Fence posts are the foundation for any fence, and they need to be set correctly in order for it to provide maximum security. If you’re thinking about setting up a new fence or just want to improve the one that’s already there, then keep reading! This blog post will teach you how to properly set fence posts so that your fencing is safe and secure.
Whether you want to build a privacy wall, a pergola, or a fence, there is always a pivot point; that is the supporting posts and their anchoring in the ground. The builder has to face two challenges here: He must counter the inevitable corrosion and, above all, ensure sufficient stability.
Anyone who wants to erect a fence, a carport, or a patio roof needs firmly mounted posts. This applies to both the wooden fence and the metal fence. However, the methods of post anchoring are as diverse as the fences.
The simple method: directly into the ground.
The most common fences are made of wood. In the past, their sharpened posts were often simply driven or dug into the ground with a lot of muscle power. To protect them against rot or corrosion, they were usually given a coat of tar beforehand. All parts above ground were then painted at regular intervals. One could still proceed in this way today. But nowadays fences are more ornamental than protective, the material is expensive and most people do not have the time for constant maintenance.
Wood fence post driver – the fence posts are driven into the ground at specific intervals to support wooden fences. The process is done with a manual tool that uses machines to help drive in the posts quickly and safely, but there are other methods that can be used without this machine or by using less power if you prefer not to use heavy machinery. This method of driving fence posts is very simple and does not require a lot of strength.
Post anchoring with ground sockets
If you want to do without a stabilizing concrete foundation when building a fence, you have the choice between ground sockets for hammering in or for screwing in.
Ground sockets for driving in are driven directly into the ground with a sufficiently heavy hammer.
However, the metal should not be hit in the process. Instead, place a short wooden block, preferably made of hardwood, into the sleeve and use it to drive it into the ground. There is also a suitable tool made of high-strength plastic, but it is not worth the purchase for erecting only a few posts. Ground driving sleeves are mainly suitable for low wooden fences or light pergolas.
When inserting the post, do-it-yourselfers should make sure there is an inch of space between the post shoe and the bottom of the post. The post rests only on the cross-shaped drive-in wedge. This allows rainwater to drain easily and prevents rot.
Drive-in sleeves are usually designed for square-section wood beams; however, round designs are also available. Hardware stores usually have only two or three sizes, so you have to be careful to use the appropriate square timber. Otherwise, you have to help with a rasp, which is not the point.
The sleeves are rather unsuitable for light soils, as they can gradually sink in under load. Another disadvantage is that it is not easy to hammer or turn them in one after the other, i.e. exactly one after the other; they tend to break away or stand crooked when they hit a stone. If you try several times, you loosen the soil in such a way that the sleeves find much less grip.
For light, sandy soils, you should prefer sleeves that can be screwed in. Their metal thread sits more firmly in the ground than the wedge of the drive-in sleeve. The only tool needed is an iron rod or pipe to turn the screw-in sleeve.
There are two ways to attach the fence post: Either the posts are inserted into post shoes and then screwed. Metric bolts with nuts are usually supplied for this purpose.
Or the head of the screw-in sleeve is provided with some kind of thread, onto which the empty tube is then screwed. Such screw-in sleeves are mainly used for the mostly round posts of low wire fences, or also for rotary clothes dryers or sunshades.
Post anchoring in concrete foundation
The most stable way to anchor fence posts in the ground is to set them in concrete. Especially metal posts such as round tube posts, T-section posts or rectangular posts, and posts that support heavy fence elements should be secured this way. Do-it-yourselfers can either set the post itself in concrete or just the post support. A third option is to install a screw-on sleeve on the foundation.
Tips for fence construction
Anyone setting up a privacy fence can resort to a trick to stabilize it: Since the post supports cannot hold the high fence even in a lukewarm crosswind, a trellis was attached to the side. Although it is only 80 centimeters wide, it provides sufficient support for the fence.
The fence is always placed so that it stands on the border, not on it. The cross on the boundary stones marks the exact location. A string stretched across it then indicates the outer boundary of the fence. If you can’t find your boundary stones, you should check with your neighbor or ask the local surveyor’s office for documentation.