Chain link fencing (1 of 3)
the basics

A well-erected chain fence is more than just a boundary; it can increase the attraction of your property especially if climbing plants are trained up and/or along it. Fences will restrict children and animals to certain areas.

If plants are to be disturbed during the erection, try to do the work in early spring and late autumn so that the plants have time to recover after the work.

Chain Link fencing can be erected on various types of posts, but apart from the need to use different fixings the basic requirements are the same.

These call for strong supports, firmly and evenly erected; preferably in concrete and with supporting wires strained as tight as possible.

If these requirements are met, the erected chain link fence will provide long and trouble free service.

Remember that where the fence is to run along a boundary, the fence posts should be positioned on your land with the fence running on the side of the posts facing your neighbour.

Posts are normally precast concrete, timber or metal.

Precast concrete posts

Precast concrete are available in standard heights and, although more expensive, are more long lasting than the other two options.

The posts have a number of holes to take the straining wire. A number of special posts are available for use as end (straining) posts, these have the inserts required for the stays cast into them - deferent posts incorporate inserts to suit end posts, intermediate straining and right angle corners.

Precast Straining stays are available to suit.

Timber posts

Timber posts are normally just square timber, although unmachined, round timber can be used.

Holes can be drilled to take the straining wire or it can be stapled to the face taking the fence.

Most fence posts are treated at the factory to prevent rot and insect attack and will not require any preservatives for the first year or two.

However, if the posts are cut/drilled or to increase protection where the post is to go below ground level, treats the areas with appropriate preservative.

Metal posts

Metal posts can either be ordinary angle steel or galvanised angle or box section.

  • Ordinary angle steel: You may need to drill the relevant holes for the straining wires and fixings - ensure all holes are de-burred. Apply a good coating of protective paint to the steel before erecting them. Small protective grommets can be fitted to the holes for the straining wire to prevent abrasion between the wire and the sides of the hole.
  • Galvanised sections: Galvanised posts normally form part of a complete range of chain fencing components including straining stays, stretcher bars etc. All sections are pre-drilled to provide all the fixing holes required.

Post configurations:

Fence post typesThere are basically 3 configurations of posts:

  • End straining (also used by the side of gateways and other openings), these take the straining wire from one side only, they need a straining post stay on one side in line with the run of the fence.
  • The intermediate straining/change of plan direction take the force in two directions along the line of the fence on each side. Two straining post stays are required, one on either side in line with the run of the fence.
  • Standard uprights which takes no sideways strain and so requires no side support.

Chain link fencing can be erected so that the bottom of the fence is just clear of ground level. Alternatively, the bottom of the fence can be buried at least 150 cm (6 inches) into the ground to prevent animals from getting under it.

The two related pages explain the erection of the posts and erecting the straining wires and fencing.

Skill level

Care during setting out the line of the fence and posts is most important, so accurate working and patience at this stage is imperative. Once the fence posts have been erected, it will be difficult to reposition them so don't fix them until you are absolutely sure of their positions. As the work progresses, keep checking to ensure that the fence is correctly positioned.

Rolls of fencing can be heavy and erecting posts can be hard work, so 2 or 3 people will make the job easier. More than one pair of hands will help when fixing the fence to the straining wires.


Strong gloves to protect your hands.