Help!!! loose fence

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Old 08-12-08, 03:57 PM
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Help!!! loose fence

I moved into a house and it had a really nice 42" picket fence. The posts were 6' post so 2' under ground 4' above. But he didn't set them into anything but dirt, no concrete or gravel. Here in NW Ohio it has been pretty dry lately and the post are becoming extremely loose and they can wiggle at least 6-8 inches in either direction. There are about 30 posts and I don't really want to pull all the posts and re build the fence. what is going to be the best thing to do in order to stiffen up the posts???? Also some of the treated 2x4's that cross between the post and hold the pickets have a lot of bow (SP?) to them. but only a few (maybe 10 -15) out of at least 60 2x4's. Should I just replace these and hope that the new ones wont do the same thing or is there a trick out there to keep them straight? Thanks in advance for the help
 
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Old 08-12-08, 05:22 PM
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I would dig around the posts with a post hole digger and pour some ready mix.

Is the bow in the cross pieces causing any problems. I don't think I would replace them. I might add some.
 
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Old 08-13-08, 01:14 PM
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Any other ideas? I really would like to avoid concrete if I could, it is pretty expense at like $5 a bag, 1 bag or more per post, and 30 posts comes out to $150 I was really hoping for a cheaper solution.
 
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Old 08-13-08, 07:02 PM
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I don't think that you're going to dig that much where you'll use an entire bag per post.
 
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Old 08-14-08, 06:13 PM
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If you dont want concrete, I would suggest driving some P/T 2x4's down against the posts and pack dirt around them as well. This will not last forever, but should be ok for some time.

I've done this before on a couple posts years ago, and they are still in good shape.
 
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Old 08-18-08, 08:11 AM
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VTX1300C;

FYI,

Concrete is available in other choices than buying bags in lumber yards. disregarding this case scenario, if you ever wanted to use cement, you can always go to a mason yard, purchase 1/2 yard of concrete sand and two bags of Portland concrete mix and you would be able to mix a significant amount of cement for less money.
Many people mix it different ways, but in the course of work I can shovel about 17 full heaping shovels of sand and 1/2 bag of Portland cement together into one mix. The half yard and the two bags would yield about 4 very full wheel barrows of cement.
Using those same type of wheel barrows you would probably need about 5- 80lb bags per barrow... totaling 20 bags @$5 each... OK , $100 verses about $50.00
Spending only $50 takes more work, but on larger scale jobs it is well worth the effort.

In regards to your problem..

Considering your soil is very dry , I would use soil to tamp your posts in. Putting up a string line so that you maintain a fairly straight fence line.
The string line should be where ever it has a clear path without hanging up on a bush.
I would gather some soil from other areas of the yard... where ever there is too much... take that soil and place nearest to the posts that need firming up... Tamp down next to the post.
Start tamping in line with the fence... The fence being nailed to the post will help keep the post in line without moving.
Do not hit the post as that may move its base. Tamp down with good hard strokes. You should tamp all the way around the post in even strokes...
***Do not tamp one side, then another , and then another. You should "Criss cross" much like changing a flat tire we criss cross while tightening the lug nuts. Doing this will help assure that your post is not being pushed one way verse the other. It also assures the post will get a very good packing in.
Keep in mind that when you are tamping the post,on the outside and the inside you should be using a level to assure the post is standing level, or as close to level as possible, while maintaining the closeness to the string line. This assures your fence line maintaining a straight line.
There is no real need to put the level on the sides of the post unless you choose to remove the fence panels from the post . That would be a whole other type of job... And as you already stated, you do not want to remove and reinstall.
That , I assure you would be a lot of work.
BTW;
If you do not have any loose soil around your yard, I would suggest having it delivered. If you use top soil, it costs more... If you use a second grade of soil, it would cost less. If the fence is in an area where it is nearest to grass, you may want to use a soil gravel mix. Gravel has great tamping qualities. If you have some gravel laying around , tamp with that and top off the area with top soil for seeding..

As for cement, you can do that too.. But even if you use cement, You must tamp the loose soil nearest to post to hold the post level, and in place for the cement to set the post in the correct place.

If you have any further questions, feel free to drop in and ask away.

Greg~
 

Last edited by GregsFence; 08-18-08 at 08:13 AM. Reason: spelling blunder
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Old 08-18-08, 08:29 AM
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Opps , almost forgot

Opps,

Sorry , I almost forgot... Thankfully I went back to check my spelling.

Ok , the bowed rails.

If the bowed rails are all on the bottom of the fence, I would add new rails onto the fence all the way around the yard.
This would help keep the fence uniform looking.
This would also help the other sections that have not bowed yet from bowing later down the line.
If the rails that have bowed already are both the top, bottom or even the mid rail if there is one... I would suggest just to determine which are the worst and add to those sections.
Uniform would not much matter as having a bowed rail at mid eye level ,,, well , either way the look is going to drive you nuts every time you see it . Or it would me ... But , I am the fence guy ... I do this for a living ... and seeing bowed rails or a post off level would drive me to the cliff. lol

Anyway , whatever rails you add.. I would certainly screw in, or nail with two screws or nails side by side on the width of the picket . This will help keep the pickets from twisting as well . Plus it helps to keep the fence secure over the years.

Oh, and, I would think it would be better to level and tamp your posts before working on the rails.
After you are done with the rails, then go back to retamp your posts again. You would not have to go crazy when retamping... It would just be like checking those lug nuts to make sure they are on good.

Have fun .... You have a lot of work in front of you ... it is not hard work... It is just a lot of work..
 
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Old 09-02-08, 03:09 PM
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Thanks for the replies, I think I'm going to try digging out a bit of dirt around them and tamping it down, then taking and adding gravel and tamping it around. If I used concrete then I think the ground would of just separated from it leaving me with almost the same problem (except the post would be a little more stable because of the increased surface area with the ground and the extra weight at the bottom). As for the rails I think I will just replace the bowed ones for now and then replace more if they continue to bow.
 
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