DIY Chain Link Gate Installation

Installing a chain link gate on your fence is the perfect way to make your property more accessible—and it’s something you can do at home on your own. This how-to guide from America’s Fence Store will teach you the basics of chain link gate installation.  

Objective:  By mastering this lesson, you will be able to successfully measure for and install chain link gates.

Equipment:  Socket set, hammer, come-a-longs, level and pliers.

Key Questions:

  1. How do I measure for gates?
  2. How do I install a cantilever gate?
  3. How do I install a rolling gate?
  4. What are the most common safety obstacles to be aware of when installing gates?

How do I measure for gates?

With all gates, make sure that you get more than one measurement.  Following a level plane, you will want to measure both at the top and bottom of the gate.  Do not allow your tape to slope or angle from level while measuring.  Keep your dimensions accurate to + 1/8”.  You will often times find these dimensions are different.  Generally, the smaller dimension is used in building the gate.  Communicate this information clearly on your as-built shortly after setting the posts.

Rolling gates:  Measure from inside to inside of gate posts and from inside to inside of the adjoining line posts that will support the gate when in the full open position.  The inside to inside of line post should not exceed 8’

Cantilever gates:  Measure from inside to inside of the latch posts to the first gate or roller post.  This would be the gate post closest to the opening.  Then, measure from outside to outside of gate or roller gate posts.  See illustration.


How do I install a cantilever gate? 

 A cantilever gate should be installed on a level plane so that the gate can roll in both directions without having additional gravitational pull as a result of the weight of the gate.  Slight adjustments can be made to allow for some minor slope, however, too much slope and the gate could prove to be dangerous while rolling downhill.  To install a cantilever gate:

  1. Install the two bottom cantilever rollers so that the rollers are toward the inside of the fence while fabric is on the outside.  The rollers should be approximately 1” off the ground.  Place a piece of rail across the two rollers.  Place a level on the rail and adjust the rollers up or down so that the rail is level.  Also, make sure that the rollers are adjusted so that the gate will not slide into the grade as a result of a slope.  Tighten the rollers.chain-link-sliding-gates-2.gif
  2. Install the two top cantilever rollers so the rollers will capture the gate once in place.  Hand tighten the rollers. 
  3. Install the gate onto the two bottom rollers.  Stand the gate up.  When in the upright position, slide the two rollers over and onto the gate.  With the gate touching both bottom rollers (balanced in-between the rollers), tighten the two top rollers, leaving a ½” clearance between the rollers and top of gate frame (track or 2.5” pipe).  Tighten the rollers.
  4. Roll the gate forward and backwards through the opening.  If the gate binds, you may have to raise one of the top rollers. 
  5. Adjust the rollers as needed so that you keep the gate as close to the ground as possible, but do not place the rollers below grade or buried.  In the winter, the areas around the rollers will fill with snow and freeze. 
  6. Do not dig a trench for the gate to fully open.  Again, in the winter the snow will freeze the gate in place. 
  7. Fully tighten all rollers upon completing final adjustments.
  8. Install the latch assembly.  If installing a gate operator, use the large “V” receiver that allows the gate to be channeled into the receiver.  If manually operating the gate, use a cantilever locking device so that a padlock may be applied.



How do I install a rolling gate? 

 A rolling gate is great for applications with not enough room to store cantilever gate and openings with a fair amount of slope.  However, you must have a smooth surface to roll the gates from ground wheels along the opening.  To install a rolling gate:

  1. Make sure that you set your posts that will support your track on 8’ centers and used at least 2 ½” Sch 40 posts. 
  2. A rolling gate uses two wheels installed on the back vertical support of the gate.  These wheels run along track that is installed along the inside of the fence. 
  3. Install your universal track brackets one foot from the bottom of the fence and one foot down from the top of the fence.  The brackets are installed so that the U-bolt is below the track sleeve.  You will need to install enough brackets to support as many 8’ lengths of track as required to bring your gate to the full opening, i.e. 20 opening will require three lengths of track (24’). 
  4. Measure from bracket to bracket.  Using 1 5/8” Sch 40 pipe, cut your track and install between the brackets.  Be sure that your track is tight between the brackets so that we do not create a seam for the wheels to get caught-up.  Once complete you should have a top and bottom track that is consistently the same distance apart from one end to the other.  This is important to prevent the track from binding on the rear track wheels. 
  5. Install your rear track wheels on the rear vertical support of the gate from.  The wheels will be approximately one foot from the top and bottom of the gate.  The wheels will be installed on the outside face of the gate so as to ride on top of the track.  Hand tighten. 
  6. Install the double wheel carrier as far forward as you can on the bottom horizontal member of the gate.
  7. Placing the gate in the opening with both rear track wheels on top of the track, adjust the rear track wheels so that both wheels bear down on the track.  Make sure the lower guide on the wheels captures the track so that you cannot lift the gate off the track but the guide does not bind while traveling the track.  Tighten the wheels.
  8. Roll the gate through the opening.  Adjust the rear track wheels as necessary.  The double wheel assembly has an axle trim bolt that allows you to control the direction of the gate as it rolls through the opening.  Adjust as necessary.chain-link-sliding-gates-5.jpg
  9. Using two end bands that fit around the latch post, install the offset lock n’ latch so that when the gate comes fully closed the tab on the latch is engaged, capturing the gate frame and allowing you to padlock the latch. 
  10. You may have to adjust the double wheel assembly back on the frame so that the gate will engage the latch.
  11. Firmly secure all nut & bolt connections to avoid future movement.

What are the most common safety obstacles to be aware of when installing gates?

Lifting.  Gates are always heavy, large and awkward.  Be sure to use good lifting techniques, plenty of manpower or equipment.  Being awkward, it is easy to strain or twist your back.

Fall Hazard.  Gates have proven to be a real fall hazard.  Often times, we lean a gate up against an opening while installing the hinges, a light breeze or bump and the gate will come crashing down on the installer below.  Always use a bungee cord, chain, rope to tie the gate up against the fence.  When installing a cantilever gate, use a bungee cord.  This will allow you to move the gate in and away from the rollers without having to remove the cord. 

Cuts.  Gates have moving parts.  It is easy to catch your finger in a cantilever roller while adjusting the roller. 

Motorized Hazards.  Motorized gates have enormous potential to create harm.  These gates have caught the public eye with a sharp rise in injuries over the years.  Consequently, there is a UL 325 Code that governs motorized gate installation.  While installing these gates, it is easy to get pinched in a roller, between a picket and post or in the opening.  More on this later. 


© 2018 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.

© 2024 The American Fence Company. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial use, copying or distribution is prohibited without express written permission from The American Fence Company.