How to Wire and Tension a Chain Link Fence

Updated February 21, 2017

One of the main virtues of a chain link fence vis-à-vis wood or vinyl fences is the durability offered by its all-metal construction. Even so, the chain link mesh has considerable give if it is simply wired to the posts, and that compromises the fence's potential as a barrier. To make the chain link mesh more rigid, it must first be placed under high tension, and only then may it be wired to the posts and rails of the fence.

Tie down the fence spreader to an anchor, such as a parked vehicle's trailer hitch or a tree just outside the fence line. In some cases, the fence spreader is attached to a chain that is looped around the anchor and hooked to itself; a wire or cable with an eye-ring also can be used.

Carry the triangle, which is attached to a chain or cable at the other end of the fence spreader, down to the end of the chain link mesh.

Slide a tension bar vertically through the chain link mesh in a position where the hooks on the triangle can be attached to it. Attach the triangle's pair of hooks to the tension bar.

Pump the lever on the fence spreader, pulling the chain link mesh toward the spreader and tightening it. Test the mesh periodically by squeezing it with moderate force. The mesh is taut when you can squeeze it by only 1/4 of an inch.

Tie the mesh to the line posts and fence rails. Wrap the wire around the mesh and the post or rail, and twist tie it down tightly. Use at least three ties for every post and every rail, and trim off any extra wire from the ties with wire cutters.


If you have nothing convenient to use as an anchor for the fence spreader, you will need to temporarily install a fence post just beyond the terminal post of the fence line to serve as an anchor.

Things You'll Need

  • Fence spreader
  • Wire ties
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