Wooden Fence Post Installation Tips

Posted on: 17 August 2015

If you want to install a wooden fence on your property, then you will need to make sure that the fence posts are as secure as possible. These posts retain the weight of the fence and keep it upright. The fence posts must be chosen, dried, protected, and installed at the right depth to ensure their security. Keep reading to learn about what you need to do in regard to installing your wooden fence posts. 

Install Dry Posts Only

If you decide to purchase fence posts from a wood supplier or if you intend on making them yourself, then make sure that you choose a hardwood that is naturally resistant to decay. Cedar, osage orange, locust, black walnut, and white oak are a few examples of woods that should be used for fence posts. Before the posts can be installed though, the wood needs to be dried out. Dried wood is less likely to retain moisture from the earth and it will also be prepared to soak up protectant materials.

If you have cut your own posts, then you will need to set your wood in a dry area for about six weeks to four months. You will be able to tell that the wood is dry by looking at the ends to see if they have darkened. The wood will also weigh significantly less, so pick up the wood to see if this is the case. Dry wood will make a sharp clunking noise when dropped too, while wet wood will produce a dull thud instead. 

Kiln Dried Products

If you do not want to wait several months until your fence posts dry out, then consider purchasing kiln dried posts from your local lumber supplier. You may also be able to ask the supplier to kiln dry posts that you have cut on your own. Kiln drying involves the placement of the posts and other lumber materials in a warehouse or other closed space. Warm air is then pumped into the area to dry the wood in a relatively quick manner. Generally, a moisture meter is utilized to check the water content in the wood during the process. Once the meter indicates that the wood contains around 20% moisture, it will be safe to use. 

Securing the Posts

In most cases, fence posts must be secured deep into the earth to remain strong. Deep installation will also keep the posts from cracking or falling. Generally speaking, you want the post to sit at least six inches below the frost line so the frozen earth does not place too much pressure on the ends of the post when it freezes. This can cause breaks to form in the post.

You also should make sure the posts are set at least three feet in the ground or at a depth that is equal to about one-third of the height of the fence post. If for some reason one-third of the fence post height is shorter than the depth of the frost line, then you may need to purchase longer posts. For example, If you want a fence that is six feet high, then you will need to buy posts that are around nine feet long. However, if you live in an area with a frost line that is five feet deep, then then fence post will need to sit around five and a half feet below the ground. You will then need posts that are closer to 18 feet long.

Preserving the Ends

Once you have figured out how many feet the fence posts should be placed in the ground, purchase a preservative material to cover the bottom one-third of each post. A preservative that contains copper naphthenate is a good choice. This type of product will not have ingredients like arsenic that will leach into the earth and cause environmental damage. 

Go to websites of local vendors to learn more information. 


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