How to Install Chain Link Fence

How to Install Chain Link Fence

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If you’re thinking about giving your fence an upgrade this summer and you’re wondering how to install a chain link fence, you’re in the right place.

In this article, we’re going to give you all the resources and information you need to know about how to install chain link fence to get your fence project done right.

1. Understand Chain Link Fence Parts

The first thing you need to do when figuring out how to install a chain link fence is to understand what the various chain link fence parts are and how they fit together.

Fortunately, we’ve already published a great in-depth that you can refer to when you’re figuring out your chain link fence project. The good news is that regardless of what type of chain link fence you’re planning to install and what height of chain link fence you’re going to build, the parts remain basically the same.

While you’re at it, if you’re not sure what color chain link fence you want, you can read more about your options here.

2. Chain Link Fence Material Take-Off

The next thing you will need to do when learning how to install a chain link fence is to do a fence material take-off. This can be tricky if you’re not used to installing chain link fences, but we’ve also built an easy-to-use chain link fence material take-off calculator that you can use to make the job a little easier.

North American Style Chain Link Fence Material Calculator

Enter your fence information below to calculate your North American-style chain link fence shopping list.

You must enter at least one fence line length to use this calculator.

You must use feet for your dimensions for this calculator. Enter dimensions in numbers only!


 Enter your email address (required)  

Enter your line post spacing in feet (required)  

 Enter your fence height in feet (required)     
 Number of end posts (required)  
 Number of corner posts  


Fence Lines

Enter a numerical value for each fence line length only - you do not need to include a unit of measure. You must enter a number in the first fence line length to use the calculator, but the other lines are all optional.

 Line 1      Line 2    
 Line 3      Line 4    
 Line 5      Line 6    
 Line 7      Line 8    
 Line 9      Line 10    



3. Get Your Tools Together

There are a variety of tools you will need to install a chain link fence, and you can read more about them in our article about chain link fence tools here.

4. Clear Your Fence Lines

Before you start building any fence (whether you’re here to find out how to install chain link fence or if you’re considering other options, too), you first need to have a clear and level fence line.

Find out more about what that means in our article about fence line clearing.

5. Install Your Fence

Now that we’ve got all of that out of the way, we’ve finally got to the part that actually explains how to install chain link fence. Here’s what you will need to do.

  1. Find your property line boundary pegs. If you have an existing fence, it should be fairly easy to do this. If not, you might need to ask your local municipalities building department for help locating the various points that make up your property line.
  2. Use spray paint or stakes to mark the location of every corner, end and terminal post along your fence line.
  3. Dig holes for your corner posts. These are usually at least three times the diameter of your fence posts, but you can read more about post-hole diameters and depths here if you’re not sure. Make sure that the center of each fence post hole is inside your property line unless your neighbors have agreed to allow the fence to be installed on the property line.
  4. Install your terminal, end, and corner posts in concrete, ensuring that they are about 2 inches higher than the top of your fence line. This will allow for the installation of brace band assemblies for top rails.
  5. Use a string line or chalk to mark the outside face of your fence. This will ensure that you install your line posts in the correct place.
  6. Measure each fence line and divide the footage by 10’. Adjust as necessary to have even line posts spacing, and mark the position of your line posts using stakes or spray paint.
  7. Dig holes for line posts in the positions you have marked.
  8. Install line posts in concrete with the outside face of the post touching the string line you’ve run along the outside of your terminal posts.
  9. Line posts should be installed about 2” below the top of your planned fence, to allow for the installation of line post tops and top rails.
  10. Leave your posts to set for several days before you continue installing your fence
  11. Install top rails along the fence line, starting at each terminal, end or corner with a brace band and rail end assembly, and passing the top rails through the line post tops along the fence line. Slip the swedged ends of your top rails tightly together, or use top rail sleeves if using commercial top rails.
  12. Install tension bands on terminal, end, and corner posts. You should have tension bands installed in each direction of the fence, spaced according to the height of your fence. Usually, you will need the height of the fence, less one tension band for each direction of the fence – so for a 4’ fence, you would use 3; for a 5’ fence, you would use 4, and so on.
  13. Install your bottom wire about 2” above ground level and tighten.
  14. Unroll your chain link fabric along the fence line, starting at each tension post. As you go, you can weave rolls together to extend the length of the mesh or spiral mesh apart to shorten it as necessary. Your mesh should not be stretched at this point, and you can check this by ensuring that it is the full height of the fence from top to bottom when rolled out.
  15. Stand the mesh up and loosely tie it to the top rail to get it in place.
  16. Slip a tension bar into the end of the fence and stand it up, then use a come-a-long to pull it taut to the tension post.
  17. Proceed along the fence line, tying mesh to top rails at approximately 12 to 18-inch intervals and to line posts at about 12” intervals as you go.
  18. Repeat the stretching process at the other end of each fence line, ensuring that the chain link fabric is taut and even along the full fence line.
  19. Use hog rings and hog ring pliers to attach the bottom of your chain link fabric at the bottom of your fence.

Repeat this process for each fence line you have, until the full fence boundary has been completed.

Not Difficult, but May Take Some Trial and Error

Hopefully, now that you’ve read this guide to how to install a chain link fence, you’ll agree that it’s not a very complex process.

However, it does take a fair amount of DIY skill and experience, you will need some basic and fence-specific tools, and it may take some trial and error to get the chain link fence installed exactly the way you would like it.

That having been said, if you have a complex site, aren’t sure about how handy you are, or need to get a chain link fence installed fast, it might still be worth hiring a fence company to do the installation for you.

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