Fence building help

I'm getting ready to build a fence around my yard. I'm looking for advice/resources about how to sink the fence posts in the ground, IE, how deep, use sand, gravel, cement, etc. Where to go for help?
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http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/posts.htm
Matthew Reed wrote:

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Matthew Reed wrote:

Depends on lots of factors.
What type of fence? 4' tall chain link takes less load than 6' solid wood privacy fence.
What's the climate? Further north has more problems with frost heave
What's the soil type? Sandy soil will give more than clay soil.
A good rule of thumb is 2' deep and 3x diameter of post. Add/subtract to accomodate for the above factors.
Checkout http://www.hometime.com/Howto/projects/fence.htm for more info.
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Wood panel fence, 6' high. I'm using 4x4x8 posts, pressure treated, ground contact. It looks like I should dig a 12" hole 2 feet deep, place posts, fill with concrete.
Any suggestions on whether I should go 8' apart versus 6'? 6' I understand gives stronger fences, is 8' apart good enough? Oh, I live in Lebanon, Oregon, mid Willamette Valley. It barely freezes in the winter, and snow is quite rare. Soil is fairly rich loam, this area used to be river bottom. Ground water level in winter rises to about 6' or so - enough that every 10 years or so our basements will start to take on water because of the high ground water. A month or so ago, the water in my well was at 9'. I'm going to take a reading today and see where it is.
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Matthew Reed wrote:

8' obviously requires less work.
6' is sturdier.
Consider the wind.
If you go with 8', pay particular attention to sagging. I'd put diagonal 2x4s to brace the top runner. Even so, the diagonal has to be cheaper and easier than 25% more posts.
Also, for me, I'd use metal posts. Cheaper, smaller holes to dig, less concrete, last longer, easier to replace, variety of brackets to attach various things.
One more trick: Buy the pickets and store them in your garage for a couple of months. Allow for plenty of air circulation to dry them out (use a fan). If you install them fresh-from-the-store, when they DO dry you'll have 1/4" (or more) gaps.
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What is customary? I have a short run of 8' spaced wood fence built by the previous owner, and it seems OK but it's not that old. I like the idea of bracing the top runner - digging 30 holes instead of 38 is 8 holes I don't have to dig, 8 batches of concrete I don't have to mix :P
How about the posts a gate will be hanging on. Any recomendations, is a 8' 4x4 buried 2 feet deep good enough, or should I got 4x6 and bury it a foot deeper to make sure it's strong enough?
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My fence man told me to always sink them in concrete, not so much for stability as rust / rot protection. Some fences like drill pipe fences would stand on their own just stuck in the ground, but the pipes would eventually rot away.
Matthew Reed wrote:

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A few thoughts:
Hole depth - 10% of the post length plus 2 feet. Works just as well for 120' power poles.
Set the bottom of the post on a stone or brick and trap the bottom of the post in gravel. This allows moisture to get away from the bottom of the post and prevents the "swimming pool" effect of pouring in concrete.
Rammed earth or concrete. Concrete is a bit easier. Shape or bevel the top of concrete to shed water away from the post.
Cap or bevel cut the top of posts to prevent water damage.
______________________________ Keep the whole world singing . . . . DanG (remove the sevens) snipped-for-privacy@7cox.net
"Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote in message

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I didn't know the 10% plus 2 feet rule...........and I never thought about beveling the top of concrete. That was excellent. That's sort of like turning the slot of a screw vertical so the water will drain and the dust fall out rather than accumulate.
Thanks, Randy R. Cox
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"Matthew Reed" <nospam at zootal dot com nospam> wrote in message

Remember if it floats in water on top the ground; it will float in water below the ground. If your posts are wood then they will tend to float out of the hole in time if you don't concrete them in. If they are untreated, then I paint them with a little asphalt roofing cement to help prevent rot. If you use wood, concrete them in.
If you have metal posts, you may dig the holes with a post hole digger, or you may drive them in with a pile driver. What is a pile driver? It is a length of pipe with a larger ID than the OD of the post. You can put a cap on the end, weld a weight like a sledge hammer or just use the weight of the pipe itself. You place the post pipe where you want it, plumb it, then sleeve the top of it with the pile driver. Lift up! Pull down! Lift up! Pull down. Keep both hands on the pile driver , and keep your body away from the juncture of the top of the post and the bottom of the pile driver. Some people lose fingers; others lose chest or belly flesh at the pinch point. Adjust the plumb as you go, then repeat until the top of the post is where you want it. It is a rhythmic process so stay alert about those body parts.
Run a string line from a stake in the ground a foot or two foot away from the edge of the first post to a similar point relative to the last post at the end of the line of posts. Keep the string line down low and out of your way as you drive posts or dig holes. Make sure you start all posts at exactly the same distance from that string line. If you are digging holes and setting in concrete, keep a sledge hammer, tape measure, and level handy to tap these posts to exactly the right place before the concrete sets up. It takes a LARGE sledge hammer to adjust those posts after the concrete is dry.
Randy R. Cox
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