Fences are installed to restrict access to a given area, highlight an area, or purely for aesthetic purposes. Whatever your reasons may be for installing a fence, you want a fence that is durable and firm. The fence will be exposed to strong winds, harsh weather, and even external pressures from humans and animals. A durable fence should be able to provide a good resistance to all these.
The bedrock for any strong fence is the posts. These are vertical bars typically fixed on or inside the ground. It provides support for the horizontal bars of the fence. The durability of the fence, to a large extent, rests on the posts. No matter the material you choose to use to make the fence, you’ll need a strong fence post to keep it fixed firmly in or on the ground.
There are several ways to achieve this strong post base, with one of the most popular ways being the use of cement to hold it. However, this method comes with a lot of challenges like costing extra money, stressful, time-consuming and also aiding rotting when using wooden posts.
Since using cement to set your fence posts is not the most viable, how do you fix strong fence posts without using cement? This is what you’ll find out in this article.
Ways to Set Fence Post Without Cement
Depending on style and needs, there are several ways you can set your fence posts even without utilizing concrete which can be expensive and time-consuming, among other things.
1. Using Gravel
You can use gravel to set your post inside the ground without cement. Posts set with gravel are easier to remove if you choose to change the position of the fence later. They also shift rather than break when exposed to external pressure. This way, you can adjust it when it bends under the wind.
- Post level
- Fence post
Steps to Using Gravel
If you want to install a fence post using gravel, here is how to do it:
- Dig a Hole: First, clear the area and mark the position of your post. Using your shovel and spade, dig a hole so that at least ⅓ of the length of the post is below the ground. The width of the hole should be 2 or 3 times the width of the post. Collect the dug-up soil in a garbage bag or tarp for later use
- Cover the Base with Gravel: Cover the base of the hole with up to 4 inches of gravel containing larger and smaller pieces. This will create a loose base that’ll drain water easier and serve as a firm base for the post.
- Place the Post: Set the post on the gravel, ensuring you place it correctly, and it is standing upright. A good way to ensure this is to level the gravel properly before placing the post. Have someone or something hold the post in place while you fill up to two inches of gravel around the post and tamp it using a flat surface.
- Fill the Hole and Tamp: By the time the post is standing on its own, giving you room to work. Fill the hole with gravel and tamp. Ideally, you want to fill with 4 inches of gravel at each point and then tamp as this would increase the rigidity of the post. When you get to about 6 inches above the ground, switch to the dug-up soil and fill the hole with it. It is best to make use of clay soil at the point to block water from reaching the post.
2. Using a Hydraulic Driver
The hydraulic driver is mounted on a tractor, and it is used to drive a fence post into the ground without the need for digging. The ground around the post is undisturbed, helping to increase its firm grip on the post and improve durability. This method is ideal when dealing with large posts and over a wide area. Nevertheless, it can still be used with smaller posts.
You’ll need a certain level of skill to operate the tractor and an extra pair of hands needed to adjust the posts. You’ll also need wide access to the site and enough room to contain the large tractor. Posts installed using a hydraulic driver are highly reliable.
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- Hydraulic driver mounted on a tractor
- Fence post
Steps to Using a Hydraulic Driver
Follow these steps if you want to use a hydraulic driver to set a fence post:
- Move the Tractor to the Desired Location: The operator should move the tractor to the post location with the hydraulic driver facing down on the post location.
- Fix the Fence Post in the Hydraulic Driver: The hydraulic driver consists of a house with one end open where you can drop your post on the ground and into the driver.
- Adjust the Alignment of the Post Using the Levers: Three available levers adjust the vertical, diagonal and horizontal direction of the post. Use these levers to set the post upright.
- Use the Vertical Lever to Drive the Post in: Support the post with your hand ensuring it is only touching the front of the post where the driver cannot reach when pounding. Use the vertical lever to pound the post in till you’ve reached the required depth.
3. Using Wooden Post Anchors
A post anchor is a great way to install a durable fence that can be fixed and removed easily. It also protects the base of the post from moisture, thereby increasing the lifespan of the post. Post anchors are perfect when dealing with smaller size posts typically used for residential projects.
- Post anchor
- Fence post
- Sledgehammer or electric jackhammer
Steps to Using a Post Anchor
Here are the required steps:
- Drive the Post Anchor into the Ground: Locate the fence post position and drive the post anchor into the ground. You can use the manual sledge hammer, the slide hammer, or the more efficient electric jackhammer to drive the spiked end of the post anchor firmly into the ground. Ensure it is aligned properly using a level and that the post anchor sleeve is above the ground.
- Drop the Dance Post into the Sleeve and Screw: Drop the fence post into the sleeve and screw tightly. This will ensure the post is secured and firm. This is an easier and faster method of setting the fence post.
Also Read:- How to Screw Into Concrete With a Hammer Drill?
4. Using Expanding Foam
Expanding foam is a material typically made from polyurethane or latex. It expands and hardens in under 5 minutes after application. Expanding foam is easy to use, durable, and extremely resistant to moisture which protects the base of the fence post from rot. It acts similar to concrete but is a lightweight and waterproof alternative. The resins come in bags contained in the same package, which makes mixing easy. One package is designed for one hole.
- Resin bag
- Fence post
- Protective gloves
- Spade or shovel
Steps to Using expanding foam
Follow this step to set your fence post using expanding foam:
- Dig a Hole: Mark the dance post location and then dig a hole using your shovel or spade. The hole should be about ⅓ of the length of the fence post and twice the fence post diameter in width. This will ensure it is durable enough when it sets.
- Set the Post Inside the Hole: Place the fence post at the center of the hole and brace it with two small pieces of wood set outside the hole. Nail the top end loosely to the post so you can easily remove them after the expanding foam has been set.
- Wear Protective Gloves: To protect your hands from the resins, wear protective gloves. The resins are made from strong chemicals that can peel off your skin.
- Mix the Resins: There are two resins required to make expanding foam, and they are both contained in the same package. One of the resins is in the outer package with a smaller package inside it containing another resin. Lay the resin bag on the ground and stamp on it to break the inner bag. Squeeze the resin out of the inner bag and mix thoroughly with the resins from the outer bag. Do this by squeezing.
- Apply Around the Post and Allow to Set: Using a pair of scissors, cut out a corner of the resin bag immediately after mixing to ensure it does not set in the bag. Squeeze the mixture out and apply around the base of the post. Allow the expanding foam to harden for 3 minutes as it expands to fill the hole. It may take up to an hour to completely harden, and you can remove the brace supports.
5. Directly Into the Soil
This method differs from using a hydraulic driver because it does not require any of those complicated equipment. Here, the post is put directly into the soil. This method is inexpensive as you do not have to buy gravel or expensive materials. However, it does not contain the level of rigidity of many of the others on this list, so it should be used for short fences and in areas with low wind and external pressure.
- Spade or shovel
- Clam digger
- Fence post
- One large stone
Steps to Fixing Directly in the Soil
Here’s how to install a fence post directly in the soil:
- Dig a Hole: Mark the post location and loosen the soil first with a trowel before digging with a clam digger. The clam digger will help you dig deep while maintaining a small radius, as this is the best way to make this type of fence. You want the hole to swallow at least ⅓ of the overall length of the post for durability while the width of the hole should be as close to the diameter of the post as possible. This will ensure it is tight enough when filled.
- Put One Large Rock in the Hole: Place a large piece of rock or stone with a flat surface inside the hole. This will serve as a base to increase support and raise the base of the post away from wet soil.
- Place the Post in and Fill with Soil: Place the fence into the hole and fill with soil, dirt, and stones. Use a small wood to tamp it down as you continue to fill the hole. Clump the soil above the ground level in a way that water runs off the clump and away from the post base. This will reduce the amount of water reaching the base and improve its lifespan.
You do not have to use concrete to set your fence post. If you’re concerned about the lack of flexibility, carbon footprint, cost, and lack of appeal of using concrete, you can implement other methods to set your fence post. These other methods vary in skill required, durability, as well as time and cost implications.