How to Install a Chain Link Fence Without Concrete

Updated July 19, 2017

Chain link is a popular fence material that offers an effective barrier at a lower cost than other fence types. The construction of chain link fencing is generally simple and commonly involves the use of concrete to anchor its fence posts. Concrete offers a stable and durable footing for the chain link posts, but is not always necessary. Bedding sand is a commonly used alternative to concrete, and can be installed without the mess and intensive preparation of concrete, thus offering an easier fence installation.

Mark the perimeter of the fence by driving wood stakes in the corners using the small sledgehammer (leave about three-quarters of the stake out of the ground). Stretch the mason's line from stake to stake, tying the line about 1 inch from the top of the stakes.

Measure and mark the fence post locations along the mason's line using the tape measure and inverted marking paint. The post spacing can vary from 6 to 8 feet (on centre) depending on the length of the fence top rails.

Dig post holes on the marks made in step 2, using the post hole digger. The holes should be 8 to 12 inches in diameter and about 30-inches deep.

Set a post in the first hole, filling about a third of the hole with bedding sand and saturate with water to settle the sand. Set the post level on the side of the post (the level is magnetic so it will stay without needing to hold it) and correct the post as necessary so it remains level. Fill the hole with bedding sand to about 2 inches below the top soil. Saturate with water to settle.

Fill the remaining 2 inches of the hole with the existing soil removed in step 3.

Repeat steps 4 and 5 on remaining posts, keeping them straight along the mason's line set in step 1.

Install the tension bands on end and corner posts, and the brace band near the tops of every post (these will connect the fence top rail to the fence posts). Refer to tension and brace band specifications for fastening instructions and requirements.

Set the post caps on the tops of all fence posts; these are most commonly pushed on, but some may require the use of screws or bolts to hold them in place.

Insert the fence top rail into the brace band cup (rail should slide in) and fasten as necessary per fence specifications.

Hang the chain link fencing by fastening to the tension bands, starting at one end post and stretching to the other along the inner posts; most chain link fencing is rolled; so while you work, you can simply unroll the chain link as you fasten it to the posts. You can cut the chain link to fit using the chain link cutters, if necessary. Refer to fence specifications for chain link fastening instructions and hardware requirements.

Repeat steps 1 through 4 for the remaining fence lines.

Things You'll Need

  • Chain link fence (posts, top rails, post caps, chain link, tension bands, hardware)
  • Chain link cutter
  • Post hole digger (manually operated)
  • Bedding sand (about 1.5 to 2 cubic feet per post)
  • Post level
  • Garden hose
  • Tape measure
  • Inverted marking paint
  • Wood stakes
  • Small sledgehammer
  • Mason's line
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About the Author

J. Cavan Barry is an architecture student with over a decade of experience in the general construction field, and four years in architecture. Barry also has nearly a decade of automotive repair experience and is an avid auto enthusiast. After finding an interest in creative writing, he began writing a novel and recently finished the first draft.