Fence Post Problem


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Old 03-19-06, 11:29 AM
S
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Fence Post Problem

I had a fence post that was leaning badly, and I was unable to correct it - it was not rotted, but it wouldn't budge either. So, I dug it out (leaving a big hole, of course) and decided to put in a new pressure treated post - maybe I should have just corrected the lean and put in more concrete or packed in more dirt, but I didn't. Anyway, I put in the post with a concrete form and packed in more dirt and let it sit overnight. However, by the next day the concrete was fine, but the ground around the form gave way a little as I tugged on the post. I did pack the dirt firmly as I could. So, any ideas on what I can do to fix this the right way? The ground is heavy clay and it is really soaked at the moment from all the rain here in California.

Thanks for any help.
 
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Old 03-19-06, 01:19 PM
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Fence Post Problem

Clay is next to worthless as a reliable building material. You saw that when it got wet.

Since you cannot get rid of the clay, you will need a wider and deeper foundation for your post. Dig a wider and deeper hole. Put in a Sonotube (treated cardboard form available at a big box). Fill around it with a good gravel and compact it. Put in the post and align it. Pour concrete in the form and let it sit a couple of days. You could compact after pouring, but usually a tube is strong enough to permit compacting around it.

The Sonotubes are available in many sizes and can be cut to length. You can strip off the cardboard from the cured concrete if you don't like the looks of anything exposed. Your DIY labor is free and concrete is much cheaper than doing it over again. Corner posts and gates need more support than line posts.

You know what did not work, so that can be a guide as far as what to do to make it work.

Dick
 
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Old 03-19-06, 06:39 PM
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Thanks for the suggestion. I did use the tube and concrete, but I compacted around the tube with the clay soil - would it be possible for me to dig the soil out and compact with gravel, or should I just start all over again from scratch? I do want to do it right, and I will most likely have to do this again with other posts in the future.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 03-19-06, 07:22 PM
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Fence Post Problem

You are closer to the problem than me. The clay you put is difficult, if not impossible to compact. Clay is very deceiving - it appears to be very soild, but it melts and it is difficult to compact well under any conditions.

The clay around your fence post is not doing much good and it will have perfect conditions and a long time for it to improve. If it was me and only one or two posts, I would jerk them out and do it right using good material for backfilling the hole.

Dick
 
 

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