Question about slightly off level fence posts

Old 07-15-13, 07:00 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 1
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question about slightly off level fence posts

I am building a 6' privacy fence, and have set my 6x6 posts. The corner posts are perfectly straight, and all posts are in a straight line, however, a couple of the posts are off level about 1 1/2-2 inches from top to bottom, but they are off level the direction the fence is running. For example, the section running East/West, one post has a slight lean to the West.

Is this a concern? Or if I simply make both rails the same length and force the top rail in to straighten the post (similar to using spacers when dealing with a warped joist on a deck) will that be fine?

For example, the distance between the bases of two of the posts are 75 3/4", but due to the lean, the top is just over 74" between them. Can I just make my rails 75 3/4" to fit perfectly at the bottom, then force the post straight with the top rail? Or will that affect the durability of the fence?

Thanks for any help!
Old 07-16-13, 08:20 PM
Temporarily Suspended
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: NY
Posts: 10,982
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You mean out of plumb, not level. It won't affect the durability but what's the problem w/ making it straight?
Old 08-06-13, 05:31 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Union County NJ
Posts: 437
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
If you are planning to install the fence panels on the face of the posts having the posts stay as is and installing center to center with the 1-1/2" inches off level would do no harm to the fence other than what it looks like for you, on your side of the fence. If your property is more or less a flat grade you will notice the off level posts. If your property is running down hill you may notice the off level posts less.
As for attempting to push a 6 x 6 inch post and inch and a half... My assumption would be that you would end up bowing the rail rather than the post just straightening up. I would assume the post would want to go back to its original position and the post being a 6 x 6 ... well, that is a lot of strength verses the 2 x 3 or 2 x 4 rail.

Fix... I guess it all depends on your eyesight.

In one installation of just attempting to push the top of the post with the rail you will likely have bowed rails.
In another installation of just going with the cuts to make the fence panels and the posts work together you may notice the off level posts... which I am assuming you already have being you have brought this question up.

Is there anything major wrong here? No. Its more about the look of the fence more than anything. If you are building the fence to meet the posts as is, there is no wrong way to go. Like I said, its all about the look of the fence at this point. The simple question is, How do you see your fence now and how do you wish to see your fence when complete?

You could always fix the problem...

Dig down on the side that the fence post needs to go. Only on the one side out of four of the post and push the post level.
If the base of the fence post was cemented, you need to dig out the entire side of that cement base. Once down you could push the fence post level and then on the opposite side, tamp the post tight. Or if you wish you can back fill that hole with more cement.

Keep in mind that if you attempt to level the posts more than likely you would change the dimmensions between posts. But if you are stick building your fence you should be ok in the longer run.

So here it is either repair the problem or leave it as is and have to always know that even if you can not always see the off level posts you always know they are off level.. Which again, if they are running in the direction of the fence line they cause no real problem other than to the naked eye.

My own personal choice... There is no way in the world that I could live with all the miter cut pickets that you would need to cut... I for sure would fix the posts.

Best of luck to you

Last edited by Shadeladie; 09-03-14 at 08:21 AM.
Old 08-08-13, 11:52 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,911
Received 51 Votes on 46 Posts

You should be able to move the top of the posts 1 1/2 in. unless they are set in concrete.

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: