Using concrete on 6' fence posts


Old 07-30-08, 12:20 PM
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Question Using concrete on 6' fence posts

I am rebuilding the fence between my neightbor and I and have a few questions.

I am digging my holes to about 24-30" deep with some gravel in the bottom and about 1.5 - 2 bags of concrete. My question is do I need to pour concrete to be level with the surrounding surface of the dirt? For the firsts to posts I poured concrete so that when I slope the concrete to the post (to help water drain from post) the area where the post and concrete meet is above ground. Is it necessay? I just set the post for my gate in the ground with 2.5 bags of concrete, but the slope of the concrete is below the surroundsing surface level (a few inches). Can I just back fill with dirt or do I need to get the concrete a little higher to help prevent rot? The posts are pressure treated lumber.

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Old 07-30-08, 08:02 PM
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I've done a lot of stockade fences with pressure treated posts. We never used gravel or cement. Where I live, we need to go 3' deep to pass the frost line. As long as we did that, there was no problem.

The only time we used cement was with the PVC posts.
Old 07-31-08, 07:15 PM
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We've always used gravel and concrete. It's just a sturdier installation.
Old 07-31-08, 08:18 PM
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I have built alot of fence. I have tried it with cement above the ground and below, with treated post. It didn't make any difference. They both rotted in about the same time frame.
Old 08-01-08, 10:46 AM
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Consider me one of the sheep...I'm using concrete because everyone I know does. Some places say to get the concrete above ground (what the previous owner did) but then you have the unsightliness of concrete blobs under the fence.

Thanks for the input...if the concrete ends up being below ground and its sturdy....DONE.
Old 08-01-08, 11:18 AM
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I saw this post a day or two ago, and for the most part I really wanted to read what everyone elses opinion was on it before I spoke my mind.
For so many years of working for another company I have was told that only "on spec" jobs was it neccesary to round off the tops of the cement to let the water drain away from the post.And even then , that was mostly in heavy duty chain link fences with posts as small as 3" diameter up to 6 5/8" diameter ...
In the years of being in business myself, I do not take on such massive commercial work that I need to set such bases, so I think I have done that type of job only a few times in the last decade.
Bringing cement to the top of the soil level makes it harder for the bottom of the post to look natural with the rest of the ground. If you have grass, you would want the grass to go right up to the post,,, it just looks better that way. If you have a mow strip to keep the grass or soil away from your fence, still , you would want that area to be as uniform as possible.
In my opinion, and this is just an opinion ...I think that keeping the cement bases above ground looks unsightly . So with that , I would say it is better looking to keep the cement about 2" below grade. At least then you can put a small amount of soil next to the post and still grow your grass around the post. Or again , if you chose to have a mow strip, you can still have your mulch or decorative rocks next to the post without building the area nearest to the posts up higher than the rest of the area.

As for the post weakening from either water damage or dry rot... that , is inevitable regardless of what you do.

In regards to the gravel in the bases of the holes... Good idea. It does manage to keep the water away from the bottom of the posts... I have made several personal notes to myself that when I pull posts that have gravel bases, typically those posts are in much better shape than their match without gravel bases... Still , lets remember they all came down at some point. Just because you do something to make the posts last forever, , the fences themselves will not last as long as the posts.

Good luck !

Old 08-01-08, 03:19 PM
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I gave up putting wood in the ground a long time ago. I got tired of replacing my fences every 10 to 12 years because the posts rotted. Didn't seem to matter what was used for a post (cedar, redwood, PT) or whether the concrete was above or below grade. I look at all of the wood fences in my neighborhood and the oldest one is about 15 years old and in need of replacement.

I went to slump block columns for my fence posts. A lot of money up front, but they'll be here long after I'm not!!
Old 08-01-08, 03:31 PM
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Thanks again for the info. About 20 years ago my parents put some treated posts in the ground w/concrete, same area as me. They were recently dug and the concrete was broken off of them. I was amazed to see that the posts still look almost good as new. Not saying I will be so lucky, but a good sign anyways.

If I can get 10-15 years out of the posts I'll be happy. I also agree that the concrete above ground looks unsightly, so because it doesn't seem to affect longevity of the post the concrete will be below grade.


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