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Click to Return to Page 4 - Installing Chain Link Fittings Chain Link Fence Installation Manual
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Install Top Rail:

F50 - Chain Link Fence Detail Slide top rail through a couple loop caps and butt end firmly into rail end cup. Adjust height of rail end cup if necessary. Tighten rail end cup firmly.

Slide top rail through a couple loop caps and butt end firmly into rail end cup. Adjust height of rail end cup if necessary. Tighten rail end cup firmly.
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.

Chain Link Fence Top Rail with Plain Ends  Chain Link Fence Top Rail with Swedged Ends

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 additional top rail until you reach the next terminal post, i.e. end, corner, gate 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. 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. Tip: Each piece of rail should be supported by two posts. Do not cut rail so that a seam will be in-between the last line post and terminal post. This point will be weak and tend to sag.

Install top rail in all stretches of fence. At this point, visually check the height of line posts once top rail is installed. If a post is too high, remove rail and trim as necessary.

If a post is 1/4" too short you may also cut a sliver of pipe, the same diameter size as the line post and slip it under the loop cap.

NOTE: Industrial job sites occasionally substitute a top tension wire in lieu of top rail to cut down on cost. See page 6 for details.


Framing a chain link fence installation - How To Install Chain Link Fences Click for Page 6 - Installing Bottom Wire (optional)

Related Images:
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Loop caps simply slide on top of posts. Top rail slides through horizontally.
Loop caps simply slide on top of posts. Top rail slides through horizontally.

Offset of loop cap faces 'out'. This helps keep the framework flush to the fabric side of the chain link fence.
Offset of loop cap faces 'out'. This helps keep the framework flush to the fabric side of the chain link fence.

Framing a chain link fence - Hoover Fence Co
Top rail sits on top of line posts and runs 'to' terminal posts.

1-3/8" and 1-5/8", common sizes for top rail, are available swedged or plain end. Plain end top rail requires sleeves as shown above.
1-3/8" and 1-5/8", common sizes for top rail, are available swedged or plain end. Plain end top rail requires sleeves as shown above.

Sleeve installed.
Sleeve installed.

Chain link fence plain end top rail - Hoover Fence Co.
Chain link fence top rail with plain ends will require top rail sleeves. HF40 heavy industrial top rail is only available with plain ends.

Chain link fence swedged top rail - Hoover Fence Co
HF20 top rail and lighter is available with a swedged end, a sleeve will not be required.

A hacksaw, chop saw, sawzall, pipe cutter, or portable band saw are used to cut top rail.
A hacksaw, chop saw, sawzall, pipe cutter, or portable band saw are used to cut top rail.

Chain link fence with top rail finished. Once framed, chain link fabric may be stretched.
Chain link fence with top rail finished. Once framed, chain link fabric may be stretched.

Next Page: Learn How To install Bottom Tension Wire on a Chain Link Fence

Chain link fence bottom wire - Hoover Fence Co.
After chain link fence has been framed with top rail, or braces and trusses, bottom tension wire may be stretched from terminal post to terminal post.

How to stretch chain link fence bottom wire - Hoover Fence Co
Chain Link bottom tension wire will be wrapped to a 5/16" x 1-1/4" nut and bolt secured to post with a brace band.