How to Cut Chain Link Fence

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Are you planning on installing a chain link fence? The first thing you will need to do is cut the fence to the right size. This process can be intimidating to people, but it’s a lot easier than you think! Be sure to keep reading if you need to learn how to cut a chain link fence.

Required Tools

You will need:

  • Tape measure
  • Lineman’s/wire pliers
  • Bolt cutters (preferred cutting tool) or a hacksaw
  • Tension bar

You do not need many tools to cut your wire fencing. However, you should always take your time and work carefully. That way, you know you will get good final results.

Chain link fence

How to Cut a Chain Link Fence

Here are the basic steps you’ll need to follow, and we go into more detail on each below.

  1. Measure the space where you want to place your fencing. Make sure to record the numbers somewhere.
  2. Lay out the fence using your tension bar.
  3. Use your bolt cutters to cut through the individual wires.
  4. Keep going until you reach the correct length.
  5. Reattach the chain links to the fence stretcher, or end piece, when you are done. You can move onto the installation now.

While you can use other tools, like a hacksaw, we recommend bolt cutters. They are easier to use and you likely already have one at home. If not, they are easier to find in stores than other cutting tools.

Cutting the Post

You will likely need to cut the fence post if you want to size your fencing right. All you need to do is measure, then mark the post accordingly. Once you know you have accurately marked the posts, you can start cutting them.

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We recommend you use a reciprocating saw or hacksaw to do the job. Always make sure that you have a metal cutting blade in your tool before you get started!

The posts can roll, so you will want to use clamps or other tools to hold them in place. You can also have someone else help out by holding the fence posts steady for you.

This summary of cutting posts should help:

  1. Mark where you need to cut the post with a marker.
  2. Put the metal-cutting blade into your saw.
  3. Equip protective gear – safety goggles, earplugs, dust respirator mask, and leather gloves!
  4. Cut through the post where you marked it.

As long as your metal-cutting blade is sharp, you should have little trouble cutting through the post. If it feels like you’re struggling, it might be time to change out the blade.

Read our guide on how to find the best reciprocating saw on the market.

Cutting a Chain Link Fence for the First Time

If you need more details- don’t worry! We have you covered. If this is your first time doing this kind of project, we made sure to include more information here.

Using Bolt Cutters

The bolt cutters you use should be between eight and ten inches in size. This range allows you to easily cut through the links, without them being too awkward to use.

Knowing Where to Cut

You will want to figure out how much of the fence you need to remove. You can cut:

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  • Where the links connect to the posts: this removes an entire section of the fence
  • Through the tension bars: this allows you to cut other areas of the fence easier
  • Through the links: this can shorten the fence length or height

Start Cutting

Cut through the links slowly using the bolt cutters; they should go through easily. Once you have done all the sections you need to, you can separate the links using your pliers.

It helps if you cut the metal links close to where they twist together. That way, you can unweave the sections with ease. Many people cut the links where they connect- but that makes it harder to remove the fencing.

Once you have cut all the parts needed to get the size you want, you can reconnect the fencing to the end pieces. From there, you can start installing the fencing on your property.

Steps to Unweave a Chain Link Fence

Depending on where you need to remove material, you may simply be able to unweave the fence.

  1. Start by recording your measurements. Measure where you want to place the fence.
  2. Set up your tension bar. Once placed, you can remove the end of the fencing.
  3. Use your pliers to undo the chain link fencing. It is time consuming, but an easy task overall.
  4. Continue untwisting the wire until a piece comes loose. You can do this until the chain link fence is the size you need. Hold onto the pieces you take out until you are sure you don’t need them anymore.
  5. Reinstall the end piece and move onto installation.

Changing a Chain Link Fence’s Height

While you will need to adjust the length of the fence to make it fit well on your property, you might also be interested in adjusting the fence’s height. It is just as easy as the above steps!

Making the Fence Shorter

Making the fence shorter is easy. All you need to do is cut the links in the same way we covered above. Instead of reducing the length of the fence, you will be reducing its height.

Start at the end of the links. Once you have lowered it, you can reconnect them.

Backyard with fence

Making the Fence Taller

Making the fence taller can take a bit more time. You need to start by removing the links and only leaving your posts. First, you should remove the tension rods, since it makes doing so easier.

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Next, measure the size of your posts. You want to know their diameter. Once you have recorded the sizes, you can either buy new posts that are slightly larger than the ones you already have or make your own.

All you need to do is slide the longer posts over the ones still in the ground. They should easily fit right over top of them. You can use a rubber mallet to push the new posts over top if they are sticking.

Then, you can replace your fencing. You can either fill the space with new fencing you buy or can adjust the height of your old fencing to make it fit. Doing so simply takes some cutting and reconnecting.

Repairing a Broken Chain Link Fence

When your fence breaks, it can look unappealing. Plus, it is no longer doing its job! You will need to cut out the damaged sections and replace them. This project is pretty easy to do on a day off.

Get New Fencing

You only need enough fencing to replace the damaged section. You will want to buy top railing, wire tires, fencing mesh, and any needed tools to complete the job. Make sure to measure the damaged area before you order supplies.

Remove the Broken Parts

You can either cut out or unweave the broken portions as we discussed in detail above. Once you have it removed, cut down your new chain link fencing to size. You should be able to weave it back into place easily.

Once you are done, reconnect the end cap to your post.

Replace the Old Sections

You can replace as many of the old sections as you want. Sometimes, fences will break in more than one area- these situations will usually happen after a strong storm. Luckily, fixing chain link fencing is cheap and easy to do.

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Removing a Chain Link Fence

You may also want to remove the fencing. Start by removing the sections that hold the links to the posts. You can do this by unweaving sections with pliers or using bolt cutters. To make it easier to carry, you might want to cut the sections down even smaller.

“Uprooting” the posts is the hardest part. You will need to remove their concrete base with a shovel.

While removing a chain link fence can take a bit of time, it is a simple project. If you have a lot of fencing at home, you might want to have a friend help you out.

Why Cut Chain Link Fence On Your Own

If you enjoy DIY projects, then tackling chain link fencing on your own should be no big deal. However, for those who don’t do these sorts of projects often, it is still worth it.

When you cut and install chain link fencing on your own, you are saving quite a bit of money. Professionals will charge you for their time, services, and the material. But, when you do it yourself, you only are paying for the material.

Of course, knowing how to cut chain link fencing is a unique skill to have! If you have this type of fencing on your property, the sooner you learn to work with it, the better off you will be.

Summary

While you can pay professionals to do this job- cutting your chain link fence down to size is simple! As long as you have the right tools, this DIY project should take very little effort. You can easily adjust the fencing and get it set up in your yard by cutting or unweaving the links.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.