DNA damage causes checkpoint activation leading to cell cycle arrest and repair, during which the chromatin structure is disrupted. The mechanisms whereby chromatin structure and cell cycle progression are restored after DNA repair are largely unknown. We show that chromatin reassembly following double-strand break (DSB) repair requires the histone chaperone Asf1 and that absence of Asf1 causes cell death, as cells are unable to recover from the DNA damage checkpoint. We find that Asf1 contributes toward chromatin assembly after DSB repair by promoting acetylation of free histone H3 on lysine 56 (K56) via the histone acetyl transferase Rtt109. Mimicking acetylation of K56 bypasses the requirement for Asf1 for chromatin reassembly and checkpoint recovery, whereas mutations that prevent K56 acetylation block chromatin reassembly after repair. These results indicate that restoration of the chromatin following DSB repair is driven by acetylated H3 K56 and that this is a signal for the completion of repair.