I guess their life depends on where you live. I've seen 'Metpost' type
things rust away in a very few years. We live by the sea and there's a
lot of salt in the air blown in on the winter gales. Get galvanised
ones, at least, but I have little faith in galvanised anything these
days; the galvanising is never thick enough. My wooden posts set in
Postmix have lasted twelve years so far with no sign of rotting, but
as Harry suggests, I think I'd go for concrete stubs set in concrete
and bolt the wooden posts to them, next time, or even whole concrete
IIRC, my Metposts were about 22" long overall. When whacking them in, I
temporarily inserted a short length of old fence post, which was a slack
fit in the top end. In difficult soils (lots of stones etc) and
situations, it might be useful first to make a pilot hole using a steel
bar or pipe.
You need to protect the metpost metal work as you drive it otherwise
the socket lip gets distorted. Short length of timber off a post
will work for a couple but will soon get damaged. Tools for the job
are available. eg.
I have had mixed success with metposts in chalky stony ground finding
that the spike gets diverted easily which makes getting a vertical
post akward, upon removing and trying again the spikes were found too
be bent . My mother had a bolted to concrete one which got fractured
by the fencing rocking back and forth in a windy location, installed
by the house builder I would not have used one it that locatiion and
it has since been replaced. Where there is a large wind loading I
don't think the sockets are deep enough for tall posts and would want
someting holding more than about 12 to 15 inches of post.
About 80/100cm long, about 1/3 buried in the ground.
Available at Wickes & B&Q - one does shorter square ones, the other
longer and more rectangular. I mention this as, in doing a corner with
the two other gardens being 2 foot lower, I wanted a deeper hole for
I had one post rot off at the base so it was only held up by the panels
either side. Without detaching the panels, I dug down, managed to break
up the concrete my side of things, drop a spur in, attached it to the
post, and postcreted it back in place.
Where are we going and why am I in this handbasket?
Okay, now for an update since this morning:
First, I test-dug a hole a little way from the fence (I can always
fill it in later). Given that this is Lincolnshire Fen soil, it seems
~very~ easy to work with. Compacted, certainly, but just a bit of
thrusting with the chisel end of a crowbar loosened the top inch. Then
I "dug" out the loose soil with a Dutch hoe (the flat kind). I was
able to get down to about 6 inches in no time at all. Deeper than that
is really not possible with the hoe, so I've ordered a post shovel
Then I went shopping and popped into a DIY place in Spalding (Andrews,
in case anyone is interested) and had a look around. They had quite a
wide range of posts and Metposts. The Metposts come in at least three
different varieties: Traditional spike; concrete in place (not a
spike, but an extension of about a foot below the "box" for the post);
and bolt-down ones (flat plate with a hole at each corner and
post-holding "box" welded thereto).
So again I have lots of food for thought, and in the meantime I
ordered one of those Spear & Jackson post-shovels from Amazon. I
reckon I can get down to the required 3 feet using the crowbar and the
shovel, possibly also sticking my hand down and scraping out the soil
if necessary. Actually, if I used one of those concrete-in Metpost
stubs, I would need to go down as far as 3 feet.
It might seem a bit excessive buying a 27 quid tool just for one post,
but I'm sure it'll come in handy for other jobs. For instance,
installing a sturdy washing line, or fixing a wooden bench to the lawn
to stop would-be thieves.
Yep! I thought of that one, too! (Well, not the foam. Did you mean the
expanding foam? But the concrete spur idea sounds good.)
Actually on closer inspection this morning I am more than ever
convinced that the post ISN'T rotted away, but is has just worked
loose due to (a) it's a rather long stretch of fence with just this
one post (the next post along is roughly 8 feet away), and (b) here in
the Fens it is regularly very windy, so that fences are always being
thrust back and forth.
I went round all the other fence posts (a dozen of 'em) and all the
others are as solid as on the day I moved in ten years ago.
My post shovel arrived today already, so I can go back to the
post-fixing job tomorrow.
Re your comment about "very weak cement/gravel
mix", is the ready-mixed post-fix cement mixture in bags sold at DIY
Or should I just buy some plain cement and some gravel? What
proportion should the mix of these be, do you reckon?
Yes, buy the cement and (fine) gravel separately. I've never used it for
posts, but it was on this group I first saw it mentioned. My guess would
be around 8 gravel: 1 cement by volume. A quick Google suggests just pea
gravel alone could work if rammed down sufficiently. Any farmers out there?
On Friday, October 31, 2014 5:47:12 PM UTC, MM wrote:
I have some expertise in this field both professionally and practically. P
rofessionally, post rot at the interface between anaerobic conditions below
ground and aerobic above ie at or near the ground line. There is good rese
arch evidence (Ed Baines ICST PhD thesis) that N salts wicking from ground
water to just above the ground level (evaporation) enhances the decay. Pra
ctically speaking, the best solution I have found is to put in a concrete s
pur (OK it looks sh*t ) and bolt the old post to it. If you do not like th
at and insist on timber then use an auger alongside the existing post and b
olt or screw to it but cover the post you are putting in in bitumen paint t
hen polythene up to just above ground level and make sure the polythene top
is mastic covered to prevent rain coming in. this will protect against fun
gi and water to a certain extent. If you drypack the hole with waterproofe
d concrete (2"all round including the bottom) that will help enormously. I
t is critical not to cut the preserved envelope of wood at the bottom of t
he stake by sharpening it or the like.
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