Screen a Chain Link Fence With Lath




Introduction: Screen a Chain Link Fence With Lath

When I purchased my house there was an old plastic wrap that made the chain link fence semi-private but it was in horrible shape. Actually, it was so fragile that when I would give friends and family a tour I would tell them that it had a funny texture and they should touch it.  As soon as their finger touched it, they would poke a hole in it. Because it was in such bad shape I removed the plastic, but I missed the semi-private nature of the wrap.

Later, I gutted my living room and ended up with a large stack of Lath and stacked it in my backyard next to the fence.  One day I picked up a piece and and thought how it would look if I covered the fence with it.  Since I didn't know how it would hold up I did a test where I covered one section of gate and left it up for a year.  It actually held up so well that you can't tell which side is "new".

This is an extremely easy process, just time consuming. This section of two 6' x 6' gates took a full day each.  OK, "full day" included sleeping in, long lunch, talking to neighbors and having a beer or two. 

If you don't have a big stack of lath from gutting your living room, just ask around.  All older houses have this in abundance and it is usually considered "garbage" .  In all honesty the only reason I was keeping it is because 100+ year old pine tends to make really good kindling for fires. 

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Step 1: What You Will Need


  1. Drill (I prefer cordless)
  2. 5/64" Drill Bit
  3. Hand Saw
  4. Vice Grips
  5. Wire Cutters
  6. Needle Nose Pliers
  7. Hammer
  8. Paint Brush


  1. Galvanized Steel Wire (won't corrode)
  2. Lath
  3. Varnish

Step 2: Makin Staples

For the first section I made the staples as I went. For the second section I simply made a bunch of them while watching TV.

Simply go 2 1/2 inches up, on the end of your wire, grab it with the wider part of the Needle Nose Pliers, make two bends and cut so it is even. This is why I used the Needle Nose as they had a cutter built in, so I didn't have to switch tools.

Now repeat 100 times (I just made them until I ran out of wire on the spool).

Step 3: Attach the Lath to the Fence

When you look at a chain link fence, there is actual "channels" that you can lay the Lath in.  You can attach the boards in other patterns, but this seemed the most logical to me.
  1. Lay the Lath piece in the channel of the fence and cut to fit (I started in one corner and worked across).
  2. Drill two holes so that they line up with a link in the fence.
  3. insert the staple
  4. Lock on the Vice Grips
  5. Twist until everything is tight
I would hold the lath in place and drill all of my holes then insert all of my staples before going to the other side to secure them.  I usually did three sets on longer pieces and at least two on shorter runs.

One trick I used was to sneak my fingers through and pinch the wire together so the lath didn't fall off when I switched sides. If you do this you can often place a couple of boards before securing them.

Step 4: Cleanup

Now clip off the excess wire on each of the ends.  Once they re all cleaned up, bend over the end with the hammer so that you don't scrape yourself.

When I did the first section I did every step for each staple.  I would drill the two holes, bend a staple, insert it, twist it, cut and then hammer before moving on to the next one. Now you are more than welcome to do this as well, but it turns out it is much quicker to break these steps up.

All that is left to do is seal everything up and you're done!

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    4 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Look for two rubber wheels (or casters) for mounting on wood, and use U-shaped bolts to attach them to the bottom of each gate, next to where they meet...if you have large gates, the wood will increase the weight, causing them to sag. The rubber wheels support the weight and relieve the stress on your other fence hardware.
    I like this look...have been wanting something like this myself. And lattice strips are cheap!
    ; )

    Shawn Stanford
    Shawn Stanford

    8 years ago on Step 4

    The slats from cheap plastic mini-blinds work for this, too.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Good way to hide the pile of beer cans in the backyard.