Twisted fence posts

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Old 09-05-09, 06:04 PM
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Unhappy Twisted fence posts

Last year, I installed a pressure treated wood fence with 4"x4" posts set in concrete. Over the summer, the sun has caused the posts to twist. They're fine at ground level, but towards the top, they've twisted to the point that its thrown the whole gate out of whack. I'm half expecting to have to dig the whole thing up and start from scratch with 6"x6" posts but I'm hoping someone out there might have a solution that'll be easier on my back! Thanks.
 
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Old 09-05-09, 06:14 PM
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Wood WAS a living thing before it was cut..and remains that way afterwards. Unless it's excessive..I would leave it alone and adust as necessary.

Be advised..any adjustments may change when the weather becomes cold and dry vs hot and wet...
Is there anything you can really do about it? I doubt it....sealers and such can only do so much.

Its the nature of wood exposed to the elements.
 
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Old 09-05-09, 08:47 PM
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A lot of the issues with a fence post twisting comes from the type of installation as well as the conditions of which the post is exposed to. I know that one gate post twisted, but did all of the posts twist just like the gate post?

Sometimes when we buy wood posts from the larger distributing stores you would find the posts are very heavy. All that weight is the moisture that is still trapped inside the wood. Some of that moisture is the process of pressure treating that has never been fully cured. Some of that moisture is just the moisture of the wood itself.

If a very wet post was laid to dry out on a flat table , more than likely that post would stay as straight as it looks while being stored inside the lumber yard.
Given the different circumstances of which you put the post in a base of concrete, the post in the concrete could not go anywhere because the concrete held it from doing anything. The fact that you mentioned the gate post is not that out of the ordinary. That post, unlike the others has no adjoining section to hold it back. That post is the last on the line... one section of wood tied into one side, the other side left to do whatever it wants to as it dries out. Namely it moves into a direction of least resistence.

Ok , what can be done short of removing the post and starting over?

If the post is finished drying out and is no longer twisting into or out of shape, it can be repaird if the twist is not so bad.

If the gate is mounted directly onto the post I would take the gate hinges off from the post side completely.
I would shave the post to square it off again. Doing this you would be trying to give the gate hinges a flat squared off surface to sit on... then reapply your hinges and try to make the gate work.
Another option would be to switch the gate around. Swing the gate off the post that had the latch on it. Doing this will not fix the post that is twisted, but it being a latch post rather than a hinge post may be better than having a really bad swing.
If the gate post is not just twisted but is also bent .. more so like a bananna , then you are in a deeper hole as before. That being the case you may be likely to replace the post. You do not need to buy a pair of 6x6's in order to make the gate work well... Granted that 6x6 would work and look nice... But you do not have to take that step to make it work.

Pick your lumber carefully. Do not buy the heaviest of the lot. Look at the grain of the wood... Do not buy a post if the grain is running to an almost cupped look. I have found that the posts that do not bend at all are the ones where the grain is centerred, working the grain out more or less from the center out towards the sides.

Keep this in mind... Wood posts usually do not need cementing. There are applications for everything... but in most cases just tamping the post in would work fine.

Good luck.
 
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Old 09-05-09, 10:25 PM
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chezankev,

Wood is wood, and it's going to do what wood does. The PT that you installed, like Greg said, was green. As it dries, sometimes it'll stay straight, and sometimes it'll bow or twist.

Tearing out what you have there now and going to 6X6's won't make any difference -- you aren't going to be able to stop them from twisting or bowing if that's what some or all of them start to do.
 
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Old 09-06-09, 04:12 AM
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Twisted fence posts

Thanks for the advice, guys
 
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