Ordering parts for a fence can be daunting. The majority of returns begin during the ordering process due to improper measurements, or due to confusion in terms: What's a gate frame, what's a fence post? Why does one size not fit all? Doesn't all fencing use the same pipe size and parts? It would certainly be better if one size fit all, however, proper pre-measurements and using the diagrams and installation instructions we provide, should help you avoid getting the wrong size part for your project.
Did you know that Chain Link Fence piping isn't the same as plumbing pipe? Chain link fence pipe can be called Tubing, CQ20 or DQ40 and comes in different sizes of outside diameters. So when you are on-line about to purchase new rail ends or eye tops, understand that the fence was probably constructed of Tubing, CQ20 or DQ40 pipe. So, if you repaired or replaced fence top rail and posts and didn't purchase fence pipe, you will need to re-measure the pipe or post to match up. Chain Link pipe is measured by the "Outside Diameter" of the pipe, where household plumbing pipe is measured by the "inside." Does that mean you can't use a pipe you found with your fencing? No, it just means you need to measure differently. All chain link fencing is measured by "Outside" or across the pipe, not around or by circumference. Measure across the end of the pipe or on the outside of the pipe using a caliper.
Same with simple items like fork latches. When we say the latch will attach or clamp to a 1-3/8" Gate Frame, those measurements are based on Chain Link Fence pipes. A lot of times you will see where the latch fork can be used with a 1-7/8" fence post. You may also see another dimension inside of a caption (2") - Simply put, a 1-7/8" fork latch is designed on outside diameters of the fence post with the inside of the fork being 2". That does not mean a 1-7/8" fork can be used if the fence post exceeds 1-7/8". Also, all latches attach to the gate frame and the fork wraps the fence post . . . not the other way around. Get those two measurements backwards and the latch will definitely not fit correctly.
Items like eye tops, rail ends and post caps are designed to fit over the pipe. A 1-3/8" post cap will fit over the fence post, not inside. So, you measure the outside diameter of the fence post (1-5/8") you want to purchase a 1-5/8" post cap and install over the end of the post. If you are installing a top rail on your fence, you not only need to measure the outside diameter of the top rail but also the outside diameter of the fence post too. You could have a 1-5/8" top rail and a 1-7/8" fence post so it's important to pre-measure both.
We strive to provide as much detail in our descriptions and examples to assist you in getting the correct part, the first time without issues. Our recommendations come from many years experience installing fencing here in our area. You are welcome to call our CSR's at 406-752-5253 or chat on our web site. We are here to help.