6' Wood Fence

I am planning to install a wooden fence from the corner of my house to a neighbors fence, a distance of 28.5'. From the corner of the house I have to cross about 15' of a concrete apron. There will be a ten foot gated opening about 5' from the corner of the house. My question is: what is the best way to set the 4x4 posts in (or on) the concrete. I would prefer not to have to punch holes in the concrete for the uprights but could anchor them with steel plates and use gussets to reinforce the base of the uprights. What do you suggest? Thanking you in advance. Derek in south Florida
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I don't see a bolted plate holding up long term. Perhaps it would if you ran a support cable from the post to the wall of the house, but it would look terrible. There is going to be a lot of lateral stress on the post. One thing that would help, assuming the concrete is flat and level, is to put a wheel on the end of the gate so it takes the weight.
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A five foot wooden gate will have significant weight, and it will need a sturdy post to avoid sagging. A standard six foot fence needs a 4x4 post with at least three feet in the ground--more if possible. The rule of thumb is one third of the post underground for gates, corners, and ends. You can get by with less for the line posts if you don't have lots of side loading from wind or climbing people.
You can brace the load parallel to the fence with diagonal bracing back to the next post, but when you open the gate, the load changes to perpendicular to the fence, and braces don't help.
You _might_ be able to get by with a steel post, welded to a, say, 18" flange at the bottom, with hefty bolts sunk into the concrete; but it won't be very attractive.
Put wheels on your gates. The posts won't have to be as sturdy.
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
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You have a less than ideal situation. You would have to put very large plates on the concrete to get them to be solid, and then the mounting of the wood to the plates would be difficult to get that joint strong, too. Probably weld pipes onto the plates, then drill huge holes into the posts.
I was a steel erection contractor for nine years. Here's my take on it.
IF YOU CAN, drill and set the heaviest posts that you can. Something similar to telephone posts about 8" in diameter. If not, something like 3" x 3" x .250" wall steel tube set three feet into Sonotube. An alternative is to have diagonal supports, or right angle ones that look like framing squares coming out from the posts and anchored in the concrete, or in a post hole with concrete.
Your main problems will be: natural sag due to the wood aging, kids swinging on them, hanging hardware wandering south after a few months of rain/sun cycles, wind catching them and testing the whole assembly, and the inherent instability of the rest of the fence to act like a wet noodle when magnified over distance.
What you want is not just a plain little fence. Wood is heavy, and you go to another order of magnitude from say, chain link. What you want to do can be done, but to do it right, you will have to overengineer it. Underengineer it, and you'll wake up to a pile of junk one morning, or someone getting hurt. A ten foot opening in a wooden gate with one or two pieces is a lot of wood to mount, keep straight, and swing open and closed a lot. Wood is not the best choice because if gets loose too much. A better alternative that looks as good is making a metal frame, then bolting wood to it. Easy to change out if it rots, warps, or gets busted. Put diagonal cables in there with turnbuckles so you can adjust it when needed.
Probably not what you wanted to hear, but this thing is big enough to hurt someone, or be a disastrous failure. Do it right from the start, and it will be safer and cheaper. You'll be thanking yourself the first good storm you have.
Steve
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My girlfriends Mom and Stepdad hired a similar job done (6ft around yard and a 10ft gate opening (2 - 5 ft gates). The wind caught one gate and twisted the 4x4 so bad it was a wonder it did not break off. They called back the handyman, he screwed/bolted up the 4x4 so it barely holds. They asked me to look at it, I told them I can't fix it, it should never have been installed like that in the first place. I had them add a wheel to the gate.
You need to plant the posts in the ground (cut concrete with a saw, break,dig, and cemet). Use 6x6 wooden or 4x4 steel posts. For the gate look for a heavy steel gate that you can mount fence boards to or build with wood using metal corners supports/bracing etc. Cedar fence boards are much lighter but costs more. Use a spring loaded wheel on the gates.
Another idea is using standard gates with those plastic sleeves that slide into the fencing to create a covered look. This way you would not need such heavy posts, but you still might use the wheels.
Visit/call your local fence company and see what they say.
Cheers, Jim
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a lot of good stuff snipped

Have you considered a rolling gate? Pretty sturdy, reliable, and safe. But a little spendy.
Steve
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wheels on for support. I had also thought of making a sliding gate on wheels. I might check with fence companies but I will still do this myself with a burly friend who just lost his construction job helping me. To get the permit I will have to show the details of construction to the city building dept and have it inspected. Best wishes to y'all, Derek
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rent a cement hammer from the hardware store and make 2 holes for your posts and forget about it. Do it right and stop worrying about the drilling, good luck, henry
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wrote:

rent a cement hammer from the hardware store and make 2 holes for your posts and forget about it. Do it right and stop worrying about the drilling, good luck, henry
Lemmeesee ....... South Florida ............. don't they have humid conditions there? Yeah. Just stick wood posts in the ground. It SHOULD be okay. What could happen? The worst is that you have to redo the whole job in a couple of years, but at least you won't be worrying about it in the meantime.
Hint: Do it once, do it right.
Steve
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