This is a somewhat different topic from my fence thread. I'm going to be
mixing concrete soon for setting fence posts. Any advice on how to mix it,
what goes in the mix, where to get the stuff from? Or any good websites on
Concrete=Aggregate(sand and gravel)+Water+portland cement
I would just use Quickcrete or any other premade concrete mix. Just
unload bag in a wheel barrel add water and mix with hoe. Just be sure
not to add to much water. The more water you add the weaker the
Unless you have a LOT of posts, the best bet for me has been to use a
product called "Sakrete" concrete mix. This is a pre-mix of Portland
cement, sand, and gravel. Come in 80# bags with mixing instructions
(how much water, etc.).
I like to mix things up in a old empty 5 gallon taping bucket, or
something like that. Easy enough to handle, but having a wheel barrow
to move things around on is especially helpful. Mix as per instructions
on the bag, pour in hole around post, true the post up, and that is it.
Available at most good hardware stores, Home Depot, Lowes, etc.
Excellent advice everyone, thanks. I'm going to set 25-30 posts, but not all
at once. I expect it to be an ongoing project for several weeks. Any
thoughts on how many holes a 80# bag will do? Or how many bags per hole? The
bags are cheap enough, and it sounds like it might be my best bet to just do
it a bag at a time.
you get about 2/3 of an 80lb bag of crete in an 18"-24" deep hole
(about 6 - 8" diameter )
or... the math would be, 60 lbs per post
I used to run my own fence and gate company, i got this thing down to a
for concrete, I used to pour one gallon of water into a 5 gallon
bucket, and top off with concrete
(that's all the hole would get.. one 5 ga buckets worth is going to be
a little more than one hole needs)
then I used a shovel to chop the mix in the bucket.. it doesnt take
much to get the mix you need...
more mixing gets done on the pour and on the stabbing.
it's also good to stab the wet concrete while you are plumbing the post
I hate setting posts anymore, it's alot of shoulder work
depending on the ground you are digging in, for 35 posts, you might
think about renting an auger.
for 40-50 bux, it is sooo worth the cost! trust me. you can drill all
the holes in one day, then set them in a couple days.
our home supply shop sells 60lb bags of concrete (perfect for one
hole)... and oh so nice on a fella's back
There are a lot of websites, but the basic mix for concrete is this:
2 parts "1/2 inch" stone or coarse gravel, 3 parts sand, 1 part
cement, and just enough water to make it workable. The sand should
not be beach sand, as the salt will mess things up.
Portland cement is available, usually in 94lb bags, at any home center
farm store. If you are making a lot of concrete, get a local sand and
company or landscape company drop off a load of each. If you are only
making a small amount (setting one or two posts) just buy the bags of
premix, otherwise you'll have a partly used bag of portland cement left
and once openned, it doesn't really keep (though I have had some luck
using a 5 gallon bucket with lid). If you are making a lot of concrete,
or renting a mixer is a good option, but it's not really needed for
only a couple
If you are using a regular square shovel and a wheelbarrow, put 4
shovels of stone, 2 shovels of portland cement, and 6 shovels of sand
the wheelbarrow, and mix while still dry. You can use the shovel to
with, but a hoe probably works better. If you don't have space to
wheelbarrow, there are also plastic mixing tubs, usually in the same
of the home center as the concrete.
If your ingredients are bone dry, they will use about 2 gallons of
they will probably already have some water in them, so start by adding
gallon and then mix thouroughly. Measure it, don't just guess with the
It can help if you make a hollow in the middle of your dry ingredients
the water, and gradually work the dry ingredients into the wetter
you mix. You should have a very dry stiff mix at this point. Add a
of the water, like maybe a quart or so. Continue to mix. From here on
the amount of water makes a huge impact on the consistency. Even a
can make a huge diffference. You're shooting for a mix about the
of canned stew--something that just pours well enough to get it where
want it, but isn't runny or soupy.
Bag mix is made the same way, but use the recommendation on the bag for
the amount of water. Again, don't add it all at once, you might not
of it, only get it wet enough to be workable.
And last but not least, rinse all your tools off right away, or you
crusty tools until you gradually (if ever) wear the concrete off of
That is a good system. For fence posts, the probably weaker concrete will
be plenty strong.
Also, I suggest you dig the holes slightly deep and put a little gravel in
the bottom. Then insert the post and add the concrete while plumbing the
post. The idea here is that water that seeps down between the post and the
concrete should drain out -- not be trapped at the bottom of the post. Such
trapped water hastens decay of the post.
I watched the "pro" fence installers and all they did was dig a fairly
shallow hole, drive the post in the dirt at the bottom until all the
tops were level and toss enough concrete in to fill the hole. I think
the only function of the concrete was to make it look sturdy, maybe
help control grass growing around the post
Hmmm. You forgot the "drink 2 beers" before "pee in hole". I might get 4
holes done. Dig hole. Drink beer. Put post in hole. drink beer. pee in hole.
And after 3-5 holes, I might stay in bed the next day and do nothing but
hate life :P
On Thu, 31 Aug 2006 13:25:40 -0700, "Ook" <Ook Don't send me any
freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin'
Are you sure you really need any concrete?
I have some wind break fences that lived through 2 hurricanes and a
half dozen close calls and they are just 4x4s in tamped dirt holes. If
you use a 2x2 and tamp the dirt back in around the post on 3 or 4"
"lifts" they get real solid right away and immovable in a year or two.
I made a nice tool with the 2x2 by knocking the corners off with a
hatchet (rounding off about 6" of it) and wrapping the "handle" part
in hockey tape.
The above poster is absolutely correct. Better yet, get some inexpensive
'pea' gravel or similar product. Place the post in the hole and while
slowly pouring the gravel around the post, give the post a small wiggle in
1) Absolutely solid post. Evey time the post moves just a little the
gravel drops down and gets tighter.
2) Posts do not rot at the ground line. Concreted posts are guaranteed to
rot right at the top of concrete. The water cannot drain away. Most posts
are rotted out within 8-10 years. At that point you have to get heavy
equipment to pull out the concrete slug along with expensive trips to the
dump for disposal.
3) Gravel is a lot cheaper and less labor intensive than concrete.
BTW, I've set tall regulation basketball posts with gravel only. Absolutely
solid with no rocking whatsoever.
It rains a lot here. Lots and lots. Soil is a bit soft, I'm afraid that
without the concrete the posts would be likely to wobble. Don't really know
for sure, as most people sink their posts in concrete. I think a post in
concrete lasts longer then a post in web muddy soil, but again I'm guessing.
Will a post in concrete last longer then a post sunk in the dirt? What is
the life expectancy of a post in dirt or concrete? I'm using 4x4 pressure
treated, ground contact rated.
On Thu, 31 Aug 2006 22:02:24 -0700, "Ook" <Ook Don't send me any
freakin' spam at zootal dot com delete the Don't send me any freakin'
Rains a lot here too (SW Florida). My soil is basically fine sand and
it holds a post just fine., The other poster pointed out that you can
firm it up with gravel but I would try the dirt first. "Mud" implies
clay and that will pack in very tight.
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