How to Install Chain Link Fabric

What You'll Need
Tension bands
Tension rods
Bracing bands
Fence posts
Carriage bolts
A post hole digger or shovel
Post caps
Loop caps
Rail ends
A top rail and top rail sleeves

Although the name suggests that it is made of cloth, chain link fabric is actually the diamond shaped metal mesh that is strung between posts to create a chain link fence. Installing the fabric is simple and requires just a few tools and some fittings.

Step 1 – Choose Which Type of Fabric to Use

There are three main qualities that must be chosen before installing chain link fabric: gauge, mesh size, and coating. The gauge measures how thick the metal wire is that is woven into the fabric. As the wire gets thicker, the fence gets stronger. The size of the mesh measures how big the diamonds are in the chain link pattern. Typically, smaller mesh makes for a stronger fence, but mesh size needed for a fence is usually determined by the application. For instance, if one needed to keep rabbits out of an area, a smaller mesh will be needed than if the fence only needed to keep people out. Lastly, the coating refers to the type of protective coating that is applied to the metal. Again, the coating is usually determined by the application. The type of weather and the duration the fence will need to remain in it are usually considered when choosing a coating.

Step 2 – Install the Posts

Dig holes that are roughly 6 inches in diameter and 30 inches deep. Chain link fence posts are usually set in the ground a little deeper than other fence posts, so that they remain stable despite regular movement. Fill the holes with wet concrete and sink the posts into these holes.

Step 3 – Attach Fittings to the Terminal Posts

The terminal posts are at the ends and at the corners of a chain link fence. At least two of these must be equipped with all of the following fittings: tension bands, one brace band, a rail end, and a post cap. The tension bands are slipped on first. Attach one tension band per vertical foot of post minus one, spaced evenly along the post. Next, connect the brace band, which, in turn, holds the rail end fitting with a carriage bolt. Finally, place the post cap on the top of the post.

Step 4 – Attach the Top Rail

Attach loop caps to the tops of the posts between the terminal posts. Slide a piece of top rail through the loop cap closest to a terminal post and into the rail end attached to it. Once done, continue to thread this top rail the opposite direction through the loop caps of all the subsequent posts until it reaches a rail end on another terminal post. Use top rail sleeves to extend the top rail if need be.

Step 5 – Stretch the Chain Link Fabric

Weave a tension bar through the diamonds at one end of the chain link fabric. Connect the tension bar to the tension bands with carriage bolts. Unroll the chain link fabric across the outside of the posts until it reaches the nearest terminal post. If the fabric is not long enough, pliers can be used to remove one wire from the end of the mesh which can then be rethreaded through a new piece of chain link fabric to join the two pieces together. Once the chain link is near the next terminal post, attach a come-along to the terminal post and hook the other end to the chain link fabric. Make sure to mount the come-along on the inside perimeter of the fence. A come-along is a ratcheting device that will pull its hooked ends together as its lever is moved back and forth. As the come-along is tightened, it will stretch the chain link fabric. If the fabric is tightened too much it may bend the posts. On the other hand, if the fabric is not tight enough, the fence will sag. When it’s at the correct tension, one should just barely be able to squeeze the diamonds in the fencing a little bit. Once the fabric is tight, weave another tension bar through the fencing near the terminal post the fabric was being stretched towards and lock it in place with tension bands and carriage bolts.  Cut away any excess fabric.

Step 6 – Connect the Fabric to the Middle Posts

Fasten the fabric to the middle posts and the top rail by wrapping wire ties around the poles and between the mesh of the fence. The ties should be approximately 2 feet apart.

Step 7 – Repeat if Necessary

If the fence needs to continue in another direction, begin from the terminal post that the fence was stretched to and repeat the process.