How to: Build a Chain Link Fence

Learn how to build a chain link fence and enclose your property. Find what's involved and follow these step-by-step directions for the best looking results.

Materials Required
  • Fence posts, rails, connectors, mesh
    Ready-mixed cement
    String and stakes
    Wheelbarrow
Tools Required
  • Tape measure
    Carpenter's level
    Pliers
    Wrench
    Pipe cutter or circular saw (with metal cutting blade)
    Shovel
    Hoe
    Post hole digger
    Fence stretcher

Before You Begin

Before you begin any fencing project, check the survey of your property to know exactly where the property line begins and ends. Ask your local building department about fence height requirements specified in zoning laws or subdivision covenants. Find out the depth requirement for post holes which is determined by the local weather and soil conditions. Call your local utility company to locate and mark any buried power lines. This is a free service that prevents you from digging up a buried cable or possibly causing an injury.

The steps that follow give you an overview of how a chain link fence is installed. Ask for specific directions when you buy the fencing materials. Read them carefully before you begin so you understand the nuances of assembling all the components and weaving the mesh fencing material onto the posts.

How To: Step by Step

Step  1:   Lay out the fence

Use string and stakes to locate the fence line. To prevent encroaching on a neighbor's property, plan to set any corners, end or terminal posts 4-inches inside the line to allow for concrete footings. Plan to set fence posts between 7 to 10 feet apart. If a gate is planned, the post spacing should be the exact size of the gate.

Step  2:   Set the end, corner and gate posts

Dig holes to the appropriate depth for the posts, usually about 6-inches in diameter, to about 3-feet deep or below the frost line. The terminal posts should be the height of the fence plus 1-inch. (A) Determine the "ground level" for each post by measuring down from the top of the post, based on this calculation. Use a marker or chalk to mark the post; this is the ground level of the posts. When setting the post, make sure that it is not set deeper into the ground that this mark. If in doubt, set the post a bit high. You can always cut it off later, but you can't make the post longer if it is too low.

Mix the ready-mixed cement so it's the consistency of thick mud. Have someone hold the post in the hole while you fill the hole with cement. Check the post for its correct height and be sure it is centered in the hole. Use a carpenter's level to assure that they are all level.

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