How to Build a Chain Link Fence

Save Money and Learn how to Build a Chain Link Fence

Many of our customers these days are “do it your-selfers” who are interested in purchasing fence materials from us and then saving money by building it themselves. This increasingly popular approach has lead us to put together a pamphlet that many customers find helpful when tackling an installation project themselves. Building a fence can be difficult and time consuming but we aim to help lighten the load and are happy to answer any questions you may have. Download our Guide to Installing Your Own Chain Link Fence for free!

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If installing a fence isn’t your thing, we provide professional installation at an affordable rate. Please visit our installation site or request an estimate for more information.

Installation Instructions

Before you start, make sure your boundaries and
property lines are legally established.

Please read these instructions carefully.

Lay out fence lines to determine where to locate your terminal posts (end, corner, and gate posts). Drive stakes as illustrated at exact boundary line.

Chain Link Fence Layout

If you wish to install a 36 inch wide gate, leave exactly 36 inches between gate posts as measured from inside face of gate post.

Setting Posts In Concrete:

Pour the concrete – one part cement, two parts sand, four parts gravel OR prepare dry cement mix in bags (follow directions on bag for mixing). DO NOT MIX TOO WET. Pour a foot depth at a time and tamp down firmly to remove air holes. Use a  carpenter’s level to set posts plumb and in correct position to boundary lines.

countour-straight-chain-linkNo two pieces of ground are alike or completely level and you should take this into account as you determine your fence installation. To make the top of your fence straight, you must compensate for ground level variations by adjusting the amount of post above ground to a level line of sight. In some cases it may be necessary to trench the ground at a particular high ground level, or if ground is low, it may require filling with dirt.

After concrete has set long enough to be hard (approximately three days), begin to assemble the fittings. Slide tension bands onto end and corner posts. Be sure long, flat side of tension band is to the outside or wire side of posts, and that there is approximately one band for each foot of the post. Place eyetops on each of the line posts with offset toward wire side of posts. Place brace bands on terminal posts. Attach rail end fittings to brace bands, bolting them together loosely as illustrated. Thread top rail through eyetop and into one rail end. In the event you must join two lengths of top rail, make sure top rail joints are sleeved near a line post. Please note illustrations (a top rail sleeve is used to join two lengths of top rail together, however if a swedged end top rail is used, no sleeve is necessary). Put on a sleeve and continue with top rail to next terminal post. Cut last length of top rail to fit all the way into sleeve and tightly into the remaining rail end. Once top rail is in position, tighten all brace bands and rail end bolts securely. Put cap fittings on all terminal posts.

Chain Link Fence ComponentsThe wire fence fabric is next. Unroll it along wire side of the fence line with desired edge in position. Insert a tension bar through the last vertical row of chain link wire, nearest a gate, end, or corner post. Stand end of chain link up and put tension bar in tension bands. Install band bolts with thread towards inside of fenced area. Tighten bolts as necessary to maintain fabric at proper height. Unroll chain link against fence frame. Loosely secure fabric to top rail to hold vertically as necessary. Chain link fabric must be stretched to take out slack. Attach fence stretcher. It is connected between a stretcher bar (attached to the chain link vertically) and the corner of end post. Stretch fabric taut; remove excess fabric at end post (see illustration for splicing). Insert tension bar, attach to tension bands and bolts as before.

Chain Link SecurityTie fabric to fence frame. Tie fabric to top rail raising fabric to desired level as
you do so. Space tie wires approximately 24” apart (three ties on each line post, minimum). Tighten nuts on all tension and brace band bolts (please note illustration). You may install chain link fabric two ways. The fabric may have smooth loops on one end and barbed ends on the other. For most residential installations, it is recommended that fabric is installed with smooth edge up. In the event added security is necessary, you may install fabric with barbs up.

Chain Link Posts

To shorten or take two sections apart, untwist wire at barbed end of fabric at the desired place. Loosen wire at top of fabric and begin to corkscrew the loosened picket out, separating the two sections. To splice two sections, you must be sure you start with a whole diamond on one side and a half diamond on the other. Start at the top of the fabric and corkscrew wire picket down through the ends of the sections. Twist the wires together at barbed ends if applicable and attach top of picket to the looped end.

hillside-slopeThe posts are installed vertically on the slope while the chain link is square. The tension bars are put through the chain link parallel to the post and the excess trimmed off. Also, the length of the post must be proportionately longer, depending on slope angles (see illustration).



There are many types of latches including the standard fork latch (see illustration) and the butterfly latch, also illustrated. The butterfly latch is a self-latching fitting and is used primarily for self-closing gates.

Walk-In Gate

Set gate posts to exact opening dimension. For example, for a three foot opening set gate posts exactly three feet apart measured from the inside face of each post. The gate hinges should be mounted with top hinge pin down and bottom hinge pin up. Hang gate to give 2” clearance at the ground. Mount the bottom gate hinge on bottom pin first so top of gate is parallel to top of fence fabric. Adjust top gate hinges accordingly. Mount gate latch to gate frame.

Chain Link Gate

Mount gate latch to one of the gate frames. A hole or notch in the ground should be made, as illustrated, to secure the double gate latch.

To install a double opening gate, for example across a driveway, determine exact opening (dimensions measured from inside face to inside face of gate posts). Allow 2” at the bottom of the gates for ground clearance. Mount gate hinge and hinge pins the same as the single gate, being sure to line top of gates parallel with fence fabric.

Line Post Spacing ChartMaterials Needed For Residential Chain Link Fence

Chain Link Materials ListFence Layout