How Long Does It Take to Install a Chain Link Fence?

How Long Does It Take to Install a Chain Link Fence?

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Having a fence installed is quite the process. First, you have to decide what kind of fence you want. Then you have to contact fence companies to get quotes, and even after you’ve signed a contract, you have to wait for the fence to be installed.

Fortunately, chain link fence is a fairly common fence product, so it’s usually readily available. However, there will still be a wait for your new fence. Here’s what you need to know about how long it takes to install a chain link fence.

Smaller Fences Usually Take Longer Foot for Foot

The first thing you need to know about how long it takes to install a chain link fence is that the smaller your fence is, the longer it will take foot for foot.

The reason for this is that there are some things that don’t change, no matter how large or small your fence is.

Your fence company still needs to travel to your site every day. They still need to mark and measure for your fence post installation. They still need to do underground locates, remove your old fence, and so on.

While these things still happen with larger fence projects, they’re proportionately a smaller part of the installation timeline than they would be on a smaller fence project.

How Long Does Residential Chain Link Fence Installation Take?

Since there is such a big difference between the expected timeline for installing a residential chain link fence and installing a larger commercial chain link fence, we’re giving you information about both.

For a residential chain link fence, you can expect your timeline to look something like this:

  • Before installation – complete locates, get permits if required, locate boundary pegs – many of these things are the responsibility of the customer, so be sure to check with your fence company about what you need to do before they can do the chain link fence installation
  • Day one on site, remove existing fence if necessary
  • Day two on-site, measure and mark the position of fence post holes, dig holes
  • Day three on-site, install fence posts – if using concrete, your fence company will have to leave them for a day or two before they can start the rest of the chain link fence project
  • Day four on-site, install mesh, wire, and other chain link fence components and fittings – this could take another day if your fence line is long or especially complicated
  • Day five on-site, hang gates and finish fence

As you can see from this list of tasks involved in installing a residential chain link fence, in most cases, you can expect your residential chain link fence installation to take about a week, although it might be longer, and we’ll explain why in a minute.

How Long Does Commercial and Industrial Chain Link Fence Installation Take?

You might think that a commercial and industrial chain link fence installation is not that different to a residential project, but that’s not true.

For one thing, commercial and industrial fence clients often do a lot more of the site preparation than they do for residential fence, and commercial and industrial fence companies tend to use larger and more complicated time-saving fence installation equipment. This means that foot for foot, your chain link fence project might take a little less time and might look a little like this:

  • Clearing and leveling – in most cases, in the commercial and industrial fence world, customers will do their own clearing and leveling, which means that commercial fence contractors get a flat and accessible fence line to start their installation
  • Permits, locates, and other pre-construction issues are usually handled by the customer
  • Site handover – this is the process during which the customer hands the site over to the chain link fence contractor, shows them where the site boundaries and levels are, and answers any questions about the project
  • Mobilization – this is the process during which the fence company moves their equipment and materials to the site, sets up on-site storage, and so on
  • Step one of chain link fence installation: mark, measure, and dig holes – this might happen fence line by fence line, if the fence is very long because open excavations are a safety hazard
  • Step two of chain link fence installation: install fence posts in concrete – this usually happens in phases, and often up to seven days are required between pouring concrete and installing fence to allow concrete time to set
  • Step three of chain link fence installation: frame the fence, installing top rails, braces, barb arms, and other components
  • Step four of chain link fence installation: install mesh and wire
  • Step five of chain link fence installation: hang gates
  • Step six of chain link fence installation: site cleanup, inspection, remediation, and demobilization

As you can see, in this list of steps related to how long it takes to install a chain link fence, we have not included days because it’s impossible to estimate how large a commercial or industrial chain link fence might be.

However, this timeline should give you some idea of what your commercial or industrial chain link fence installation will look like and how it will progress.

Assuming there are no major delays on your fence project that are outside of the fence contractor’s control, you can expect them to average about 200 to 300 linear feet of fence completed per day, averaged over the whole project timeline.

A good commercial or industrial fence company should be able to give you a project schedule or Gantt chart setting out the steps and anticipated timeline for your fence.

Things That Can Slow Down Your Chain Link Fence Installation

In the fence world, as with most types of construction, time is money, and your fence company will try to get your project done as fast as possible. However, there are many things that can slow down a chain link fence installation, so addressing these before they become a problem can speed up your chain link fence installation timeline significantly:

  • Inaccessible fence lines – debris, vegetation, and steep slopes on your fence line that make access difficult will slow down your chain link fence installation time
  • Missing site information – whether it’s locates, permits, site pegs, or levels, your fence company can’t start the project until they have all the information they need from you, so be sure to get a list of those things and get them done before they arrive to start your chain link fence project
  • Underground issues that affect digging – your contractor cannot know what’s under the ground, and problems ranging from old concrete blocks, boulders, rocks, or even high water tables can all slow down your fence installation – if you can get a geotechnical survey for your site, that will help your contractor to plan better!
  • Material supply issues – chain link fence is usually fairly easy to get, but if you have any special fittings, custom gates, or other special order items, it could take longer for them to arrive on your site, which will slow down your chain link fence installation
  • Inclement weather – chain link fence can be installed in light rain, but it’s just not safe during thunderstorms, and it’s also slower when it’s very hot or very cold, so if you have really bad weather, it could slow down your chain link fence install
  • On-site delays – whether it’s a neighbor complaining about your fence or other contractors who need access to a fence line on a commercial fence project, there are lots of on-site delays that can slow down your fence

Good fence companies will do their best to ensure that your chain link fence installation goes according to plan, by providing you with a list of information and other things they need before they start the job and by only starting the fence job when those things are in place.

However, it’s impossible to predict everything that will happen on a construction site, so good fence companies will also stay in constant communication and let you know when there is a delay and how long that delay is expected to take.

Always Ask for Lead Times When You Order a Chain Link Fence

The final piece of advice we have for you when it comes to answering the question of how long it takes to install a chain link fence is always to ask for the fence company’s lead time to be on site.

Most fence companies only have a few fence install crews, and when it’s the busy season for chain link fence installation, they can be booked up for weeks or even months.

That means that even if your fence project will only take a week from start to finish, it might be a month or more before the fence company can start it.

While you should consider lead times when you’re booking your chain link fence installation, it’s also worth noting that good fence companies are usually busy. So if the company you’re considering tells you they can be on site right away, either they’re not telling you everything, or they might not be a great chain link fence company. Always consider all of these kinds of factors before you choose the company for your chain link fence installation.

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