Chain link fences are chosen for their strength and durability, especially in situations involving overenthusiastic dogs or kids that need to be kept in the yard. This type of fencing can start sagging over time no matter how well it was installed originally. Find out why your fence is starting to droop or sag and your options for making it taut and tightly stretched again.
Discovering the Causes for Sag
While a chain link fence can sag because of installation issues, this usually pops up within a few weeks or months. If your fence stayed tense for years but recently started to flop or sag, it's likely due to
- Broken or stretched tension wires at the top and bottom of the fence
- Deformation in the chain link material due to dogs jumping against or kids climbing over it
- Loose posts due to cracked concrete or installation without concrete to anchor them.
Chain link gates can also sag with or without the rest of the fence being affected. If the gate is sagging but the fence itself is still taut, you're likely looking at a simple problem with loose hinges. It's easy to remove the hinge pins with a wrench and reinsert them in a better position with a mallet, or you can replace the hinges yourself if they're corroding or rusting.
Fixing Tension Wire Problems
Tension wires are run along the top and bottom of the chain link to add extra strength against animals trying to push under the fence or lean it down so it's easier to jump over. With enough wear and tear, these wires can either stretch out or break altogether. Replacing tension wire is simple enough if you've got decent arm strength and don't mind renting a tool called a come-along to pull the material, but it is tricky even for professionals due to the amount of tension necessary.
Remove all the existing tension wire from the fence, then run the new wire along the bottom or top of the fence line without weaving it in. Attach it to the first post with a rail band or by wrapping it around by hand, then stretch the wire along to the next post and use the come-along to crank tension onto it. Attach it to the brace band on that post with a bolt once you reach the desired tension, then continue the process until the entire fence is completed.
Tightening Deformed Fencing
When it's the fencing material itself that's starting to sag or bow out, you need a tension bar to tackle the problem. Simply remove all the wire twists holding the fence to the posts, then use your strength or a device like a come-along to pull the section of fence tight again. Thread a tension bar through the links closest to the post and attach it with tension collars to get a nice tight fence line.
Straightening Loose Posts
Finally, don't forget that the posts need to stay straight up and down in order to maintain the tension on a chain link fence. If they were originally installed directly into the dirt without concrete footers, you'll need to pull them up and pour concrete into the hole or you'll end up with the fence sagging again after just a few months. The post also needs support while the concrete is setting so it doesn't lean in any direction. Since the average chain link fence has dozens of individual posts, it's best to leave this kind of repair to the professionals. If you need a post straightened, contact a company like Elrod Fence Co. Or you can tackle it yourself if you feel comfortable reinstalling all the sections of fencing after the concrete cures and the posts are ready to handle the tension.