A sturdy fence begins with well-built fence posts. Every single fence post contributes to the stability, solidity, and safety of a fence. When just one fence post gives out, your entire fence can feel the impact. If you have a rotted or broken fence post, it is important to replace that fence post as soon as possible before other parts of your fence sustain further damage.
A Step-By-Step Guide to Set a Wood Fence Post in Concrete
What can you do to ensure a fence post withstands the test of time?
It’s simple – do not cut corners. Yes, removing your old post and setting the new one can feel like a tedious task, but each step in the process is needed. While there are numerous ways to set a fence post, let’s walk through how to set a cedar fence wood post in concrete.
Note: Beware of utility lines and sprinkler pipes. Replacing a fence post requires you to dig deep into the ground. Before you get started, checking the location of any utility lines or sprinkler pipes is always a smart step.
Step 1: Remove the old fence post.
Do not try to salvage pieces of your old fence post to incorporate into your new fence post. It is best to start from scratch.
Step 2: Take out the existing concrete.
When tearing out the old fence post, remove the old concrete as well. You can even take a sledgehammer to the concrete to break it into pieces for easier removal.
Step 3: Make the new hole.
Once you have completely cleared out the old post, concrete, and gravel, you are ready to prepare the new hole. You must make the hole larger than the circumference of the post. This allows the new concrete to completely surround the new fence post. The diameter of the hole should measure a whole three times longer than the width of your fence post.
A fence post needs to be placed far enough into the ground to submerge at least one-third of the whole post. For extra security, some homeowners choose to cover up half of the entire fence post. Furthermore, you might need to measure the depth in inches to comply with local building codes.
Step 4: Add a small base level of gravel.
Now that the hole is at the proper depth and width, it is time to add gravel to the base of the hole. The gravel protects the bottom of the fence post from being in direct contact with the dirt, which can lead to a rotted fence post. You need that rainwater to be able to drain freely into the surrounding soil.
Pound that gravel into place. You can even use your fence post for this step. Lift the post up and down, smashing down the gravel with the end of it. Add more gravel and compact that, too. The key is to add gravel in small portions and compact it each time until you have a sufficient base for your post.
Step 5: Prep the fence post.
Treat the portion of your wood post that will be covered in the ground with a preservative. Products that contain copper naphthenate are especially beneficial.
Step 6: Set the fence post in the hole.
You will need to set the post on top of the gravel and have someone hold it upright as you pour the concrete around the post.
Step 7: Pour the concrete.
With the post positioned in the hole and held firmly in place by another person, fill the hole with concrete. Do not stop directly at ground level. You will want the concrete to extend slightly above the surrounding soil and slope downward away from the post. This slope will cause rainwater to flow away from the fence post and not puddle in the center of the concrete.
Step 8: Watch over your work until the concrete dries.
The last thing you need is a dog putting its paws into your freshly poured concrete and messing up your hard work. Block off the area while the cement dries.
Congratulations, you have replaced a fence post!
If you have a rotted fence post that needs replacing, do not put off making the needed repairs. After all, switching out a single cedar fence wood post is a lot easier than replacing an entire fence that falls down due to a faulty post.