Tips for Installing Fence Posts

fence post installation tips

There are a lot of things to consider before you install a fence. However, your fence is only as strong and durable as your fence posts. Depending upon the soil on your property, the method of installing fence posts can vary significantly. Here are some helpful tips for installing fence posts.

Choose Your Wood

Typically many people go with pressure treated pine, which is a less expensive option but not your only one. While it is still considered a popular option, it has raised some concern among those more environmentally-focused due to the chemicals used in the wood. Investing in the best quality you can afford will pay off in the end. If you do go with non-pressure treated wood, we recommend treating the end of your posts with non-water-based, brush-on wood preservative. These are toxic, so make sure you read the instructions and wear proper safety when applying. There are non-toxic varieties available that are eco-friendly.

Need to purchase fence posts? Atlantic Fence has all the fence supplies you’ll need for your next job.

Extra tip: Make sure you use a post level instead of a regular straight level to even the posts. These are not expensive and help save you a lot of time and possible mistakes.

Concrete vs. Gravel

If you choose to use concrete, we recommend using fast-setting concrete, especially in sandy soil. The trick is to get the concrete the consistency of peanut butter so it will set straight and you won’t have to use braces. If this is your first time, you should brace it upright to make sure it stays level. Make sure the concrete is fully cured before you start attaching fence rails or panels.

Gravel is less durable than concrete but it is less messy. We recommend gravel in thicker clay soils. It will not work well in sandy soil. Another benefit to gravel is it allows water to drain around the fence posts. Put a bit more of the post underground with gravel for added stability. Make sure you tamp the gravel every so often. To finish, add soil to the top. With gravel, you can start adding fence panels immediately, not setting necessary.

When to Build

This is always a question we get – when is the best time of year to build?  Many feel August to October is the best times to build a fence, others argue September through March. Really it just depends on the weather, and in Maryland, that isn’t always predictable. We recommend trying to avoid very humid or wet months. Also, in winter months can be difficult if your ground frosts, making it harder to dig for posts. At the end of the day, if you need a fence, then that is the time to do it.

At Atlantic Fence, we recommend that you dig your post hole, so the diameter of the hole is three times the width of the post. For example, the hole for a 4” wood post should be about 12 inches wide. The depth of the hole should be approximately 1/3-1/2 the post height above ground. For a 6-foot tall fence, you would require digging a hole depth of at least 2 feet, although we recommend 26 inches for that height. If you have any questions, contact the experienced team at Atlantic Fence. Our technicians are knowledgeable and friendly and are happy to assist you. Contact us today!