Is your home filled with young children and pets? Perhaps you just enjoy having privacy? Either way, you may want to consider installing a fence. It is one of the first things that my husband and I did after moving to rural, Southeast Georgia. Based on that experience, the hardest part of the entire process is setting the fence posts. That’s because they have to be secured into the ground and aligned perfectly. Otherwise, your fence is apt to blow over during high, straight-line winds or appear crooked. With that said, I thought that I would go over the basics of installing one:
Create an Outline
Before attempting to install the posts, you’ll want to grab at least a 50-foot tape measure, two dozen wooden stakes, a level and a chalk line. If you don’t have a chalk line, a roll of butcher’s twine will do. Use them to create an outline for your fence. The outline should understandably be straight and level. If you opted to use twine, it should be tight and wrapped around each stake. My husband and I installed a dog-eared stockade fence on property, which was basically flat to begin with. Thus, we didn’t have a hard time creating a level surface. All we had to do was smooth out a few rough spots with a shovel and a rake.
Set the Posts
Once that was finished, we used the outline to install our posts into the ground. Essentially, there are two ways to set a fence post properly. Both methods involve concrete. The difference between the methods rests with how the concrete is used and where the post rests. The first method involves installing the post into the ground itself. The second method involves using a footer and installing the post above the ground.
My husband and I opted for the below ground method because of where we live. The area is prone to straight-line winds, sudden storms, sandy soil, clay pockets and a high water table. Thus, installing the posts below the ground was the best way to keep them from shifting during storms.
We dug holes at all of the pre-chosen marks along our outline. We needed two posts for every panel of fence, which was about 6 feet by 8 feet. The holes’ depth was above the water line and below the frost line, which fell in the 25 to 30 inch range. Because of the terrain, we did not encounter many rocks. Thus, we were able to create the holes with a basic shovel and a post hole digger. If your area is rocky, you may want to consider using an auger instead.
When the holes were finished, we grabbed bags of Quikrete, our garden hose, a tamper and our fence posts. Next, we poured the Quikrete into one hole until it settled just above the frost line. Then we stuck a post into the hole and leveled it. Once it was level, we added more concrete until the hole was completely filled in. Afterward, we used a tamper to remove the excess water and air bubbles. We also attached outrigger stakes to the post to keep it from shifting while the concrete hardened.
From there, we continued by installing the rest of the posts in the same way. Later, we finished the project by attaching the panels and installing a gate.
Source: Personal Experience
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