Another Fence Question


Planning on putting up a fence (for privacy barrier purposes - along with some new trees, etc).
Spoke to some local fence companies. They appear to have different methods of installing the posts.
One outfit made a big deal they install their posts approx 10' into the ground.
Another outfit, only goes a few feet (6 ? I forget).
Both claimed that cement was not needed around the posts.
What is "best practice" for fence post installation? Even researching it on the web revealed conflicting methods (irrespective of local soil conditions). I'm interested in doing it right the first time.
Haven't decided if vinyl fencing or cedar fencing is the way to proceed either.
Also, if I ordered the fence parts off, say an internet business, would a local contractor supply the labor ? (I presume, they'd have no incentive to do this, but i'm curious if anyone has done it). And no, i don't have the time (or probably skill/patience) to do a DIY fence installation.
Any thoughts / opinions from those with experience on a fence project ?
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DominicSantini wrote:

No surprise there.

I'd make a big deal that they're full of shit. There could be no possible reason to dig so deep. In fact, I don't know how you'd even dig a small hole that deep without core-drilling equipment used for taking soil samples, and believe me, they're not doing that.

Okay, now it's clear that it's _your_ recollection that is faulty. You didn't say what type of fence it is, but _nobody_ sinks a fence post deeper than 3' or 4'. Most fence posts are sunk 2' - 3' depending on conditions.

Very possibly not. What type of fence, how high, what type of posts, what are your soil conditions?

You'd have to ask the local contractors. I do know that around here a lot of people wouldn't be interested. They'd look at it as you would be complicating their lives (it's possible you could order all of the parts you need with no omissions, but very possible you couldn't and they'd still have to make runs for material). You might not be able to get the materials for that much cheaper as you'd be dealing with shipping on a small load and the fence company deals wholesale on large loads. No way to be sure without asking.
Let your fingers do the walking.
R
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Sounds like they're installing a fence in a bayou. :-)
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Yeah, maybe it's one of them new "floating fences".
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In my experience you are correct about the depth of fence posts. I am also in agreement with the general tone of your post. There is a small possiblity, however, that the OP lives in a place has very unstable sandy soil or hurricane prone area. Possible but unlikely considering that OP has not returned to his post.
I will point out, however, that it is not necessary to dig holes at all to place the posts. Without digging one bit, it is possible to use a hydraulic post pounder or pile driver. Road crews use them to place posts in the ground for guard rails. Very often poles are set with no hole or with minimal holes with the use of this heavy equipment. A pounded post is supposed to be much, much, stronger than an equivalent post that is only backfilled whether with dirt or concrete.
The reason I know this is because I am actually looking into a post pounder for my fence project. It will fit on my Bobcat skidsteer and looks to be quite a labor saver. It will pound any kind of post from steel to wood. In my case I plan to auger undersized holes and then pound them. My shoulder injury prevents me form pounding posts by hand.
It works best in soft ground obviously and you tend to shatter a few posts when doing it. Some crews do it in any ground. It is done, however, and saves a lot of time and work from what I can tell.
Not many people have one except road crews and fence contractors but they are available in my area for rent and for sale. Some guys say they will never use one since it is a bit dangerous pounding on wooden posts. When one splinters yu don't want to be nearby.
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You sure he didn't mean a 10 foot post? So for a say 8 foot high fence for privacy, the post will be in the ground about 2+ feet.

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my bad, thanks to all those who have replied so far.
the property is in Ocean County, NJ.
i'm not sure how to classify the soil. it supports a lawn of kentucky blue grass.
the fence plan is for nothing fancy (just plain old cedar or vinyl panels). in other words, no wrought iron fencing (incompatible w/the privacy barrier function).
to the other poster, no, the one contractor went out of his way to explain how he puts his posts 10' under grade. so i think he'd be using a 16' piece of wood. thinking it over, i agree that it's more marketing hype than substance.
the other contractor (i don't have the quote in front of me at the moment), but i believe he said 3' under grade (depth of the post).
i just want to be better prepared to separate the BS contractors from the ones with a legitimate plan that will conform to solid engineering practices.
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DominicSantini wrote:

The 10' deep contractor - either you misunderstood the whole time he was going out of his way to explain it to you, or he thought you were _really_ stupid. The difference in strength/stability between a post sunk 3' in the ground and one sunk 10' is on the order of 2%. There's no benefit and a shit load more work.
Tell you what. Ask to visit one of his job sites so you can see them dig a 10' deep fence post hole. Post pictures.*
R
* I won't be holding my breath.
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Yes, but if you SAY you're going to make the holes ten feet deep, can't you give a MUCH higher bid? After all, you'd have to bring in a caisson drilling rig to make a straight hole that deep, wouldn't you?
At least, that's what the Gypsies told me when they bid MY fence job.
Steve ;-)
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wrote in message | >> > > Any thoughts / opinions from those with experience on | >> > > a fence project ? | >> | >> | >> my bad, thanks to all those who have replied so far. | >> | >> the property is in Ocean County, NJ. | >> | >> i'm not sure how to classify the soil. it supports a | >> lawn of kentucky blue grass. | >> | >> the fence plan is for nothing fancy (just plain old | >> cedar or vinyl panels). in other words, no wrought iron | >> fencing (incompatible w/the privacy barrier function). | >> | >> to the other poster, no, the one contractor went out | >> of his way to explain how he puts his posts 10' under | >> grade. so i think he'd be using a 16' piece of wood. | >> thinking it over, i agree that it's more marketing hype | >> than substance. | >> | >> the other contractor (i don't have the quote in front | >> of me at the moment), but i believe he said 3' under | >> grade (depth of the post). | >> | >> i just want to be better prepared to separate the | >> BS contractors from the ones with a legitimate plan | >> that will conform to solid engineering practices. | > | >The 10' deep contractor - either you misunderstood the whole time he | >was going out of his way to explain it to you, or he thought you were | >_really_ stupid. The difference in strength/stability between a post | >sunk 3' in the ground and one sunk 10' is on the order of 2%. There's | >no benefit and a shit load more work. | > | >Tell you what. Ask to visit one of his job sites so you can see them | >dig a 10' deep fence post hole. Post pictures.*
| | I don't know much about fences, but I'd like to see the 16 foot fence | posts. Sound expensive.
they are called " telephone poles" put your name on the list at your local town hall. they will give them to you for free as they come available.
| || | >Retardo | > | >* I won't be holding my breath.
I wish you would for about 20 minutes. |
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At five bucks a piece, you could build a really cheap stockade.
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Michael Bulatovich wrote:

You Canadians! Always thinking of life on the frontier.
BTW, when's my next shipment of beaver pelt coming in? ;)
R
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wrote in message

Bob: Hark! A Yankee calls from beyond the stockade! Doug: Whady say? Bob: Dunno. The STC rating of these telephone poles is awesome, eh?
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wrote in message

The next time you go to Hooters, that's when.
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It's not the post availability that's ridiculous, or expensive. It's the holes.
--


MichaelB
www.michaelbulatovich.ca
  Click to see the full signature.
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I would imagine that it would take some special drilling rig to make a true vertical hole ten feet deep. Last post hole digger I saw was less than six feet, and the longest spoon shovel I have seen is about eight. (a spoon shovel is a special shovel designed to reach and retrieve the dirt that falls to the bottom of a drilled hole) Such drill rigs are expensive to rent, and take up a lot of space. Not something you can just get in and out of your back yard unless it's new construction and there's nothing there yet.
Steve
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I confess to not having check the local yard of 16-footers, but the hole thing is just silly.
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My neighbor originally build a cedar fence. Ended up replacing it about seven years later as it started falling over. When to vinyl. The original fence was not cemented in, the vinyl is and has moved very little. Vinyl looks good around a pool, and he extended his into the ground using 4x4 ties to keep his dog from getting out.
My fence is only a chain link, bit all the posts are cemented in. Been hit by a back hoe and a tree-trimming truck. The problem areas are the gates, they will all sag eventually (posts bend, but the concrete is still holding tight.)
Don't be too fast to reject the company that wants to embed the posts 10 ft. into the ground. A solid fence takes a lot of load from wind, and the better the anchorage, the better it will survive. (It all comes down to cost of course.) Consider this, if you do a cheap job, you can count on replacing it in a decade like my neighbor did.
One disadvantage that vinyl has over wood is that it will stain from iron in the water when lawn-sprinklering. Of-course that can be washed off with Bar Keepers Friend, but on thing more to consider (esp. if you go with white like my neighbor.)
What I would do is walk around the neighborhood and talk to folks who have had a fence up for many years. Ask if the posts were cemented in, and how deep they were set. Could be an excellent source of common sense for your particular area.
Dennis

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My next door neighbor has a cedar fence that didn't start falling over until it was about 20 to 22 years old.
There is nothing wrong with cedar, and is pretty impervious to insects iiuc.
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wrote: | | >My neighbor originally build a cedar fence. Ended up replacing it about | >seven years later as it started falling over. | | My next door neighbor has a cedar fence that didn't start falling over | until it was about 20 to 22 years old. | | There is nothing wrong with cedar, and is pretty impervious to insects | iiuc. |
with the price of cedar these days. I would use mahogany
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