Fence Post Question??

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Just a quick question about installing fence posts. We would like to have a 6 foot high, Cedar wooden stockade fence installed in our yard. My question is, when putting in the fence posts for the wooden fence, do the fence posts HAVE to be set in concrete? I know that most fence companies do set the fence posts in concrete, about 2-3 feet below the frost line.
I have read many mixed reviews about setting posts in concrete, because when the posts rot out, it is a backbreaking effort to replace them because you have to dig out and lift up the heavy concrete.
I have read, as well as heard from people, that it's actually better to put the posts in a couple inches of 1 and 1/2 inch crushed rock or gravel.
So, do you have to have the posts put in concrete, or can we opt. to go with the crushed rock or gravel?
Thanks!
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On Sep 14, 9:19 am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

Concrete is not mandatory provided the posts are long enough.
R
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Thanks! Yeah, just go to google and search "putting fence posts in concrete", and there are plenty of horror stories out there, about trying to remove an old fence post that has been set in 20 year old concrete! One of the neighbors on my street had to remove a broken fence post that was set in concrete. It took him and 2 other guys OVER AN HOUR to dig out the concrete, so that they could put in a new fence post. Made a HUGE mess too! Thats why I was asking if it is absolutely necessary to set fence posts in concrete.
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MICHELLE H. wrote the following:

As I mentioned in this group in a message in the past, the fence company that put up my 6' high x 8' long wooden fence placed the posts directly in the dirt without concrete, except for the corner posts and the posts that were to hang gates and doors. The 4"x4" PT posts were buried 4' into the ground and have been standing since 1986, although I did replace the deteriorating wood panels between the posts 3 years ago. None of the posts had to be moved.
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
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If you have a fence post that has lasted for 20 years, then you have to replace it...;......... Not a bad deal!! Three guys and OVER AN HOUR ???. How inept can you be ( or how many beers were involved ?)
Bill

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On Sep 14, 9:08 am, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

Hmmp! Why remove the old concrete? Dig a new hole beside it, set a new post, replace the 8' fence rails with 9' ones on the longer side, and cut the rails on the shorter side to fit. Your fence boards will still cover the same area. You won't see the difference on your side of the fence and only one neighbor "might" make a comment.
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Tough to do for the corner post.
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From my experience, I would rather go ahead and put the post in concrete. I feel it give better support to the fence. I also don't use the type of concrete mx where the dry material is poured into the hole and then water is poured on top. I like to mix my concrete first before pouring it in the hole. This way I know without any doubt that the concrete is going to set up properly. I've had some guys use the dry mix method, and when the pole had to removed a few years later, not all of the dry mix had set up properly. Still dry after a fw years.
Robin
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On 9/14/2011 9:38 AM, RicodJour wrote:

Around here, most fence companies only use concrete (if at all) for end posts, corners, and gate posts. (IMHO, a gate that is used a lot should have a concrete pad under it to keep the posts parallel, and avoid mudholes developing in the ruts.) Depends a lot on soil conditions. If concrete is called for, the post should NOT sit in a concrete pocket, which keeps it wet all the time. It should set on several inches of gravel with tamped gravel along the sides for another 8-10 inches, then concrete above that. Wood posts should be naturally or chemically rot-resistant material.
As to how deep- depends on local frost line and soil conditions. Around here, for typical 6 ft privacy fence, it usually looks like 8 or 9 footers coming off the truck. Taller is better, so you can clip the tops if needed, to get a straight line. Again, for ends/corners/gates, you may want more post in the ground, and/or angle braces to the next post.
Unless you are young and strong, IMHO this is work to hire out. An experienced crew makes it look easy. And their auger will be better than the one you can rent. Unless you have a strong teenager that needs a lesson, don't even think about doing more than 3-4 holes by hand- the doctor or painkiller bills will eat up any savings. Posthole digging is a lot harder and fussier work than digging a big hole with a shovel.
Usual caveats about checking local fence laws and setback requirements apply. Fence company will likely have all that data available. If this is on property line, many areas require the 'pretty' side to face out. And pay attention to sail area- the more resistance the fence offers to the wind, the deeper the posts need to be. In windy areas, alternating picket fences are popular- both sides are 'pretty', and the wind blows right through them.
--
aem sends...

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Hey!
Built my fence (203ft stick built) when I was 63.
Dug the 22 holes by hand with a post hole digger and breaker bar when needed. (No, not in one day.)
You gotta push yourself or you'll feel old.
--
Dan Espen

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On 9/14/2011 9:19 PM, snipped-for-privacy@verizon.net wrote:

And I salute you for it. But those of us who drive a desk for a living, and only have so many outside daylight hours available for projects (especially during the 5-month cold/wet/snowy season here in MI) have to pick our battles carefully.
--
aem sends...

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I've been a computer programmer since '64.

Brrr. NJ is bad enough.
--
Dan Espen

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I once raked seventeen 39 gallon bags of leaves up from the lawn in one superhuman session. I spent the next two weeks flat on my back with a ruptured disk. I've since learned to pace myself. And hire a guy with a mulching mower to suck them up!
-- Bobby G.
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

Farmers of my dad's generation put in a lot of fence for livestock. That was largely barbed wire. Well, a lot of that fencing has been taken out since a lot of farmers no longer raise livestock. I've never heard of any of that fencing being concreted in. The dirt around the posts was simply thoroughly tamped. It's time consuming. One trick is to use fill sand around the posts. Tamp it in or pour water on it to pack it. I've never tried it so can't say how well it works.
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Yeah, I actually read just that on google!! That in the old days, when farmers had livestock, they didn't have time to go around all day long and cement every single fence post into the ground, on acres and acres of their land. I read how they would just dig out a hole, put the post into it, backfill it with dirt, and then pack the dirt down real good all around the fence post.
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snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

Close, but not quite. One puts the post in position, then throws in a couple, three shovels of dirt. Tamp that thoroughly. Throw in a bit more dirt. Tamp that thoroughly. Repeat. Repeat..............until the hole around the post is filled to ground level. It takes time and work to set a post solidly. I've set a lot of posts for electrical panels in my job. I used to set them as described above. It's easier to use bags of premix concrete. I dump about half a bag of that in the hole and tamp it. Dump the remainder of the bag in and tamp that. I use a 5/8" ground rod as a tamper. It's a lot quicker but there is the cost of the premix. I use treated posts. Those should outlast me by years.
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On Wed, 14 Sep 2011 09:19:29 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

Like all things, it depends. How far down is your frost line? If it's 7-8', it's unlikely *anyone* will put fence posts down 2-3' further. What sort of soil. In sand, I'd use concrete. In clay, not so much.

To prevent them from rotting, put gravel (drainage) at the bottom of the hole. Leave the posts in 4-6" of the gravel. This will tend to keep the end of the post from sucking up water. You might want to seal the ends, too.
Replacing posts is an issue. There are some tricks that should make that a non-issue, though. Such as: use board braced against the post and at an angle to the ground. Then tie a line to the base of the post, up over this diagonal, to a come along (or 4WD truck). Pull. The diagonal board causes the post to be lifted, more or less, straight up, out of the ground.
If the posts aren't going down below the frost line, put them in sonatubes backfilled with gravel. This will tend to keep the frost from heaving them (actually, it'll let them settle back after).

At the bottoms, to prevent rot. You still need several feet of post in the ground to keep them plumb.

Gravel isn't going to work. Crushed rock?
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Yeah here is one of the links a saw where people debate whether to use concrete or not. In the middle of the page is the guy who talks about using "crushed rock" in the hole around the post, and he claims he's never had a problem.
http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid 090503185152AAhcYJi
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MICHELLE H. wrote:

Hi, Crushed rocks mixed with little bit of magic sand is VERY good. Bag of magic sand is quite a bit more expensive than ordinary sand.
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On Wed, 14 Sep 2011 11:20:24 -0400, snipped-for-privacy@webtv.net (MICHELLE H.) wrote:

That depends a *lot* on the soil. It's not likely to work well in very sandy soil. You don't even need to do that in dense clay.
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