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How do I install a new gate into an existing chain link fence?

There are several ways to accomplish this, depending on your particular application. Read the information below for valuable tips.

Three possible scenarios

* Terminals, end posts, corner posts and gate posts are basically the same thing for purposes of installing most small walk gates. They are taller than the 'line posts'. The top rail 'runs' into the terminals, whereas, the line posts have 'loop caps' on top that have a hole in them for the top rail to pass through. Gates must have two terminal posts; one at each end. Very wide gates may need heavier terminals to support the extra weight.

The gate can be made to fit between two existing terminal posts.

This is the simplest installation. Unless you are extremely lucky and the posts are spaced exactly for a standard gate, a custom sized gate must be made to fit.

Remove the tie wires from the top rail and line post(s) and hog rings from the bottom wire, if one exists, that are located between the two terminals to make way for the new gate. Do not unhook other stretches in other directions that may be connected to these posts. Remove the nuts from the bolts on the tension bands that hold the chain link stretched to each of the posts. Remove the bolts. The chain link will lose its tightness as one side is unfastened. Sometimes the bolts must be struck to remove them, resulting in bending of the bands. if you don't need to reuse them, it is of little concern. CAUTION: Some chain link is stretched very tight and will 'spring' back resulting in pinched fingers. The bolts can 'fly' from the bands like a bullet, wear goggles and watch out for bystanders on the other side of the fence. Remove the chain link (it can be used on the gate, if you are making one).

Remove the top rail by removing the bolt from the brace band and rail end cup at one end. Remove the other bolt and rail end cup. (This rail can be used to make the new gate).

Remove all the bands that are no longer needed. You should now have an open space, ready for installation of your new gate. If one is to be ordered to fit, measure the gate opening. That is the distance 'between' the posts or 'inside' to 'inside' measurements of your terminals. The gate should be made to fit that opening size including the space used by hinges and latch.

The gate can be added next to an existing end or corner post.

This is fairly simple to do, because only one terminal post needs to be added. A standard sized gate can usually be used because the new post can be placed to make the gate fit.

First disconnect the bolts and bands from the chain link that is stretched to the terminal post where you want the new gate to be placed. CAUTION: Chain link can be stretched extremely tight and will 'spring' when disconnected. Pinched fingers and 'flying' bolts can result. Knock bolts out with a hammer and watch the eyes of bystanders on the other side of the fence as well as your own eyes.

Once the chain link is disconnected, 'peel' it back far enough to miss the place where your other gate post belongs. You can loosen or disconnect the tie wires that hold the chain link to the top rail, if they are too tight to slide.

Measure from the inside of the terminal post (gate side) along the top rail to the approximate location of the next gate post. If the gate is for a 48" wide opening (which includes the space taken up by the hinges and latch), measure 48". Cut the top rail with a pipe cutter, hacksaw or flame thrower! It is important not to cut too far away from the existing gate post, because the remainder of the top rail will have to be cut again to fit exactly after the new post is installed. You could leave this rail uncut, if you can force it out of your way so you can dig the new gate post hole, without 'banging' your fingers against the rail as you drive a post hole digger down into the ground. If you choose not to cut the rail at this time, disconnect the bolt and rail end cup at the existing terminal so you can push the rail out of your way.

Measure the inside measurement for the new gate, keeping in mind allowing for the space that will be used up by your new hinges and latch. The amount of space can be determined by placing the hardware on the gate measuring from hinge to latch. Usually this space is 3 3/4" for most residential hardware, but it is best to measure the 'gap' yourself. Not all hardware is identical. A 48" opening gate will actually measure about 44 1/4". Allow an extra 1/4" for fork type latches, so they have enough room to swing up without binding on the gate.

Measure along the ground to establish the 'inside' of the new gate post and mark the ground. Add 1/2 the diameter of the post to that to find the center of the new gate post hole. Eyeball down the fence line to find the center of the other dimension or use a string. Dig the hole to a depth of 36" (or 30" if you get tired). The diameter of the new hole for residential chain link need only be about 6" to 8". 'Bell' the hole larger on the bottom. (The bottom diameter should be larger than the top diameter). Place the new post in the hole and pour concrete to within several inches of the top of the ground, but not all the way. that little bit on top does no good and may cause posts to heave in freezing temperatures. Make sure you maintain the proper gate opening size throughout the pouring of the concrete, because posts often times will shift out of position. The post should be the height of the fence plus 1 or 2" higher out of the ground. If possible, make it level to the existing gate post on top by laying a 2 x 4 or long level across the top of the posts.

Another way of guaranteeing that the gate will fit, is to install the hinges and gate on the existing gate post. This way you can see exactly where the new gate post must go.

After the concrete sets up in a day or two (three is safe). Place the brace band, rail end cup and bolt for the top rail on the new post. Now you can recut the top rail to fit exactly into the back of the cup...NOT THE FRONT OF THE CUP! Make sure the top rail is centered on the post and the rail end cup is tight. Make sure the top rail is level or at least runs smoothly into the new post.

Restretch your chain link to the new gate post. Hang your gate and get a brewski!

The gate must be added in the middle of a stretch where an existing end or corner post is not available.

This is the hardest installation, because two new gate posts must be added and the fence must be restretched on both posts. You will also need two new tension bars, tension bands, bolts, rail end cups and brace bands to hook up the chain link to the two new posts.

Choose the location of the proposed gate and mark the center of the holes for the posts with paint or popsickle sticks. The width can be determined by adding the width of one gate post to the gate opening size. Read the above section for 'gate opening' information. That measurement will be the center to center measurement of the new gate post holes.

Cut the chain link in the center of those marks with bolt cutters or pliers (or a chop saw). CAUTION: Chain link can be very tightly stretched causing the pieces of cut wire to 'fly' like shrapnel. Wear goggles and watch out for small children, who are usually right down there at eye level to disaster.

Peel the chain link back from the cut, loosening tie wires as needed. Cut the top rail at the center of the gate and push it over. Tie it out of the way or prop something against it. After you install the posts, you will need to cut the remainder to fit the new gate posts.

Dig both holes like there will be no tomorrow to a depth of 30-36" and 6-8" diameter. 'Bell' the bottom diameter of the holes to a larger diameter than the top diameter. Concrete the first post in the center of the fence line so it lines up with the other existing posts. Use a string, if you can't eyeball straight. If you are tired, wait a couple of days, hang the gate on this post first to determine the exact location of the next gate post. Concrete the second new gate post to fit.

Restretch the chain link to the new posts. Do not overstretch. the chain link does not have to be so tight that you can play "dueling banjos". Retie the top rail and go play with your computer!

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