How to install a chain link fence

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How to install a chain link fence
(green chain link fence image by GoodMood Photo from Fotolia.com)

Think you can't install a chain link fence? Think again. This article will show you easy installation steps on how to do it yourself, saving you a lot of money! Your reward in the end will be a secure, nice-looking fence people will praise for years to come.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Post hole digger
  • Wheelbarrow, shovel and hoe for mixing concrete
  • Tape measure
  • Carpenter's level
  • Strong string and stakes
  • Pliers
  • Fence Stretcher (block & tackle or ratchet type power pull)
  • 1/2-inch or 9/16-inch wrench
  • Reciprocating or circular saw with metal cutting blade or pipe cutter

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Locate the boundary lines to your property and drive stakes into the ground along the extension of your property line. Stretch a string between each stake.

  2. 2

    Dig post holes 8" wide and 18" to 30" deep, with vertical sides (the hole should not slope but be perfectly straight top to bottom.

  3. 3

    With crayon or chalk, mark the ground line on the posts. Once in place, the terminal posts should be the height of the fabric plus two inches.

  4. 4

    Set posts in concrete with a mixture of 1-part cement, 2-parts sand and 4-parts gravel. Mix a fairly heavy solution, as too much water weakens concrete, resulting in cracking. Posts should be centred in the hole.

  5. 5

    Check the plumb with a carpenter's level, making sure the chalk or crayon marks remains at ground level.

  6. 6

    When plumb, crown all concrete post footings for water drainage by sloping concrete away from post.

  7. 7

    Locate and set line posts. After 24 hours, when the concrete footings have hardened enough for posts to stay plumb, stretch taut between terminal posts. It should be positioned on the outside face of the posts, 4" below the top.

  8. 8

    Measure the distance between terminal posts to determine exact distance between line posts.

  9. 9

    Starting at terminal post, unroll chain link fabric on the ground, along the outside of the fence line to next terminal post. Slide a tension bar through the first row of chain-link. Fasten the tension bar/fabric combination to the evenly spaced tension bands.

  10. 10

    Add fittings to terminal post and then add rail end bands. Apply all post caps to terminal posts and top rail. Walk along the fabric, and stand it up against the fence frame, taking out the slack as you go. Apply post hinges to gate post.

  11. 11

    Stretch the fabric. Set gate in place aligning top of gate with top of fence. Adjust hinges to allow for full swing. Tighten all bolts securely.

Tips and warnings

  • Familiarise yourself with the fence fittings and their uses.
  • When determining the positions of gate post, remember clearance for hinges, latches, etc. is including in the opening width of the gate. Standard gate widths are 36 inches, 39 inches, 42 inches and 48 inches for single walk gates and 10 feet or 12 feet for double drive gates.
  • Line posts should be installed so that the centre of the line posts will line up with terminal post centres.
  • To remove excess fabric, open the top and bottom loops of a single strand of wire with pliers at the desired point of separation. Unwind the strand up through the links until the fabric comes apart.
  • A rule of thumb when installing chain link fencing is to not exceed 10 feet between posts.
  • Be sure to consult an expert before setting the corner posts due to the different type soil and terrain. The corner posts must be higher than the standard 45 inches for the individual posts.
  • If there is a damaged section, trim it off by clipping off the "knuckle" with bolt cutters or with pliers and weave out the bad section.

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