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.
Find surveyors pins if the fence is to be located
near property lines or have lot surveyed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let concrete get hard for atleast a few days before
Place tension bands on end and corner posts.
Put 'quantity = height minus one' tension bands
per hookup; minimum of three.
A hookup is each connection to an end or
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.
Place one brace band per hookup over the tension
bands. This fitting requires one rail end cup, one bolt and nut.
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.
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.
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.
Do not put bolts in tension bands at this time.
Save gate hinges for later also.
Install Top Rail
Slide top rail through loop caps on line posts
starting at one end.
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.
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.
Add rail to next end or corner post
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.
Install top rail in all stretches of fence.
Stretch Chain Link
Weaving The Chain Link Fabric
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.
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.
'Weave' chain link rolls together. This
can be a little tricky, if never done before. This requires some explanation.
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'
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.
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.
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.
The procedure for weaving to rolls together is just
the oppositeexcept it can be tricky getting started.
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.
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.
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.
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 Fabric
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.
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.
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
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
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
'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.
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.
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
Install tie wires onto top rail first to establish
the height of the fence. Space tie wires no more bsp;than 2' apart.
Tie line posts last. Use the same number per post as
tension bands. This quantity is a minimum (1 per foot).
The fabric top diamond should be centered on the top
rail. It can be lowered or raised slightly if desired.
for an animation of how to tie a tie wire.
Install female hinges on gates. Space them the
maximum distance apart as possible.
Hold gate in opening and mark the location of male
hinges. Point the hinge on the bottom up and the one on top down.
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
Install top hinge. Do not tighten.
Place gate on bottom hinge and lower top male hinge
into female hinge.
If the space under the gate is acceptable. Tighten
top male hinge just snug.
Test swing the gate to see if it will miss the
ground. Adjust as needed.
Tighten All hinge bolts. Do not over tighten. When
the bolts begin to bend....stop.
Install the latch (nuts inside).
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.
Install double gate drop rod/latch assembly.
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.
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.