How to Tighten the Tension Wire on a Chain Link Fence


Want to learn how to tighten the tension wire on your chain link fence and keep it strong and secure? We’ve got you covered! Over time, the tension wire can become loose, causing the fence to sag. But don’t worry, we’ll guide you through the process of tightening it so that your fence stays sturdy and does its job well.

What Is A Tension Wire?

So, let’s start with understanding what the tension wire actually does. It’s a crucial part of a railless or top rail chain link fence, running along the top and/or bottom and connecting the posts. Some people also call this the fence’s ‘bottom wire.’ Its main job is maintaining tension along the fence to prevent it from sagging, especially when facing wind or pressure. But it’s also an important factor for pet or animal owners who don’t want their animal escaping from underneath the fence.

If your fence’s chain mesh has started sagging, it’s a likely culprit. 

Tension Wire FAQs

Is a tension wire necessary in every chain link fence?

No, it depends on the design of your chain link fence. A rail can act as a more durable and long-lasting substitute for a tension wire. That is why top-and-bottom rail chain link fences often won’t have a tension link and will also last longer with less maintenance as a result. 


Do I weave the tension wire between the diamond cell patterns?

Contrary to popular belief, the tension wire shouldn’t be weaved through the chain link material. Instead, fencing installers use hog rings to tie the fence material to the tension link at every 2nd or 3rd cell.

Now that you know the part a tension wire plays, we can move on to tightening the wire. Let’s gather the tools and materials we’ll need for this project.


Tools you need for this task: 

  1. Pliers: These will come in handy for bending the wire.
  2. Wire cutters: You’ll need them to cut the wire if necessary.
  3. Tension Bands: These metal rings hold the tension wire and mesh to the posts and are usually found at the ends of the fence and each corner.
  4. Galvanised or PVC Wire (depending on your fence): In case you need to replace any damaged wire.
  5. Tension Wire Clips: These clips are used to attach the tension wire to the fence securely.
  6. Hog Ties and Hogtie Pliers: To tie the chain link mesh to the wire. 

How To Tighten The Bottom Wire On A Chain Link Fence

Now that we’re all set, let’s dive into the steps to tighten the tension wire.

  1. Check the Fence: Take a good look at your entire fence and identify areas where the tension wire is loose or sagging. Make a mental note of any sections that might require a replacement tension wire.
  2. Find the Tension Bands: Locate the tension bands at the ends of the fence and each corner. These will be your starting points for tightening the wire.
  3. Remove the Tension Wire: Use your trusty pliers to remove the tension wire clips that hold the wire to the fence. Start from one end and work your way along the fence, detaching the wire.
  4. Tighten the Tension Wire: With the wire detached, grab it with your pliers close to the tension band. Pull the wire tight and hold it firmly with the pliers. You don’t want to overstretch the fence. It’s stretched out just enough when you can squeeze a chain link diamond, and it has a bit of give. If you cannot get enough stretch out from your fence, you might need to buy and use a fence stretcher to stretch out the chain link fabric. 
  5. Re-attach the Tension Wire: Once the wire is nice and tight, it’s time to reattach it to the fence using the tension wire clips. Slide the clips over the wire and attach them securely to the fence where they were previously, ensuring the wire is tightly in place. Use hog rings to reattach the chain wire mesh to the tension wire. 
  6. Check the Tension: Take a walk along the fence and make sure the tension wire is evenly tightened throughout. If you notice any remaining sagging, make adjustments accordingly.
  7. Inspect and Replace Damaged Wire: While you’re tightening the wire, keep an eye out for any damage or wear. If you come across weak or broken sections, you will need to remove and replace them to maintain the strength of your fence. 
  8. Repeat for Top Wire: If your fence has a top tension wire, go through the same steps to tighten it and ensure overall stability for your fence.

When You Can Fix A Sagging Fence DIY (And When You Can’t)

You can sometimes get away with re-tightening your chain link fence’s tension wire by yourself now and again if there hasn’t been too much movement. In other cases, it can be a larger ordeal that will take more attention to detail, patience and extra tools to regain your desired look and functionality. 

If there’s been too much damage to your fence, such as large holes, major sag or rust, consider calling our fencing installers

We can give you a reasonable quote on a chain link fencing repair or a replacement if that’s what your fencing needs.