How to Repair Your Chainlink Fence

A dog in the back yard chasing a tennis ball running toward a chainlink fence

A chainlink fence is durable, but it can still become damaged by storms or animals. If you walk out into your yard one day to find your chainlink fence completely collapsed, you’ll need to call a fencing professional. But for many minor issues common to this type of fencing, DIY repairs are within the grasp of most homeowners with only a few hand tools. It also helps to have another set of hands for most fence repairs. Tackle your chainlink fence issues and get your yard secure again.

Protect Your Hands and Eyes

Close up on midsection of unknown man holding protective chain link diamond wire fence in the field in day with copy space

You’ll need a few tools to complete the job and some basic safety equipment. It’s easy for the wire and rails used for chainlink fencing to cut your hands, so get a sturdy pair of leather gloves. Double-layered palms are recommended so the ends of the wire can’t poke through the material as you work. Eye protection is also recommended, although basic safety glasses should be fine. This will prevent any bits of metal from reaching your eyes. For most repairs, you’ll need a set of pliers, a hack saw or reciprocating saw with a metal-cutting blade, and new fencing wire ties.

Reset Loose or Leaning Poles

Toppled tree on a chainlink fence after storm in Northfield Minnesota

A chainlink fence is often strong enough to stay standing when just one pole comes loose or leans. If the chainlink post is intact and simply needs to be reset into the ground, you may be able to do all of the work without having to detach the fence fabric from the pole. Using a narrow spade or hand trowel, dig out around the loose post and remove any of the loose concrete that may be there. Dig the hole deeper, making sure it’s as deep as the frost line for your area. This will prevent freezing water from pushing the post up again in the future.

Dig out the hole so that it’s at least six inches wide. A post-hole digger can make this process easier. Add at least four inches of gravel to the bottom of the hole, then fill the rest with concrete as you have a helper hold the pole in the center. Many mixes made for this purpose are added dry and then watered in place, so make sure you have a garden hose or some buckets on hand. Tighten the fence fabric, if necessary, at the tension bars after the concrete hardens.

Replace Bent or Broken Top Rails

closeup of the top rail on a chainlink fence that has been broken

Falling limbs and climbing animals can easily cause the top rails holding up chainlink fences to become broken or bent. This usually affects only one or two sections at a time. Grab your pliers and preferred cutting tool. Start by using the pliers to untwist the wire ties that hold the chainlink fence to the top rail. Once the entire section of the fence is detached from the top rail, use the hacksaw or reciprocating saw to cut on either side of the damaged section.

To get a measurement, slide the tapered end of the replacement rail into the shorter side of the cut pipe section. Then line it up with the other end of the top rail and mark where it meets that section. Slide the new pipe off and cut it at the mark. Insert the tapered end into the top rail again, then slide a rail coupling piece over the other end. You’ll need to loosen the rail end until you can attach the coupler, then tighten the repaired rail and reattach the fence fabric with a new set of wire ties.

Reattach Slumping Sections

Senior man building wire fence at sunny day.

Slumping fence fabric that’s detached from the tension bars on the sides or the top rail is the easier repair of all. Use the pliers to detach any remaining wire ties that are loose on the rail or bars. Grab the fence fabric and pull it to the rail or bar, then use new wire ties to attach it. Make sure there’s a tie every 24 inches at least.

Hang a New Section of Fence

hole at a chainlink fence

If an entire section of the fence fabric has become unwoven, ripped, rusted, or otherwise damaged, you should replace it. Mark on the fence two points just beyond the damaged areas so that you know where to remove it. Unhook the fencing from itself by unweaving the top section first, then the bottom section. Next, undo any wire ties holding the fence fabric to the top rail or nearby tension bars. This should leave the section of fencing free to remove.

Lay the damaged section of fence over the replacement material to cut it to size. Then hang the new section of fence from the top rail with wire ties. Weave it into the existing fence from the bottom first, then the top. Make sure to stretch the fencing as much as possible when attaching it to the old sections, cutting the material if necessary for a smooth fit.

If you’re not a fan of stretching and twisting wire, let a fence professional handle the hard work. Chainlink only needs occasional maintenance to remain secure and durable.

While do-it-yourself projects can be fun and fulfilling, there is always a potential for personal injury or property damage. We strongly suggest that any project beyond your abilities be left to licensed professionals such as electricians, plumbers, and carpenters. Any action you take upon the information on this website is strictly at your own risk, and we assume no responsibility or liability for the contents of this article.