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Setting Fence post in concrete vs secureset foam

Setting Fence post in concrete vs secureset foam

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  #1  
Old 09-22-19, 05:02 PM
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Setting Fence post in concrete vs secureset foam

I am going to put a fence between the house and barn it's about 60 feet. I'm going to do round fence posts at each end and on each side of the gate. I have a 10 foot gate chain link I'm going to hang. Should I use concrete or secureset foam and how big should my holes be. I find different information online. In between the wood posts I'm driving t posts.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-23-19, 04:00 AM
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Lot depends on type of soil you have. I just put gates in clay and the holes I dug were to small and gates sagged. Thought I had dug the post holes to big but they were to small. Used to 80 lb bags of concrete and had to put a connecting post over the top. These were just man gates 6 foot tall.
 
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Old 09-23-19, 06:16 AM
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The big differences are speed and cost. Foam is expensive but fast. Concrete is cheap but takes much longer to cure.

In most cases I do not use concrete or foam around fence posts. I tamp in crusher run (crushed stone) around the post in the hole. It can hold the posts rock solid and there is no waiting for curing. I only use concrete if the ground is soft or weak and I'll over dig the hole and use concrete so it bears on a larger area of soil.
 
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Old 09-23-19, 09:09 AM
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not sure what type of fence your using would look into an H brace for the gate and ends or a corner brace if the fence continues you can make them out of wood but they can also be metal your local farm supply may offer premade metal h braces or corner braces but they are more expensive but should last forever.
would probably use concrete really not familiar with the foam set.
 
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Old 09-23-19, 09:40 AM
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going off of the calculators on secure sets website and Lowe's website the secure set fosm is actually a lot cheaper than the quikrete brand concrete from Lowe's. Lowe's says the hole needs to be three times the diameter of the post the secure set website for a 5-in post says 9-in hole.
 
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Old 09-23-19, 12:45 PM
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concrete has been used successfully for a long time its heavy and foam is not, I like the one review where post actually floated up after a lot of rainfall probably in soil that didnt drain well.
 
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Old 09-24-19, 12:49 PM
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As far as cost per hole you are comparing apples and oranges because of the different hole sizes. If you look at the amount of material needed for same size holes you'll see that foam is more expensive.
 
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Old 09-24-19, 01:03 PM
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Crushed limestone with the down (dust) is cheaper than both foam and concrete and will hold the post secure when tamped. Use 1/2 inch or smaller if available in your area.
 
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Old 09-24-19, 02:36 PM
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I would not use the foam on any post or structure that has any type of strain on it. A mailbox post OK, but not a fence post. At our store we set up a display using 4 x 4 post in a 5 gal bucket. I can pick that thing up with one hand. I don't think it can with stand a strong wind or strain.
 
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Old 10-21-19, 02:13 AM
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concrete has been used successfully for a long time its heavy and foam is not, I like the one review where post actually floated up after a lot of rainfall probably in soil that didnt drain well.
I've seen demonstration videos of the foam set posts and they actually grab significantly stronger in the dirt when pulled straight up than the same post set properly in concrete. The foam expands as it sets so it wedges itself in the hole and forms very very well to the sides. Concrete does not do that. For this reason it is a good idea to have a pear shaped hole slightly wider on the bottom than the top.

You can probably find these videos on youtube. For a fence you will probably never notice the difference between either, it's just a question of cost and convenience. Of course, it may vary depending on your soil.
 
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Old 10-21-19, 03:45 AM
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significantly stronger in the dirt when pulled straight up than the same post set properly in concrete
And that is the problem. Wind and soft soil does not lift a post straight up. It sways it back and forth. Any structure that will be subjected to side thrust will need a heavy base properly set to depth below ground and frost level. If I were to use the foam to hold my post in place it would not last the season. Concrete tried and true!
 
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Old 10-22-19, 04:47 AM
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We sell the stuff at our store. We did in fact set up a demo unit in a bucket with a mailbox post. So I know about the product. No I have never actually used my money to test this product on a fence that is subjected to high winds. I have however installed three fences, two of which I installed my self and one installed professionally. All the professional fence installers in my neck of the woods use concrete or tamped gravel as you mentioned. I'm not saying it's a bad product. But it's new and has yet had the test of time. I learned many years ago, just because something is new does not make it better.

I'll tell you what though. You post the money I'll try the product on a fence and if it holds up after 5 years of my weather conditions I'll pay you back! Deal?

BTW...the weight of the concrete does not hold the post in place. It takes up the voids and adds mass. The depth is what counts. With that said, I suppose neither foam or concrete is needed. So if I were to choose right now and thought something was needed, I would choose concrete because of cost and the test of time.

Lets do the math...Cost of foam about $23 per package per post (as posted on line and I think close to that at our store) vs about $3.25 for a 60 lb bag of concrete. Lets use a fence that needs 8 or 9 post. Rather short for a fence but it'll do. Just the cost of the foam will cost you almost $200 vs $26 for concrete. Now add all the cost o f fencing. Fencing is an expensive proposition and normally is necessary evil. Most people don't want to spend extra money on a thing like a fence. If were to use this stuff on my fence it would add nearly a $1000 more to the cost. What?

Almost forget, what about the gate sections? I would not trust foam to take the punishment of a gate. Again it'll take more than a video set by the company to sell me.

I would however promote the stuff for a mail box post or setting up a pergola or maybe a stationary park bench or similar type items.
 
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Old 10-22-19, 04:04 PM
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Never said we tested it! Perhaps corporate did a study on it and that's why we carry it. Don't know and don't care.

My store is competitive with big box stores. In fact many times, less expensive. We have a Lowes right across the street. So we have to be competitive.

Price quoted was from an on-line source. Our price is within a couple dollars of other local stores.

If you're disabled, I would suggest you call a professional. To you money seems to be no object. But I like the fact that you want to do it your self. But why if money is not a problem?

The product is good, but for the proper application.

Again the test of time will tell. And truth be told, I hope I'm wrong. It sure seems very easy.

You're tone struck a nerve. Are you willing to take me up on the deal I proposed? Just kidding. Good luck with your project.
 

Last edited by Norm201; 10-22-19 at 05:21 PM.
  #14  
Old 10-23-19, 02:15 AM
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I have never used the foam set and dont really ever plan to either, this thread was started a month ago and more than likely the job is already done and the original poster was given good advice.
 
  #15  
Old 10-23-19, 04:18 AM
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People were weary of spray foam when it was new too. Now we know it's one of the best modern building products available...
And it has been said that a license should be had before using that stuff. Just say'n
 
  #16  
Old 10-24-19, 03:38 AM
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Everything I've looked at says I need like 4 or 5 bags of concrete per hole
 
  #17  
Old 10-24-19, 03:42 AM
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Money is the problem. According to the calculation on Lowe's website I need several bags of concrete per hole it came out to like 20 bucks a hole for quickcrete. The secureset foam which comes in bulk and you mix it. Was only like 60 bucks to do my entire fence.
 
  #18  
Old 12-08-19, 05:37 AM
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Foam verses concrete...

I am giving this response for all those who believe that the foam might be better...
In which case, as a case by case basis, maybe... But I don't think so...

This post suggests that you have a 60 foot run of fencing, with gate posts... Assuming you are installing posts every 8 or maybe 10 feet.. with a 10 foot spacing on your gate posts..

7 posts minimum.. (I would do a minimum of 8)

Gate posts always get more cement.
If you are using foam, I gather more foam packages would be needed to fill the same sized hole for the post. That is assuming that the foam provides the same strength as concrete. If not you may need to dig a larger hole and supply more foam.


Does Foam work? I suppose that once the fence is up it is up. But that doesn't mean it will stay up... and those gate posts may or may not support the continued use of the gate that swings on it.

Some of us use concrete for a wood or metal fence, some use soil and rock to back fill and tamp the fence posts in place. I do both. Each to their own, as with me I use both depending on the circumstances I am facing.

Foam.. If there were some sort of circumstances that would say foam is a better idea I guess I might give it a shot.. Would it be my first choice? No. Would it be my second choice? No, not likely... If anything it would be my last possible choice. .. And even then, I would still try to use another way than to use any type of expanding foam below ground.
Foam... what is even made of? Plastics? As if we need any more plastics in our soils... No, we do not.
Chemicals.... Okay, yeah, there are some nasty chemicals in foam and or concrete.. But concrete is made of natural nasty things... Where foam is completely man made nasty things.

Expense... Doing the math..
Digging a hole 9 inches in diameter verses 10 or 12, or even 15... using cement to back fill a hole verses using foam.

I have installed thousands of fences in my life... Yes, thousands.. Only I can vouch for myself in saying that I have never used 4 bags of concrete ($20 worth) in one post hole unless the post was a gate post for a very large gate... 10 foot opening? Not likely needing a 320 lb concrete base...

4- 80 LB Bags of quikcrete costs roughly $4.80= 19.20 plus tax...
or
5 bags of 60 lb quikcrete concrete for $3.89 per bag,... = $19.45 plus tax

Now math... Using a bag of foam verses concrete...

As per the typical manufacturer of foam directions;

2 inch diameter steel post: a hole 6 inches in diameter x 46 inches is needed.. x 1 bag of foam verses 1 bag of concrete

4 x 4 wood posts; call for an 8 or 10 inch diameter hole x 36 inches deep that would call for 1 bag for an 8 inch diameter hole and 2 bags for a 10 inch diameter hole..
Verses perhaps 2 bags of concrete..

And the package goes further into making suggestions for a 6 x 6 post but I am going to exclude that one because its just not realistic that anyone would dig a hole as per its specs to say that for a 6 x 6 post the hole is supposed to be just 2 inches bigger on all 4 sides of the post... That's just crazy !
If you are installing a 6 x 6 post you should make that hole a minimum of 12 to 18 inches in diameter... But that is a completely different ball game... and those are likely gate posts.

So... going back to the foam.. 1 bag costs $10.26 ,,, and according to its own package one back covers as much area as one bag of concrete.

Quikcrete concrete costs $4.80 per 80 lb bag...

And when mixed if you have left over concrete you can save it for the next hole to start filling that hole.. As per the videos on line, if you make a mistake with the foam you have to cut it off the post and throw it away...

If you make a mistake with concrete all you need do is remove it from the hole and move it to the new location.

10 + dollars for foam..

less than $5.00 for concrete.

Based on the foam manufactures website, both products cover the same area underground.
COMPARED EASE OF INSTALLATION;
Okay... Foam is lighter to work with.. But in my opinion foam to hold up a fence is just another quick way out to doing the job the right way.

All those braces they use to support the fence post while the foam is forming and hardening... absolutely useless... If you know how to install a fence you do not need braces holding the fence posts straight and level or plumb while the concrete sets up.

The video suggests that concrete takes days to set up...

In some sense that might be true.. But that is because cement is always curing.. But if you put a concrete base in a hole that has a post in it you could likely install that fence as you go... Not having to wait hours to install the fence.
The only reason I would wait for the cement to cure is if there are high winds the day of installation... In which case you should refrain from installing a solid wood fence on a windy day anyway... someone could get hurt.

So... I have seen these types of posts before and its always the same thing.. Someone thinks that foam is better than cement for a fence post.

I can give my opinion based on experience with one, using the foam manufacturers videos and specifications to give me all I need to see to realize that foam is more expensive than cement ,, less practical and in my own opinion more toxic than cement.. And it has absolutely no flexibility with timing ... You are either ready to pour it when finished mixing it, or it's wasted.

In your last post you said you spent just $60.00 for the foam and installed 60 feet of fencing with two of the posts being gate posts?...

If it were a job I did , 60 feet of fencing with two gate posts I would supply about 12 bags of 80 lb concrete.
12 x $4.80 = $57.60 plus tax

No doubt I would bring 15 bags with me allowing for whatever comes up... Still, costing just $72.00

Based on the manufactures website for foam... you would need a minimum of 6 bags for the fence line posts and another 2 bags for each gate post... x $10.26 per bag.. = $102.60 plus tax

Is it cheaper?

You decide.

Good luck with your overall choice... I hope it works out.
 
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Last edited by Shadeladie; 01-10-20 at 10:32 AM. Reason: Name removed
  #19  
Old 12-08-19, 08:51 AM
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Greg,

Thanks for the in depth analysis. The foam has it's place, such as free standing mailbox post or flagpole, or even a decorative small fence, but not for a fence that must stand up to wind, and soil conditions, and certainly not for gate.
 
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  #20  
Old 01-04-20, 06:37 PM
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If I fill some of the hole with 2-3 inch stone so I use less concrete would it hurt anything?
 
  #21  
Old 01-05-20, 06:05 AM
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No. Actually it might help if the soil conditions need drainage.
 
  #22  
Old 01-06-20, 03:06 AM
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I have a pile of gravel already just trying to shave some of the cost down. I want to do a good sized hole to hold the posts better
 
  #23  
Old 01-06-20, 05:27 AM
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may help with drainage if at the bottom of the hole. could also just mix it in with the concrete so it will require you to use less concrete you could use large rocks also if they are available.
 
  #24  
Old 01-06-20, 07:46 PM
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I think that's what I'm planning on doing
 
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  #25  
Old 01-10-20, 05:38 AM
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If the stone is on the bottom it would likely work to your advantage as the stone, tamped in will give the post more stability than just soil backfilled and tamped. If you mix the stone into the concrete mix that too would be somewhat okay... as long as the portion of stone size and concrete are something of a match... Another words, stone the size of basketballs would not be good because the stone would displace the concrete whereas stone the size of lemons would be part of the concrete base once set up... So stone is pretty much okay as long as you do not make the stone too large to displace concrete..
 
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