Gravel in vinyl fence post holes? Any tips?

I'm starting my new project, a 6 foot vinyl privacy fence. a lot of online resources recommend putting gravel into the holes (6 inches worth). Is this really necessary? i figured with a wood fence it would be to prevent rotting. But was wondering if placing them directly in the concrete was bad... seeing as how they're vinyl. i'm in norfolk, va. if climate is a factor.
I don't plan on putting 4x4s down the center of the posts, only at the gate.
also, any tips? I was planning on putting the corners in first, then tying a string corner to corner - then staking out where the posts should go. I was going to do dig all the holes, but do 2 posts/panel at a time to reduce the risk of error. (instead of all the posts at once, which i'm sure i'd screw up).
Thanks for the help everyone!
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"RedDwarf" wrote

I'm in same area. Welcome Neighbor!
Yes, you can just concrete them for the vinyl parts. Any wood posts will need the gravel though.

Get a few simple metal stakes. Mark the post positions by just laying them on the ground where you want them, then put a stake marker. Run your string along that (so you get it all in evenly). Start at one corner then work panel by panel. This allows for a little 'sloppage' in measuring if at the end of the run, you have a few extra inches, or are short a few. I wouldnt actually put all corners in, til you get to that section. It's real easy to mis-measure by 2 inches and real hard to fix with vinyl fencing.
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Cool, this helps out a lot. Thanks for everyone's help!
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On Mon, 8 Dec 2008 08:45:03 -0800 (PST), RedDwarf

Gravel will give you a solid lock on the posts pretty quick if you tamp it in as you go. Dirt probably will to, depending on what you have for dirt. Just tamp it in tight while you backfill with a 2x2.
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Sand works much better and moves to reseat during and after rains.
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Something that happens to some cemented hollow posts, metal or plastic, in the midwest north is ground water fills enough of the post to cause splitting in a hard freeze. Over the years I have noted this most often in chain link fence posts. The concrete around the base doesn't appear to prevent this. In fact, most line posts just driven into the soil in the same installations are intact. There doesn't appear to be any obvious reason for this phenomenon. Perhaps new ground water forces a frozen plug upward which then will burst the post above ground. Whatever, embedding well in fresh concrete may be the technique of choice.
Joe
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