just try to get a real good coat on it without holes.

    If you paint hardware cloth with a dark paint, say black or dark green, it pretty well disappears around a run. It's still there but you can easily see through it. No glare at all and you can see the chickens inside the run pretty well.
     
  4. coolcanoechic

    coolcanoechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    So if I paint the hardware cloth, it will last longer? I don't know how acidic my soil is, but I'd be willing to guess it is mostly clay and sand. However, it can get pretty wet in the springtime.
    Burying hardware cloth is not an easy task and I am hoping it is not something that has to be redone often. I don't want to be fooled by a false sence of security thinking my run is safe if the cloth rots away underneath the ground.

    I'm wondering if anyone has ever dug up their hardware cloth and noted what shape it was in after a long time in the ground.
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Don't bury it. Use the apron concept. The idea is that the digging predator goes up to the fence, tries diggging, hits the wire, and does not know to back up.

    Take a strip 18" to 24" wide and lay it flat on the ground outside your coop and run. Attach it at the bottom so nothing can get through. You don't need to bury it at all. Just lay something heavy on it long enough for the grass to grow up through it and hold it down, but it is easier to mow and weed eat if it is buried a bit. Many people take up the sod, which is usually an inch or two, put the wire down, and put the sod back on top. That's a lot easier than digging a trench, especially in rocky ground, and I think it is more effective.

    Yes painting will make it last a lot longer.

    A lot of us have dug up buried metal, not just hardware cloth. Sometimes it is in great shape and sometimes it is totally shot even though it has been buried the same amount of time.

    I tried to say it before but the message obviously did not get through. There are so many differences in our situations that how long it lasts for me does not mean much of anything to you. Different soils, different moisture, different chemical composition of the metal, different gauge of material, different coatings and quality of coatings, and a really big one, whether or not that coating is scratched or damaged. How long it lasts for me has no relationdhip to how long it will last for you.
     
  6. 7L Farm

    7L Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I usually just attach the wire to the structure & stake it down. Let the grass grow over it.
     
  7. coolcanoechic

    coolcanoechic Chillin' With My Peeps

    I was just trying to figure out if it might last for more than a couple of years. I would never be able to tell if the stuff is scratched or poor quality just by looking at it. I will most likely be doing the skirt method of putting it just under the surface of the soil since every time I stick a shovel in the ground, out pops a small boulder. Painting it definately sounds like a good idea.
    I had other ideas of making it foolproof against digging predators, but they are sounding like too much work. One idea was to bury cinder blocks. I know those will last forever, but would be labor intensive getting them in. Not my idea of fun. I'd rather be building, thank you........
     

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