How to Repair a Chain Link Fence

Updated: Apr. 26, 2023

Save money with this simple DIY repair

how to repair a chain link fenceFamily Handyman
A damaged chain link fence rail can easily be repaired by cutting out the bad section and sliding in a new piece. Learn how from our fence experts.

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How to Repair a Fence: Mark a cutting line

Slide the new chain link fence top rail down so the crimped end is located over a straight section of the damaged rail. Then mark the cutting line.

Figure A: Cutting guide

Start at an existing rail joint, then cut the replacement section to length.

When a tree limb falls on your property, you can bet it’s going to damage something. And if that “something” happens to be a chain link fence, consider yourself lucky, because fixing a chain link fence is an easy DIY repair. The pros would charge about $150 plus materials for the repair shown here. But you can do it yourself for about $60, including tool rental. Here’s what you can do if a neighbor’s tree grows into your property.

We asked our friends at Premier Fence in St. Paul, Minnesota, to evaluate the damage on this fence and walk us through the repair. Here’s how to proceed.

Get a new section of top rail and some wire ties from a home center or fence supplier. The top rail should have one open end and one crimped end. Grab a hacksaw, file and pliers—and a helper.

Start by removing the wire ties that hold the fence fabric to the top rail. Then rest the new rail on top of the damaged rail and have your helper hold it in place while you mark a cutting line on the old rail. Then mark a cut on the opposite end of the new rail where it meets a joint.

Cut the damaged rail at the cutting line (Figure A), slide it off the joint and toss it. Then cut the excess off the top rail to mate with the existing joint. Create some maneuvering room by unbolting the top rail from the corner post and sliding it away from the damaged area. Install the larger end of the new rail onto the crimped end of the old rail. Then make the final connection. Reconnect the rail end cap to the corner post. Find out the cost of installing a chain link fence.

Meet the Pros

Chris and Wayne work for Premier Fence in St. Paul, Minnesota. Between the two of them, they have more than 27 years of experience installing and repairing wood, aluminum, iron, chain link and vinyl fencing.

Required Tools for this How to Repair a Fence Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Extension cord
  • File
  • Hearing protection
  • Pliers
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Safety glasses

Required Materials for this How to Repair a Fence Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Chain link fence rail
  • Galvanized wire ties