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Fences

Install a Chain Link Fence in Seven Steps

Probably the most durable and maintenance-free fence is the chain link fence. Wind won't blow it down, it doesn't obscure the view, and it is ideal for a dog run, play yard, garden, or swimming pool enclosure. Before you begin, determine your deed restrictions on fence type, height, and placement. Also find out if a building permit is required. Once you have cleared those hurdles, it is time to install your chain link fence.

1. Lay out the area you want to fence. Determine your fence height, post spacing, and placement and width of your gate. Measure carefully so that you buy enough fence fabric, posts, and fence hardware. You will also need some specialized tools such as a fence stretcher, pipe cutter, and post hole digger.

2. Dig your post holes at least two feet deep and wider at the bottom than the top. Mix quick-setting concrete and set the posts. Set the terminal posts two inches higher than the line posts, and set the gate posts wider than the gate to allow for hinge and latch clearance (3 3/4 " for walk gates, 5 1/2 " for double drive gates. Use a level to make sure your posts are perfectly plumb. Allow the concrete to set before proceeding to the next step.

3. When the concrete has set, slip the tension and brace bands onto the terminal posts, then put on the terminal post caps.

4. Put loop caps on the line posts and slide the top rail through them. Use a rail end and brace band to attach the top rail to the terminal posts. Use a top rail sleeve to connect top rail sections. Cut the last top rail section to fit snugly.

5. Unroll the chain link fabric and slide a tension bar through the last link. Attach the tension bar to the terminal post with the tension bands and carriage bolts. Attach the fabric loosely to the top rail using wire ties. Remove a single strand of fence wire to shorten the fabric; insert a single strand corkscrew-fashion to connect two sections.

6. Stretch the fabric tight using a fence stretcher attached to a terminal post. There should be just a slight bit of "give". Remove excess fabric as noted above. Then secure the fabric to the terminal post using another tension bar.

7. Finally, hang the gate using male gate hinges on the terminal post. Attach the gate latch, then tighten and adjust hinges for a full swing of the gate.