How to erect a chain link fence

Updated February 21, 2017

Chain link fence is a relatively inexpensive type of fence that blends well with the backdrop of your yard. It delivers an effective boundary around your property without the confining effects of a privacy fence, and it is highly durable. You can purchase chain link fence at many hardware and home improvement stores, and you can save some money on installation by erecting it yourself.

Determine where you want your fence to begin and dig a hole using a post hole digger. The hole should be about six inches in diameter and two feet deep. Place a post in the hole and kick in some dirt to hold it in place. The post should be sticking out of the ground at a height that is three inches less than the total height of your chain link mesh. For example: for four-foot (48") high chain link mesh, your post should be 45" out of the ground.

Pour in half a bag of quick-mix concrete and add water. Mix the water and concrete until it is at an even, claylike consistency. Use a level to make sure the post is standing up straight. Press the level flat against each side of the post to ensure that it's straight in each direction. Allow the concrete to dry before topping the hole off with dirt.

String a line from your first post down the line of your property. Use ground stakes to hold the line tightly in place. This will be a guide for the rest of your posts.

For four- or five-foot-high chain link fence, measure every 10 feet along the line with a tape measure and mark it with the marking paint. For six-foot-high fence, measure every eight feet and mark.

Dig a hole at each mark and refer to Steps 1 and 2 to set a post in each hole. Make sure each post is level and straight along the line, and that each post is at the same height out of the ground. Allow the concrete to dry and fill in each hole before proceeding.

Affix a looped cap to each post and slide the top rail along the tops of the posts. Use bolts and end brackets to attach the rail to each end post. Use a hacksaw to remove any extra rail.

Unroll your chain link mesh along your line of posts. Use the brackets and bolts to attach the mesh to your first post. The mesh will slide between the brackets and will be held in place by the bolts and nuts. Tighten the bolts/nuts with a ratchet and socket.

Pull the mesh tight, affixing it to the top rails and posts with wire ties. Use pliers to bend the wire ties through the mesh and affix it to the posts and rails. Make sure the mesh is tightly pulled before securing it with the wire ties. Use three ties on each post (top, middle, bottom) and a tie every two feet along the top rail.

Use the brackets and bolts to attach the mesh to your final post, just like you did with your first post in Step 2.

Things You'll Need

  • Chain link mesh and posts
  • Top rails
  • Post caps and hardware (bolts, nuts, brackets, wire ties)
  • Post hole digger
  • Quick-mix concrete (1 bag for every 2 fence posts)
  • Shovel
  • Level
  • String line
  • Ground stakes
  • Tape measure
  • Landscaper's marking paint
  • Hacksaw with metal-cutting blade
  • Ratchet with socket that fits nuts
  • Pliers
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