How to Retrofit a Chain Link Gate – Installing a Chain Link Gate in a Fence Line
We have many customers who wish to install a chain link gate where there currently is an existing in-ground, stationery chain link fence. Here’s how:
Decide on Width: Many wish to simply install gate in-between two existing line (intermediate) posts. You can and we’ll tell you how, but first – here are a few considerations. There can be a few potential problems:
Line posts insufficient in ‘weight’ (strength – wall thickness), diameter (O.D. = outside diameter) and height. The ‘weight’ of a post, as we often call it, refers to wall thickness. If you have a very thin wall post, it will bend and not support the weight of a gate. The diameter of a post also needs to be sized appropriately for the additional stress a gate imposes. Small, thin-walled posts are insufficient for hanging gates on them. Lastly, line (intermediate) posts are usually set 3″ +/- lower than terminal posts (end, corner, and gate posts). The post may not be tall enough to tie in top rail of chain link fence (we do have post extensions which can fix this). These posts you’ve ‘sized’ up for hanging and latching a chain link gate to, must also be cemented in the ground. Some chain link fences have all, or just terminal posts concreted in place. Some fence installers drive all of them and simply cement ‘pull’ posts (end, corner, and gate posts). All chain link posts supporting gates should be cemented in place. This is perhaps more important than the type of post used. Don’t forget posts must also be perfectly plumb because gates are square. If you do not have the right posts in place to use as a terminal hook-up post and gate post, you can still install a new chain link gate in-line, you will simply need to set new posts.
Once you’ve determined line posts are sufficient to use as gate posts or set new posts, it’s time to go to work.
Remove tie wires with fence pliers for area of chain link fence affected, go a couple feet wider than the width of gate you want to install. At this point, you need to ‘cut out’ the section of chain link fence and top rail where the gate will be installed. Yes, you can do this on both ends with bolt cutters, or you can use a come-a-long, two chain link stretch bars, and two tension bars. Slide a tension bar in both ends close to where you want the stationery chain link fence to stop (gate starts) and slip on the two stretch bars. Connect with come-a-long and give it a few cranks until you can unbend top and bottom chain link weave (twist gently to find top and bottom) and unravel. You ‘cut’ chain link by unweaving a link. You can connect it back together the same way, hence the reason we unbend the tops and bottoms, and not cut. Top rail always needs cut. Use a hacksaw, pipe cutter and pipe wrench, portable sawzall, or bandsaw (in opposite order by preference). You now have a ‘hole’ to install your new gate.
Reuse existing fence post, or set new. Post must sit up 1-3″ above existing top rail to allow for a brace band, rail end cup, and carriage bolt. You will also need 1/2″ +/- to tap a post cap on top. Reattach top rail and install post cap. Restretch chain link fence fabric to end post with a Pul-Jak, or Short Stretch Tool.
Install chain link female hinges. These clamp on and secure with carriage nuts and bolts. They should rest 2-4″ from top and bottom of gate frame. Tighten bottom, but leave top loose. Hold gate up to hinge post to visualize placement of male hinges. Tap male hinges on post, install carriage bolts, and tighten male hinges firmly. Bottom hinge pin points up, top hinge pin points down so gate can not be removed once firmly mounted and nuts tightened. Lift chain link gate, set down on bottom male hinge, lift female hinge to slide on to top male hinge, and tighten.
Install latch(es) and test gate swing and latching function. If gate is too tight, you can ‘cock’ hinges, by tapping on both top and bottom hinge to tap pivot point ‘out of center’. If gate is too small, you can consider changing hardware. Chain link J-Bolt hinges are a common choice. We also have an assortment of hinges and latches made by D&D Technologies, DAC Industries, and Nationwide Industries that are adjustable.