How to Repair a Hole in a Chain Link Fence

A chain link fence.
What You'll Need
Piece of chain link fence
Measuring tape
Wire cutters
Come-a-long
Pliers
Wire
What You'll Need
Piece of chain link fence
Measuring tape
Wire cutters
Come-a-long
Pliers
Wire

A chain link fence can discourage unwanted visitors from stepping foot where they do not belong. They are especially effective against animals, but that effectiveness will wane when a hole appears in the chain link fence and a chain link fence repair becomes necessary.

There is no reason to replace the section of the fence that is damaged when you can simply repair it. The information below will show you how easy it is to do just that.

Why Should You Repair a Chain Link Fence Hole

You may need to conduct repairs to a chain link fence for a number of reasons: a tree fell on it during a storm, it was cut by trespassers, or it stretched and popped out of place under the weight of a snowplow.

You should repair your fence rather than let the hole remain for a few reasons, the main one being safety. A broken fence does little to keep out intruders or unwanted critters. The hole can also be dangerous if it is jagged and hurts someone touching the area or someone who is allowed on your property and decides to cut through using the hole on the fence instead of walking around it.

Whatever the cause, it's an easy repair with some chain link fence repair tools, instructions, and a little help.

Tools for Repairing a Chain Link Fence

There are a lot of tools you might use in chain link fence repair. Which ones are right for you will decide on the scope and scale of your project. Here are a few that might come in handy.

Wire Cutters

An effective pair of wire cutters is necessary when repairing a chain link fence in case any section of it needs to be cut. Be aware that the wire used for the fencing is thicker than that used for household wiring so the cutters will need to be tough enough to take on the thickness.

Depending on the manner in which you intend to repair the fence, you may also need a pair of cutters for the separate lengths of wire that attach the fence to the posts. Quick repairs of holes can be undertaken by linking loose sections with separate pieces of wire.

Pliers

Whether it is the process of linking parts of the chain link fence to each other or to the posts that hold it up, there will be occasions when you will need to manipulate the wire. This process can be undertaken with a pair of pliers. This will allow you to bend the wire into the relevant shape to enable it to be securely hooked onto its neighbor.

Gloves

You will need thick gloves to protect your hands while working with the wire of a fence. This will not only prevent the risk of any cuts, but will reduce the strain on your hands when using tools.

Staple Gun

A staple gun will prove useful when attaching a chain link fence to wooden posts. An industrial staple gun and its staples can be hired from a tool rental company. The thickness of the staples are effective at holding the fence up on the posts.

Shovel

If the posts that hold up the chain link fence are loose, you may find that they have not been properly fitted into the ground. This can be rectified with the use of a shovel, which should be used to dig holes at a depth equaling ⅓ the height of the post. The depth will depend on the type of soil that the ground is made up of. A shovel will also be necessary if a trench is needed along the entire length of the fence. This can be necessary if the fence is to be fitted into the ground rather than hovering above it.

Cement

When you want to make a fence more secure or are seeking to make it animal-proof, you may find it useful to anchor it to the ground. This can be achieved by digging a trench into which the fence will go before the cement is poured in so that it will not be possible for anything to pass beneath the fence. Cement can also be used to firmly hold the posts in place.

How to Fix a Chain Link Fence

Step 1 - Look for Damage

Inspect along both sides of the fence in places where there is obvious damage. Branch out from there to check for loose posts, gates, and top rails as well so you're aware of everything that needs attention. Make note of these areas on a rough diagram to keep track of them all.

It would be awful to fix one issue only to then notice a second one. Taking the time to inspect the entire fence will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Step 2 - Measure and Assess

Take measurements between intact fence posts to learn the standard length of fence railing for your existing fence. Then, count the posts that run throughout the damaged area to calculate the length of the new fence railing and chain link you will need.

Measure the thickness of the fence railing as well so you can buy the same size you currently have in your fence, either 1 3/8-inch or 5/8-inch. If the fence posts or gates have been damaged, take one of each with you to get replacements in the correct size.

For the chain link, some of the material will be able to be bent and refitted, but if the metal is badly bent or cut, it will need replacement. Buy all necessary parts and the hardware to attach everything.

Once you make sure all your posts are in good shape, you can turn to the chain link itself, including minor holes in the area. If all the posts are in good shape, you can skip Steps 3 and 4.

Step 3 - Cut

If you need to replace the railing, start by cutting the wire ties that hold the chain link to the rail. Then, place the new fence rail on top of the old one and mark where you're going to cut on the damaged one. Mark the other end of the new rail where it will meet a joint.

Set the new rail aside and cut the damaged one into 24-inch pieces with a hacksaw. Slide the very end off of the joint and set all these aside for later disposal.

Step 4 - Replace Damaged Posts

Remove the fence railing all the way to any damaged posts. Clip any ties that are still intact and slide the old posts out of position. Install your new ones using the same post holes.

Remove the nearest end post cap, brace bands, and the vertical tension bands from one end of the fence. Slide the new fence railing into the rail cap slot, and along to where it's needed. Attach the end of this fence railing to the end post rail cap, and reconnect brace and tension bands.

Step 5 - Prepare the Hole

The best patch is one that matches the chain link fence as closely as possible. In order to get a perfect fit, you need to trim the hole.

This will, of course, make the hole larger. It will not, however, affect the chain link fence any more than the original hole. Use the wire cutters to trim the hole. Cut the exposed wires so they are 1/4 inch longer than the crossing wires.

Step 6 - Add the Patch

Measure the hole in its current state. The patch will be this size plus an additional 1 inch (or more if a bigger patch will mean that the piece fits better and that the links look more whole or fuller).

This will go a long way in making the patch job look seamless and less conspicuous. Use the wire cutters to trim the patch to these specifications.

Step 7 - Patch the Chain Link Fence

The come-a-long is a tool that attaches to the two sides of the hole in the chain link fence. Once the come-a-long is attached to the two sides, you can twist it clockwise. This motion will pull the edges of the fence tight and closer together. This also allows you the ability to place the patch in place without having to worry about holding the chain link fence.

When the patch is placed over the hole and the come-a-long is released, the chain link fence will snap back to being tight, which is the way you want it to appear. This helps with the fence's overall structural integrity.

Hold the patch over the hole in the fence and center it, making sure the cut wires on the fence line up with the links on the patch. Use the pliers to twist these ends together all around the entire perimeter of the patch.

You can then use the wire cutters to clip off any excess wire. This will effectively hold the patch, but once you release the come-a-long, the strength of the fence may pull these wires' connections apart.

In order to fix this issue if it occurs, you will essentially be sewing the chain link fence. Use the wires and wrap them around one corner and crimp it to itself. Begin threading the wire around the perimeter around the fence and the patch edges until you reach the crimped edge.

Wrap the ends together, crimp them, and then cut away the excess. Remove the come-a-long and inspect the chain link fence.

If the chain link fence looks good, then your chain link fence repair has been completed.

How to Fix the Height of a Chain Link Fence

If your chain link fence is not high enough, you can increase its height.

Start by removing the old fencing. If it’s been there for several years, this could prove to be a long job.

Use pliers to disconnect the wires ties that hold the chain link fencing onto the fence posts and horizontal connectors. From there, you’ll be able to roll up the old chain link fence although it might have become embedded in the ground in some areas.

Once you have all of the old chain link fencing removed, dispose of it or store it out of the way. Now, you’ll need to use your wrench to take out the horizontal connectors.

Work one at a time and keep them on the ground close to where they will be used on the new fence. Mark them so you know where each one goes. Finally, remove the cap section from the fence posts. This includes the connectors for the horizontal poles.

The fence posts for your chain link fence should have an outside diameter of 1 5/8 inches which is a standard size. You will be able to use a post of slightly larger dimensions to add height to the fence.

Let’s assume you wish to add two feet in height. Use a sleeve that’s three feet in height and slide 12 inches of it over the old post. Mark the position on the post and drill two holes at 90 degree angles from each other through both the sleeve and the fence post. Use screws to attach the sleeve to keep it secure on the post.

Repeat this for all the posts along the length of the fence.

Put the cap on top of the sleeve, using your wrench to secure it tightly, and add the horizontal connectors between the fence posts so you have the skeleton of the fencing structure. The horizontal connectors will add strength to the structure and help keep it firm. Continue until all the horizontal connectors are back in place.

Now you’re ready to put the new fencing on the frame. Start from one end, using new wire ties to keep the fence in place and hold it firm. Use the ties about every 2 feet to keep tension in the fence and continue this process around the entire area.

Your gate will still be at the old height. You can either leave it as it is or replace it with an entirely new gate of the desired height. The gates are separate units and connect or disconnect with bolts fitted around the posts.

Adding Chicken Wire

The smaller holes in chicken wire make it an ideal solution for keeping in small kittens, baby rabbits, or other small pets that can squeeze between the holes in a chain link fence.

Roll out the chicken wire and use the measuring tape to measure the correct amount of wire to cut. Then, use a crayon to mark the cutting line for the chicken wire. Crayon is much easier to see than a pencil or pen and will be easy to spot when using the snips or shears to cut the chicken wire.

Use the snips or shears and follow along the cutting line you made with the crayon and cut a piece of chicken wire to the appropriate length. Use wire cutters to trim off any sharp edges along the edge of the chicken wire.

Once you have the chicken wire in place, start cutting short strands of thin metal gauge wrapping wire and using them to secure the chicken wire to the fencing on the chain link fence. Keep the pieces of wire as short as possible while making sure they are twisted tight enough to be strong and secure.

Trim the ends of the wrapping wire so your small pets will not get cut or injured if they brush up against the wire.

Maintenance

Keep your chain link fence well maintained. Check it in spring after heavy snow and after severe storms where trees have fallen. Even if the trees fell far from your house or garage, damage to the fence at any point will reduce the stability of the entire fixture.