Success with no concrete?


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Old 08-29-05, 01:11 PM
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Success with no concrete?

Any one have any success with installing a fence post without concrete?

I'm looking at a 6' privacy fence with about 3' buried. wondering if I can install posts successfully with gravel underneath and then pounding the soil in around them instead of concrete.

I know it would work fine with a smaller, picket-style fence, but this would be a 6" solid panel (proably dog ear planks) privacy fence.

I'm in chicago and subject to plenty of frost. Clayish soil.
 
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Old 08-29-05, 01:33 PM
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Success with no concrete?

With fence posts you do not hold them up, you stop them from tipping or leaning.

If you have clay, some gravel in the bottom doesn't help since the water has no place to go.

Packing the soil around the post will give you something like 75% of the reisistance of the natural soil since you cannot compact it as well as Mother Nature. Clay is harder to compact than other materials.

Resistance to tipping depends on the area (width and depth) of the post foundation. A concrete and post (steel or wood) combination is wider, so it will be harder to tip and does not depend on compaction unless you overdig the sides. A thinner post will take more depth.

A little vertical frost heaving will not hurt a fence. If you have a hole wider at the top than the bottom you will have more problems.

People have put posts in without concrete for years, but not for 6' high solid walls. Chain link and cow pasture posts are a different animal than a 6' fence.


Either way you have to dig a hole. If you don't have rock, most clays can be handled with a post hole digger or an auger. If I remember correctly, your clay in Chicago is softer and not the hard pan type. You have to get gravel since you are in clay, so why not get gravel, sand and cement in a bag? No pounding required.

Dick
 
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Old 08-29-05, 08:38 PM
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Also go outside and look to see if your soil has pulled away from your foundation from drying... i don't know your weather there as of recent. I would think that if you only use packed soil which shrinks away after a long dry spell... will be more likely to move from later wind movement. So over time it might get a bit wavy. But this is pure speculation. Just another thing to consider.
 
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Old 10-06-05, 07:17 PM
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success with no concrete?

I have installed my 4x4 8 foot beams into the ground with out the use of concrete or gravel. The only reason concrete is so efective is the hole is much larger that the post. A 10" round x 8 ft post without cement would give the same results.The cement acts like a batering ram wehn is is hit with a strong force. The more surface it has to push the stronger it is. Physics 101! I used roofing tar on the last 2.5 ft of my post to prolong the below ground rot rate but, if the beam above ground is not weather treated or polyurethaned the post will rot in ten years whether you use concrete or not. two and a half feet would require approximately 10 inches of rain in on day to bring down the pilings. If you experience that amount you probably are not going to worry about you fence.
 
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Old 10-06-05, 07:26 PM
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And I would NEVER bury wood in the dirt!! It's gonna rot, and you'll be back there in 10 to 15 years replacing it!! How often do you want to go through this exercise??

STEEL POSTS.

'Nuf said.
 
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Old 10-07-05, 06:47 AM
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while I apprecitate Leftys postion as a pro , as a homeowner 15 /20 years is a long time and chances are prety good I will be long gone by then .

No concrete seems to be the norm around here for wood , I put my fence up no concrete 1/2 about a year ago the other half this summer and it seems solid .

I watch the pro's do it as I ride around and I dont see them using concrete on wood and I have bought a couple of used fences and pulled the posts and no concrete on wood , always concrete on metal though

I used 10' 4x4 and went as deep as I could min 36" a lot at 40" +

just wanted to add I would observe , ask around and see what is working in your locale , soil type. Im in SW fl I see your in chicago , I dont deal with frost, snow freeze ect.
 
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Old 10-07-05, 07:47 AM
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I don't know how well the fence would stay up with the kind of winds we get around here. I have had posts crack off and whole sections blow down just because the little part of the post that wasn't encased in concrete but was covered with dirt rotted and weakened the post. It took my about 1.5 bags of concrete per post to set them down 4' and cement them in. It's not that much more $$, protects the post from rot and I would feel better about them holding up in our wind.
 
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Old 10-08-05, 09:06 AM
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Here in Indy our major fence companies use quickset instead of concrete. They simple tap the quickset into the hole around the fence post and wahla, no setting time. Actually say its stronger than concrete.

Call them if you like and inquire, they're called Amerifence

www.amerifence.net
 
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Old 12-17-05, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by dsfii
Here in Indy our major fence companies use quickset instead of concrete. They simple tap the quickset into the hole around the fence post and wahla, no setting time. Actually say its stronger than concrete.

Call them if you like and inquire, they're called Amerifence

www.amerifence.net

I have seen a product callet post spikes that drive into the ground with a box to contain your posts. You then bolt the posts to the box. Never used them but you could check on them. Hope this helps.
 
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Old 01-11-06, 07:07 AM
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10 to 15 years for PT to rot? Maybe if you live in a swamp. By 4x4 post treated to .60. that is the spec for ground contact. it will be good for 20+ years. As far as the Cement. Dump a bag in each hole around the post dry. Set the post and water it some. The next day put your fence up. Done it this way 100+ plus times no call backs yet......
 
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Old 01-11-06, 07:53 AM
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if you decide not to use concrete, i would be sure to use concrete at least for gate posts and corner posts. around here we use the sac-crete dry and water in method. works fine.
 
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Old 01-11-06, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by RYANINMICHIGAN
10 to 15 years for PT to rot? Maybe if you live in a swamp.
Well when I set my posts last summer I was in water after about 24"
 
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Old 01-11-06, 08:36 AM
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Around here, a fence with wood posts only stays upright for 10 to 15 years.Because of that, ALL new subdivisions that the City of Redding approves (and there are lots of them!!) require that the devolper use either masonary columns for a wood fence, or use a masonary wall.
 
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Old 01-11-06, 12:51 PM
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I suppose it does depend on where you live. Water table in Michigan is pretty deep. code is 42 inch deep holes.
 
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Old 01-11-06, 05:30 PM
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RYANINMICHIGAN,

Are you confusing water tables with frost lines???
 
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Old 01-12-06, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by mango man
Well when I set my posts last summer I was in water after about 24"

No I was responding to Mangos message about hitting water 24 inches down. Frost lines in michigna are between 36 and 40 inches water table is well below that.
 
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Old 01-20-06, 02:32 PM
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I am planning on installing some fencing this summer. What is the sac-crete water in method? I'm not familuar with it.

thanks for the tips
deacon
 
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Old 01-23-06, 02:39 AM
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Originally Posted by the deacon
What is the sac-crete water in method?
That's when you dump a bag of concrete mix into the hole around a post, pour in water, and plunge it with a spade handle until mixed "good enough". Because it's a fence post footing not a schoolhouse archway we cut corners.

***

Where I live, posts are damp and mossy around soil level for half the year (we've just had 29 days rain in the last 30 ) so a good solution is brackets set in concrete. Posts don't touch soil. Then fitting replacement cedar posts to brackets every 20 years is easy work.
 
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Old 01-23-06, 11:31 AM
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I got it, thanks. Sounds like a good short cut. Do you still measure out the appropriate amount of water or just guess it?

deacon
 
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Old 01-23-06, 03:29 PM
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Kobuchi,

Are you talking about Simpson brackets -- like PB44's CB44's, etc.? If so, you better read the Simpson catalog a bit. Tells you that they are "not designed for non-top supported structures, like fences". Guess that doesn't mean you can't use them that way as long as the fence doesn't have to pass any sort of inspection, just they aren't designed for it.
 
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Old 01-24-06, 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by the deacon
Do you still measure out the appropriate amount of water or just guess it?
Personally I mix in a container, even if that's a half-bag in a bucket. But in any case you can't go wrong just adding water while mixing, until the consistency is saturated but slightly "slumpy". That's not guessing. There's enough variation between pre-measured bags that a set addition of water only lucks on perfect saturation. The object is to get the air out without floating the ingredients apart.
Originally Posted by lefty
Simpson brackets?
No, although I've seen some awfully stubby anchors marketed explicitly for fenceposts, similar design and you're right: the wrong form for the type of strain fences put on them.

The best ones look like the letter "H" in profile; just two heavy upright straps of metal with a (not essential, but qualifies this as a manufactured product) welded cross bar to join them with a 3-1/2" gap. The upper parts of the legs should be at least 8" high and have some holes drilled through them for securing the 4x4 post, the parts that set in concrete needn't be so much.

I rather make my own, because the material is free if I drive down enough alleys (angle steel chopped off old bedframes) and I therefore can afford to make them stronger than any seller can. I use two running about 10" up opposite corners of a 4x4. I've even answered a rotten 8x8 clothesline post this way - but with much heavier material. A few times I've instead bought 1/4" thick flat strap steel - this goes on the 4x4 faces, a pair to each post. No company will promote this because it's too simple to patent and market.
 
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Old 01-24-06, 07:08 AM
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Post and concrete

I prefer the posts to be set in concrete. I use the" Superpost system." A sleeve with a bottom and top cap to prevent water, termites and soil to detereorate the wood.
 
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Old 01-30-06, 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by lefty
And I would NEVER bury wood in the dirt!! It's gonna rot, and you'll be back there in 10 to 15 years replacing it!! How often do you want to go through this exercise??

STEEL POSTS.

'Nuf said.
I agree 100%. My wood fence is 13 years old now and barely stands up. I am constantly having to repair it, and am now at the point of ripping the whole thing down and replacing it with steel posts and concrete.

Sure, you may not be in the same home 10 years from now, but if your posts are set in concrete then you could use that as a selling feature. I would MUCH rather buy a home with a good fence than one without, only having to spend a few thousand dollars because the previous owner took a short cut.
 
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Old 02-07-06, 05:04 PM
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Use 60 x 60 RHS galvanised steel posts if you can get hold of them, with 3 rails Bolted to them, set in a concrete foundation, don't waste Your time back ramming the posts, the wind will push it over in time.
 
 

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