Chain link fences are one of the most popular choices of fence styles from residential use to industrial use. They are an inexpensive way to increase privacy, keep pets and small children in, and all without blocking your view! Although chain link fences are known for being durable, anything can be damaged overtime. Luckily, a chain link fence repair is actually quite simple and can save you a lot of money compared with hiring professionals to do the job!
Despite having an average lifespan of 20 years, longer than most wood fences, chain link fences can become damaged and require repair. Some of the most common causes of chain link fence damage include:
Pets or other animals
Being cut intentionally
Sagging caused by age or weather
Most of the time, homeowners cannot avoid some type of weather damage on their property. In a windstorm, trees or even just tree limbs can be blown onto fences - knocking them over. In the case of chain link fences, this type of event can cause bent fence rails, compromised fence posts, or damaged chain link mesh. Trees and high winds are usually the causes of the most significant types of damage. However, things like animals trying to get in or out of the yard can also lead to holes or damaged sections of chain link fabric. And, over time, your chain link fence might loosen or begin to sag just because of the fence’s age or weather events.
If you have a damaged chain link fence, count yourself lucky compared to owners of other types of fences. A chain link fence is much less expensive to repair than wood fences. In many cases damaged sections can be replaced without having to have an entirely new fence installed. Having a brand new chain link fence installed will cost you an average of around $2,200. For a chain link fence repair, however, the average cost of the repair is just $500. Depending on the type of damage to your fence, it could vary slightly, but the average range is still just $300-$800 for repairs on this type of fence. If you do the repair as a DIY home improvement project and you do not hire someone to do it for you, you could pay even less than $300 for the entire repair! If you just have a small bent section of a top rail and you decide to do the repair on your own, you would likely pay less than $200 for the repair.
Repairing a chain link fence is not as hard as you might think. In many cases, you can simply fix the area that was damaged and not even worry about needing to replace large sections of your chain link fence. The tools needed for a chain link fence repair are not that complex either, although you will need a friend or helper to assist you for a couple things depending on the type of repair you are doing. The replacement parts are fairly inexpensive for a chain link fence, especially compared to the cost of new parts needed for repairs on other types of fences like wood fences or PVC or vinyl fences.
If you have a bent rail on your chain link fence, the repair could be either really quick and simple or require a little bit more effort to fix. You may not need to purchase any replacement parts so before you do, try to easy fix first!
The first step in repairing a bent rail is to assess the damage. Figure out where the bending originates and check around that area for damage to any other parts of the chain link fence. This is a good time to see if you think you might be able to straighten the bend with your own two hands or even a pipe wrench. If you can, proceed to to easy fix steps below. If you cannot, then you will need some replacement parts, a friend or helper, and additional tools.
For bent rails that are not quite as severe damage-wise, you can usually just straighten it out with a pipe wrench. Very small bends in the chain link fence rail can be fixed by pushing or pulling with your hands. But you will definitely be able to fix minor damage to the rails with a pipe wrench. You will simply place a pipe wrench on either end of the bend in the rail and then apply pressure in the direction needed to straighten out the rail. If you try these steps and neither is effective in repairing your rail, move on to the steps to replace a chain link fence rail below.
When you cannot simply unbend the rail with your hands or using a pipe wrench, you need to replace the bent rail with a new one. To do that, you will need to prepare the damaged section of the fence to remove the bent rail. That means untying the chain link mesh from the rail that you need to replace. Using a pair of pliers, untie the wire ties along the damaged rail. If the wire ties are damaged or rusted then throw them away; if not, keep them for later. There will be wires spaced out about every couple of feet so make sure you get them all in the affected area.
Next, assess the bend in the rail again and determine where it begins on either side of the damage. Using a reciprocating saw, or hack saw, cut through the rail on either end of the bend. Make sure that you have someone to help you with this step by holding on the rail section so that you can focus on cutting the rail as squarely as possible. Be sure to wear gloves and safety goggles while cutting the rail since you will be cutting through metal. Dispose of the damaged rail.
Now that you have cut out the damaged section of rail from your chain link fence, the next step is to measure the length of new rail that you will need to cut. Start at an existing rail joint and measure from there past the bent section of rail to at least six inches on the other side of the bend. Just as you cut the damaged rail, cut the proper length of new rail for the replacement. Make sure one end of the replacement rail has a tapered end. Slide the tapered end into one end of the old rail where you made the cut and place a rail coupling over the joint and tighten the bolt or screw. On the other end, attach the new rail by again sliding the tapered end of the old rail into the new rail. Place a rail coupling over this joint as well and tighten.
Sometimes, chain link fences can end up with a damaged fence post. If your fence post is set in concrete, the replacement can be a little more complex, but either way this is another repair you can do as a DIY home improvement project and save money in the process by only paying for replacement parts and not professional installation!
First step is to untie the wire that connects the chain link mesh to the top rails and bottom rails on either side of the affected post. Use pliers to untwist the wire ties and release the post from the rails. Next, you will need to also detach the chain link fabric from the posts. This will require an adjustable wrench. Using the wrench, remove the tension bands holding the tension bars. Loosen and remove the rails from the post, leaving the posts free from the chain link fence on either side.
Removing the old post after getting it detached and untied from the rest of your chain link fence may require some elbow grease, but it is a simple task. If your post was not embedded in concrete, you just dig around the post until it releases. If your post was installed with concrete, you may need to create a lever using a two by four to get the post released from the ground. Using a post hole digger, dig out a slightly larger hole than what was left after removing the old post.
Now that your damaged post is removed and the area is prepared for installing the new post, add a few inches of gravel to the bottom of the hole and set up the post. Try to make sure the post is standing straight and is plumb to the ground before beginning to pour the concrete. Mix the concrete according to manufacturer’s directions. When you are ready, begin pouring the concrete in the hole around the post. Let it set until it hardens completely.
Once your concrete has set completely around the new post, you can begin to reattach the chain link fabric to the post. Reattach the rails with the rail end brackets while letting the chain link fabric hang loose from the rails with wire ties you will put in place using the pliers. Place the tension bar back through the fence fabric and pull tightly to the post, securing it with tension bands. If your post is not the correct height, then use a reciprocating saw or hacksaw to cut it to the right height and top it off with a post cap.
With some types of damage, you may end up with a hole in your chain link fabric that requires attention. Because chain link fences are simply wire linked together, you can replace small areas of chain link fabric instead of an entire section. Alternatively, you can simply cover that section.
A standard sized piece of chain link fabric will cost you about $100 to $140 for 50 feet of chain link mesh. If you do not want to replace an entire section of fabric because the damage is confined to a relatively small space, then untwist or cut out the affected section. Cutting the metal wire may seem faster and less complicated but it does require special tools and safety protocols like always wearing safety goggles and gloves when cutting metal. Use pliers to untie the metal ties until the entire damaged section of fence releases from the rest of the fabric.
If you are replacing an entire section of chain link fabric, then measure the length in feet of mesh roll you will need for the replacement. You can do this by using a tape measure and measuring the length of the section you are going to replace. If you had a smaller section that was damaged that you untwisted or cut out, then measure that empty space for a replacement. Leave a link or two extra on the edges to weave into the old chain link fabric.
Using metal clippers or pliers, cut out the same size area of new chain link fabric that will fit perfectly into the now-empty space in your chain link fence. Carefully line up the edges of your new chain link fabric to the existing mesh. Secure the wire ties to your fence with pliers.
Remove tree limbs that could cause significant damage
Remove mold and algae
Fixing a chain link fence depends on what kind of damage the fence has sustained. Has a fence post been affected? Then you will need to detach the old fence post from the chain link fabric on either side, dig up the old fence post, replace it with the new post and reattach. Is a rail bent? Sometimes you can straighten it with your hands or a wrench. Other times, you will need to replace the rail in that section. Finally, if the chain link fabric has been damaged or there is a hole in your fence, you will need to cut out or untwist the metal wires around the damaged area and replace it with new mesh.
If you had a storm with high winds or fallen trees and now have a damaged section of chain link fence, there are ways to replace individual sections of chain link fence. You can even just replace individual parts of the chain link fence in individual sections if you want to. But if you had a tree knock over a section of your fence, you can replace the affected post, or posts, rails and chain link fabric that got damaged while leaving the rest of the fence intact.
If you have a hole in your chain link fence but otherwise the rest of the section is damage-free, do not worry because you can fix a hole in a chain link fence. That’s right, you do not have to replace an entire section of your fence if there is just a hole. To fix a hole, you just cut out or untwist the wires to remove the damaged section, measure a replacement section of mesh to cover the hole, and attach to the fence by twisting the wires together.