Chain link fences aren’t always pretty, but they are tough. In fact, there are generally only a few ways they can fail. Learn how to repair a chain link fence with this step-by-step guide.
Compared to charming white picket and stunning gothic wrought iron, chain link fences get a bad rap. Sure, chain link fences are as basic and practical as they come, but they’re also incredibly durable and long-lasting. And, since only a few things tend to go wrong with them, learning how to repair a chain link fence is relatively easy.
How To Repair a Chain Link Fence: Bent Rail
Chain link fences are sturdy but fallen tree limbs or fence-hopping teenagers can bend a top rail. Fortunately, chain link fence repairs are fairly straightforward.
Tools and Materials:
Reciprocating saw and metal blade>Marker or pencilAdjustable wrenchReplacement railRail couplingWire ties
Step One: Untie the fencing
The first step in repairing a bent top rail is disconnecting the chain link fence fabric from the rail. Simply find the wire wrapped around the top rail and use linesman’s pliers to untwist it. There will be several ties, so make sure you remove them all.
Step Two: Cut out the bent section
Survey the pipe and locate where the bend starts on either end. Use the reciprocating saw fitted with a metal blade to cut on either side of the bend. Cut the pipe as squarely as possible.
Step Three: Measure and cut the replacement pipe
One end of the replacement rail will have a taper. Slide that tapered end into the freshly cut pipe as far as possible.
Mark the new pipe where it meets the other end of the top rail, remove it, and cut it to length with the reciprocating saw.
Step Four: Replace the rail
Slide the tapered end of the replacement rail back into the existing rail. Next, slide the rail coupling over the other end of the replacement rail.
Loosen a rail end (the cup-like fitting that holds the rail to the post) with an adjustable wrench and lower it until there’s enough room to align the old rail with the sleeve. Slide the two together, lift the rail end, and tighten it back in place.
Step Five: Reattach the fencing
Use wire ties to reattach the chain link fence to the repaired rail, twisting the ties in place with linesman’s pliers.
How To Fix a Chain Link Fence: Replace a Post
Cold weather can heave a metal post from the ground just as easily as it can a wood post—and metal posts can sustain damage or degrade over time. Here’s how to fix a chain link fence post.
Tools and Materials
Adjustable wrenchLinesman’s pliersShovelPost-hole diggerReplacement postLevelCement mixGravelGarden hose or bucket of water
Reciprocating saw and metal blade>Post capWire tiesReplacement fence fabric
Step One: Untie the fencing
First, use linesman’s pliers to untwist the wire ties holding the fencing to the top rails on either side of the post.
Then, use an adjustable wrench to remove the tension bands holding the tension bars (the metal bars running vertically through the ends of the fencing fabric sections). Loosen and remove the rails, leaving the post disconnected from the fence.
Step Two: Start digging
Dig out the old post with a shovel. Use the post hole digger to dig a hole roughly 10 inches wide and two to three feet deep, depending on the frost line (you’ll be digging a deeper hole than the original one, though in the same location).
If possible, dig the hole so it’s bell-shaped; wider at the bottom, and tapering to the top.
Step Three: Pour the concrete
Pour a few inches of gravel into the hole to promote drainage. Place the new post into the hole and use the level to check for plumb.
Fill the remainder of the hole with concrete mix. Add water according to the concrete manufacturer’s directions and let it set until it hardens completely.
Step Four: Reattach the fence
With the concrete dry, begin reattaching the fence components. Start with the rails and rail end brackets, and then loosely hang the fence from the rails with wire ties.
Place the tension bars through the mesh and pull the mesh tightly to the new post, securing it in place with tension bands.
Finally, secure the wire ties permanently, use the reciprocating saw to cut the new post to the appropriate height, and cap it off with a post cap.
How To Repair Chain Link Fence Fabric
On occasion, the chain link fence fabric (the metal mesh that stretches from post to post) can be the issue. Whether someone cut it to gain access, the weather took its toll, or a family of critters bent it up over the years, you’ll need to fix it.
Chain link fences are simply pieces of woven wire hooked together at the top and bottom, and removing damaged sections is as easy as removing a few pieces of wire.
Step One: Remove the damaged fabric
Find two points of fabric on either side of the damaged area. Use linesman’s pliers to straighten the hooked end of a wire at the top of the fence, as well as untwist the same wire at the bottom of the fence.
Then, simply unweave the wire by twisting it out of the fabric. Do this on both sides of the damaged fabric to remove it and save the removed wires.
Step Two: Size the replacement fabric
Use the damaged fabric as a guide for sizing the replacement fabric, leaving the replacement piece a link to two longer than necessary.
Remove this section from the roll of fencing by straightening a hook on a piece of wire, untwisting the bottom, and removing the wire from the fabric.
Step Three: Weave the new fabric in place
Loosely hang the replacement chain link fabric from the top rail using wire ties. Butt the replacement fabric against the existing fabric.
Using one of the wires removed in the previous steps, weave it through both sections of chain link fabric to link them together. Be sure to twist the bottom end of the wire with the existing fence and bend the hook shut at the top of the wire.
Stretch the fabric as much as possible and repeat the process on the other side of the replacement chain link mesh. Once woven into place, permanently secure the fabric to the top rails to complete the job. If there are any extra wires, unhook and remove them from the fabric.
With those steps, you’ll be able to repair almost any type of damage a chain link fence might sustain. Rest easy knowing your fence is back in prime condition, keeping your property safe and secure.
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