How to repair a chain-link fence in 5 steps


Chain-link fences are tough creations meant to last for years to come. These durable fences can mark property lines and secure areas. They can also be used as a privacy fence or paired with a wood fence. These fences can also come with security options for sensitive areas, such as barbed wire. 

It can be pretty difficult to cause significant damage to a chain-link fence, but something like a tree falling on the fence or people routinely using it as a ladder can cause damage to the structure. Fortunately, repairing chain-link fences is a DIY project that many people can manage independently. If you do not feel prepared to fix the fence or install a new fence yourself, you can contact a professional fence company and ask fence contractors to help you get the right fence or fence repairs.

If you’re interested in taking care of fence repairs yourself, we’ll walk you through the steps to get your fence in working order and ready to continue serving you.


Common chain-link fence repairs

There are typically only a few main ways for chain-link fences to experience damage and need repairs. Some of the most common types of damage you might see to a chain-link fence include the following:

  • A bent top rail. The top fence rail can get damaged by something falling on it, such as a tree or similar debris. This impact can cause the top rail to bend or otherwise get disfigured.
  • Damage to the posts. Posts can similarly get damaged from heavy contact, such as getting hit by a car or something equally heavy. Posts can also become loose as they age if they were not initially secured properly. This can cause sagging in the fence, worsening over time.
  • Damage to the chain mesh. The links that form the majority of the fence can also get damaged. People climbing on the fence, something hitting the fence, or typical wear and tear can cause stretched or snapped links or holes. 

Fortunately, you can often easily replace these damaged sections. Homeowners interested in some basic home improvement projects will find that repairing their fence can make a tremendous difference in the landscaping of the space. The key is knowing how to repair different portions of the fence. If you need help navigating these repairs, a handyman might be able to help fix your fence.


Tools needed to repair a chain-link fence

Begin by gathering the necessary tools and supplies to repair your chain-link fence. Have the following items on hand when you repair your fence:

  • An adjustable wrench
  • Replacement rail
  • Wire ties
  • Pliers (lineman’s pliers often work best)
  • Safety items (safety glasses, hearing protection and durable construction gloves)
  • Reciprocating saw or a hacksaw
  • Mesh role or wires

Once you gather the necessary supplies, inspect your damaged fence to see where to begin. Chain-link fence installation requires technical knowledge and a chunk of time. Don’t try to rush the job if you want it to look satisfactory. 


How to straighten a bent top rail on a chain-link fence in 5 steps

We’ll walk you through what to do to fix a bent top rail on your chain-link fence.

Step 1. Untie the fencing

Begin the process by identifying precisely where the bend starts in your fence. It may be helpful to mark the starting and ending point of the bend so you know which portion to remove.

Then locate where the wire wraps around the top rail along this bent portion. Once you have found where the two attach, untwist the wires so you can free the damaged rail from the fence. Your pliers will help you accomplish this goal. There will be a few spots where the two connect, so make sure you find each of them. 

Step 2. Cut out the bent section of the rail

Once the bent rail has been disconnected, use your saw to cut out the bent portion. Make sure that you have a blade in the saw appropriate for cutting through a metal fence pole. Hold your saw steady so you cut squarely. Once you make your cuts, cleanly lift out the damaged portion.

Step 3. Measure and cut the replacement pipe

Now that you have removed the damaged part, insert a replacement piece of pipe. You should see one side with a taper as you look at your replacement rail. Take this end and slide it into the portion of the fence rail from which you just cut out the bent portion. Push it in as far as it will go.

Once it is in as far as it will go, line up the other end with the other side of your cut portion of the fence. Mark where the replacement rail meets the other side of the existing pipe. Then take the replacement portion back out and use your saw to cut it to the right size.

Step 4. Place the new rail

Once you have cut your replacement rail, insert it back into the existing rail and attach it. Begin by sliding the tapered end back into the old rail. Then place a rail coupling over the other end of the replacement rail.

Go where the fence joins the nearest fence post to make this process easier. Loosen a rail end with an adjustable wrench. The rail end holds the rail to the corner post. Loosening this will make it easier to slide the replacement rail into place. It may help to have a second pair of hands on-site to help you with this portion.

Once you have loosened the rail end, slide the replacement portion of the bar firmly into place with the existing bar. Then tighten the rail end and make sure everything is in place.

Step 5. Reattach the fencing

Finally, reattach the wire mesh portion to the fence bars. Have your linesman’s pliers available again and twist the wires back into place around the new portion of the bar. After you finish this step, your fence should look new.


How to patch a damaged section of chain-link mesh in 3 steps

If the source of damage to your chain-link fence comes from a damaged section of mesh, you will find it straightforward to replace. Here are the steps that you will need to follow.

Step 1. Remove the damaged chain-link fabric

First, identify precisely where the damaged fabric of the chain-link fence begins and ends. This will tell you how much to remove and replace. Once you have identified how far the damaged portion spreads, mark it on the fence. Then use your linesman’s pliers to untwist the wire from where it connects to the top pipe of the fence. 

Next, go where the damaged portion of the mesh ends and untwist the wires from the sections adjacent to it and the top and bottom of the fence. Save the removed wires as you untwist them. Once you have untwisted them (going all the way around the damaged portion of the fence), you can remove this portion of the mesh.

Step 2. Size the replacement fabric

Correctly size the replacement portion so it will fit properly. You can take the damaged portion you removed and lay it on top of your replacement fabric to tell you how much you need. However, you will likely want to leave at least an extra link or two on the replacement portion to make sure you have enough space to attach it to the existing fence on both ends.

Once you measure how much replacement mesh you need, use your pliers to untwist the wires holding it to your roll of fencing replacement.

Step 3. Weave the new fabric in place

Finally, weave the fabric into the hole on the fence. Use wire ties to hang the replacement fabric loosely in the space to have it positioned correctly. Then take the wires you removed in step one and weave the portions back together. 

Once you finish this step, you’ve successfully repaired the mesh portion of your fence.


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You can do a lot of chain-link fence repairs yourself. Learn how to replace damaged portions of your metal fence.