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Chain Link Fence Installation Manual

Before You Begin:

  1. Obtain necessary zoning and building permits.  There may be local zoning or deed restrictions pertaining to height and type of fence. Check out setback requirements.
  2. Find surveyors pins if the fence is to be located near property lines or have lot surveyed.
  3. Call your local or state utilities protection service to locate potential buried utilities.  In Ohio, call OUPS at 1-800-362-2764.  In Pennsylvania, call PA One Call at 1-800-242-1776. There is no charge to locate.  Only a charge for repairing buried utilities, not to mention a potential injury to yourself.
  4. Purchase fence: Hoover Fence Co. Chain Link Materials Catalog

...from a letter to HOOVER FENCE.

My son-in-law and daughter said they would be glad to install it for me....then I find out he has NO idea of how to do it (he DOES know how to operate the post hole digger!).  So I took a chance that I might find some help on "the NET".  I never imagined there was such a helpful site out there!   The information I printed out would almost enable a blind person to put a fence up.   This is great! Thank you so much!!!!!  I think we will be fine now.  I thank you and my Rottweiler baby, Greta thanks you too.
~Pauline Doudrick

*Thanks Pauline, Glad we could help! Click Here for More Referrals.

Thank you for your comprehensive instructions on how to install a
chain link fence.  The added diagrams are most informative and I would
not hesitate to point people in your direction concerning fence
installations.  Thank you again for such useful information.

R. Kopynsky
"Gonna do it myself.."

Click Here for More Referrals.

Setting Posts:

Illustration Setting Posts

  1. Stake & stretch mason line or string in the exact location of the fence. Keep in mind some areas may require a specific distance offset from the fence line.
  2. Mark the center of holes with paint or a stake.  Posts are normally spaced 10' maximum.  If you want to put privacy slats in chain link consider 8' spacing for
  3. Dig holes 6" diameter by 30 to 36" deep (or below frost line in your area). Don't make holes too shallow.  For larger diameter posts dig the diameter of  the holes about 3 times the diameter of the post.
  4. Restretch string and check holes for accuracy by placing a post in the hole and plumbing in all directions.  If the hole needs 'shaved' or moved, do it now.  If holes are shallow because you hit an object you can't remove,  'bell' the hole at the bottom.  That is to enlarge the bottom bigger than the top diameter.  This will compensate for holes as shallow as 18" deep.  If necessary move the hole to miss the obstruction.  This will change your post spacing.  However, there is no harm in the case of line posts.  If you must move it more than a couple of feet, consider installing an extra post midway on the enlarged space.  Occasionally posts can be welded on plates and actually bolted to rock, when they are shallower than 12-18".
  5. Mix concrete with water using pre-mixed bag.  Go easy on the water.  Mix should look like thick gray mud, not like Mom's watered-down chili.  If it doesn't pile up on the shovel, it's too thin; add more mix to dry it up.  If you are mixing from scratch using aggregate like gravel, limestone or sea shells, concrete sand and portland cement, mix 3 to 4 parts (shovels) of aggregate to 2 parts sand and 1 part cement.
  6. Mark post grade mark.  End, corner and gate posts should be marked at the height of the fence plus 1 inch;  49" for a 4' fence, 61" for a 5' fence, etc.  Mark intermediate or line posts at height of the fence minus 3 inches; 45" for 4' fence, 57" for 5' fence, etc.  When you add your line post cap and top rail, the height will be proper.  These measurements represent how much of the post is out of the ground.  In no case set the posts below these marks (unless you are willing to dig to bury the fence).  You can set them higher to allow for short span dips in the ground. Remember, if in doubt: It is easy to cut a post off; it's not so easy to make it longer.
  7. Have your helper (best friend or wife) hold the post perfectly plumb in the hole.  Fill  the concrete carefully around the post to 3" below the ground (my wife does the shoveling).  Adjust height of post to the grade mark or higher.  Backfill dirt around the post level to the ground.  Step on it to pack and plumb post as needed.  That's one down.  Repeat for all posts in a particular line of fence from end post to end post.  Adjust heights of all posts so they are as straight across the top as you view the entire line.  Do not push one to low as described above.  Most lots are not graded perfectly level, just attempt to make smooth transitions from one post to the next.  You don't want the top to rise and fall from post to post, unless absolutely necessary.  Keep grade marks tight to ground, if you want the fence to contain a dog.  If you want a space under the fence, leave the post up higher intentionally.  In fact, if you desire 2 inch space under, mark your grade marks 2 inch longer than described previously.
  8. Install gate posts with the exact opening size as recommended by gate supplier or manufacturer.  The opening size is the distance between the two gate posts.  If possible make the tops of gate posts level to each other by placing a post across the tops of the posts and checking with a level.  If the ground slopes off sharply under the gate, set the gate posts to grade.  It won't look proper to make them level.
  9. Let concrete get hard for atleast a few days before contin

Install Fittings          Fitting Illustration

  1. Place tension bands on end and corner posts.
  2. Put  'quantity = height minus one' tension bands per hookup; minimum of three.
  3. A hookup is each connection to an end or corner post.
  4. The tension bands are offset.  The offset goes on the same side as the chain link fabric will be installed.  This is normally the outside of the enclosed area.
  5. Place one brace band per hookup over the tension bands.  This fitting requires one rail end cup, one bolt and nut.
  6. The rail end cup is offset also.  This offset can be up or down on an end post.  On a corner, since two sets of brace bands and rail end cups must share the same space, the bottom rail end cup is to be offset up and the bottom rail end cup is to be offset down.  This enables the two cups to be level to each other, so your top rail can be inserted into the cups and be level to each other.
  7. Put all bolts in with theuts on the inside of the enclosed area, opposite the chain link and tension band offset. That way someone outside the finished fence can't remove the nuts.
  8. Place caps on posts.  The ends and corners are simple. They only go on one way (my wife puts those on).  The loop caps, as they are called, are offset, if you look at them carefully.  The offset side faces the outside of the enclosure; the same side as the chain link will be installed.
  9. Do not put bolts in tension bands at this time.  Save gate hinges for later also.

Install Top Rail      Top Rail Detail

  1. Slide top rail through loop caps on line posts starting at one end.
  2. Some top rail has a 'swedged' end, which tapers down so it will fit into another piece of rail.  Fit the non-swedged end into the rail end cup at the end or corner post.
  3. Add sections of rail, sliding each non-swedged end into a swedged end.  Be certain to push rails toward your beginning point to 'seat' them all the way into each other.  Push firmly. If the top rail has no swedged end then you need a 'sleeve' that acts as a coupling.
  4. Add rail to next end or corner post
  5. Cut excess rail off with hack saw or pipe cutter.  Mark the cut-off point carefully so the rail will fit snugly into the rail end cup, by using the installed rail end cup, and marking the rail at the back of the cup.  It is important to have a tight fit.  Any slack in your entire length of rail will allow the chain link, when stretched tight, to pull the end posts in towards each other.
  6. Install top rail in all stretches of fence.

Stretch Chain Link

    Weaving The Chain Link Fabric

  1. Starting at one end of a line of fence, roll chain link out on the outside of the enclosed area or the side you previously have chosen.
  2. Roll out another roll, if more is needed to reach the next end post.  Chain link is stretched in one continuous length of woven chain link from end post to end post.
  3. 'Weave' chain link rolls together.  This can be a little tricky, if never done before.  This requires some explanation.
  4.  Each weave is continuous from the top to the bottom along the vertical or height of the roll.  If you follow the strand, starting at the top, you will see that it zig-zags back and forth to the bottom.  It starts and ends with either a 'knuckle' or a 'twisted'
  5.  To remove a weave, unbend the end of the weave 'knuckle' straight.  Unbend the adjacent weave that is knuckled to it.  If it has a twisted end, simply untwist the two weaves until they can be separated.
  6.  Follow the weave to the other end as it zig-zags back and forth and untwist or unknuckle the opposite end.  Be certain you follow carefully, so you undo the proper weave.
  7.  At the top of the fence or the bottom, spin the weave in a counter-clockwise direction, as if to unscrew it from the roll.  Most newly manufactured chain link spins out counter-clockwise, whereas some chain link manufactured years ago spins out clockwise.  Continue spinning and you will see the other end unweaving from it's adjacent weaves.  If you are having difficulty, you may have disconnected the wrong weaves at the opposite end,  you may have not bent the other end straight enough and it keeps snagging as you try to spin it or the chain link is stretched to tight along the ground; give yourself some slack.
  8. The procedure for weaving to rolls together is just the oppositeexcept it can be tricky getting started.
  9. To start weaving: Chain link forms squares or diamonds.  They are called diamonds. You must match two sections or rolls together before you start weaving, in such a way that one roll has a full diamond and the other roll has a half diamond, so when you add a weave, you will end up with a full diamond and two ends to knuckle or twist together.
  10. Spin the single weave into the first full diamond on the full diamond roll.  Spin it through the next full diamond of the other roll.  Continue spinning and make certain that the weave end goes through each full diamond on each roll in each revolution.
  11. If you have trouble: Your chain link is too tight; give some slack,  you missed a diamond somewhere or you may have mismatched rolls that came from different manufacturer's or the rolls have different mesh sizes.  Count the number of full diamonds in each roll.  They should be the same.
  12. Hopefully you have successfully woven the two rolls together.  Twist or re-knuckle the ends together.  If you have no counter weave to fasten to, you started with either two half diamonds on each roll or two full diamonds on each roll.  Take it apart and try again.  Sometimes you have to flip the one roll over (most have a half diamond at one end and a full diamond at the other) or remove a weave from one roll to create a starting half or full diamond.

        Stretching The FabricIllustration - Stretching The Fence

  1. After rolling out the chain link and weaving the rolls together, 'hookup' one end. Space the tension bands evenly as illustrated above (figure F51). Make sure the nuts are on the inside of the fence so they can not be removed from outside the enclosure.
  2. If you have a sharp incline approaching a terminal post, the fabric must be cut on the end. This is called a 'bias cut'. See details on how to make a bias cut in chain link fabric.
  3. Pull the chain link tight by hand to the other end. You may stand the chain link and lean it against the posts or leave it on the ground and lean it up as you stretch the fabric later. Generally the later is easier and better on long stretches.
  4. Hookup stretch tools as illustrated (figure F51). Make sure the come-a-long hook faces away from the fabric or it will get caught in the diamonds.
  5. Tighten the come-a-long slowly. Check that the fabric is not getting caught on posts, tree roots or other obstacles. If you haven't already done so, lean the
  6. 'Dress' the fabric as you tighten it. 'Dressing' involves straightening the fabric diamonds so they run true. Some spots will be higher than others as you sight down the top. Lift the fabric in the low spots. This must be done before the fabric gets too tight. Once it is tight, little can be done to straighten the fabric. Some fabric dresses easily, some does not. If the fabric does not dress up properly, you can always loosen the come-a-long and try again.
  7. The fabric is tight enough when you can't squeeze the diamonds together with one hand. Do not over stretch or post damage will occur. The top of the fence should 'snap' back to the posts when pulled out a little.
  8. Hand stretch the small section left at the come-a-long. Cut the excess fabric off. Slide the tension bar into the mesh and make your last hookup. Once all bolts are in place, remove the stretching tools.

    Tie Off The Fabric

  1. Install tie wires onto top rail first to establish the height of the fence. Space tie wires no more bsp;than 2' apart.
  2. Tie line posts last. Use the same number per post as tension bands. This quantity is a minimum (1 per foot).
  3. The fabric top diamond should be centered on the top rail. It can be lowered or raised slightly if desired.
  4. Click HERE for an animation of how to tie a tie wire.

Install Gates     Gate Hardware

  1. Install female hinges on gates. Space them the maximum distance apart as possible.
  2. Hold gate in opening and mark the location of male hinges. Point the hinge on the bottom up and the one on top down.
  3. Install bottom hinge and tighten only until it is just snug (you may have to move it). Once again, the nuts belong inside the fence enclosure.
  4. Install top hinge. Do not tighten.
  5. Place gate on bottom hinge and lower top male hinge into female hinge.
  6. If the space under the gate is acceptable. Tighten top male hinge just snug.
  7. Test swing the gate to see if it will miss the ground. Adjust as needed.
  8. Tighten All hinge bolts. Do not over tighten. When the bolts begin to bend....stop.
  9. Install the latch (nuts inside).
  10. In the case of a double swing gate, install the gate closest to the ground first, unless the ground is perfectly level. Hang second gate level to the first.
  11. Install double gate drop rod/latch assembly.
  12. Install center stop for double swing gate. Close the double gate, making certain the two leaves are lined up (straight). Mark the ground where the center stop needs to be installed by pushing the drop rod into the ground. Open the gate and pound a piece of 1 5/8" O.D. pipe flush to the ground. Proceed slowly, checking the gate to make certain you are driving the pipe straight. There are special fittings available to use for more sophisticated center stops. If  the center stop is in a concrete drive, simply drill a hole in the concrete larger than the drop rod diameter and do not use a pipe. Always make a much larger hole (or pipe size) than the diameter of the drop rod to allow for gate sag, posts shifting, ice and other factors.

Good luck with your project!


Compliments Hoover Fence - Feb. 15, 1997

Copyright 1997 Hoover Fence Company

Feel free to reproduce as long as the original content or illustrations are not edited or abbreviated.

About the author: Mr. Ray ZurRibbon (We believe he's German) He has installed fences for more than twenty years, including chain link as high as 30' tall and other styles as high as 50' tall. You have seen his work on TV or driven past it at one time or another. He built many fences at well known institutions such as: Jacob's Field (Cleveland Indian's stadium), Cleveland-Hopkins Airport, Akron-Canton Airport, Pittsburgh International Airport, Perry Nuclear Plant (Perry, Ohio), Akron Rte. 76 & 224 bridges, Ohio Turnpike Bridges, Youngstown Regional Airport, Toledo University and many more.

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