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Fence Post Installation

By Edited Jun 19, 2015 1 3

Installing fence-posts is the most important part of the job when installing fencing in a yard or around a garden. The fence-posts must be able to hold the fence panels or chain link without falling, bending or bowing. Adding concrete to  post holes will secure, stabilize and strengthen the posts and fencing. Without concrete, the fence-posts will lean, fall and lift out of the ground that in turn threatens the structural integrity of the entire fence rendering it unsafe. Using concrete also protects wood and metal posts from rot and rust. fence-posts can also be secured to metal post holders, but these brackets are not nearly as strong or long lasting as concrete. Concrete when dried becomes a solid structure in the ground. Concrete is not affected by water or weather. This is a fairly easy project for the do-it-yourself type homeowner.

fence-post Preparations

Use a post hole digger to dig each fence-post hole.

Dig 3-foot holes for end posts and corner posts, dig 2-foot holes for all other posts.

The ends and corner holes need to be dug deeper because they bear more of the load than the rest of the fence-posts.

Space the holes 10-feet apart which is the standard measurement for fence panels, always measure fence panels to double check. When installing chain link fence the usual distance is 8 to 10 feet, sometimes less depending on the height of the fence.

The higher the fence the shorter the distance between poles.

Adding Concrete

Mix concrete and water according to the directions on the bag. Use a wheelbarrow or a large container or trough to mix the concrete.

Pour 2 to 3-inches of concrete into the base of the hole.

Place the fence-post into the hole. Have a friend or helper hold the  post in place while you pour concrete around the post up to ground level.

Leveling the fence-posts

Use a level to establish plumb and level before continuing on to the next fence-post hole.


Place a level across the top of the post, if the bubble moves out of level, use a p

iece of wood to bang the appropriate side down until the bubble moves to level range.

Place the level vertically against the fence-post to check for plumb. If the bubble on the level moves out of level, push the fence-post in the appropriate direction until the bubble lines up.

Do this immediately up pouring the concrete before the concrete sets. Once the concrete sets and hardens you will no longer be able to re-position the fence-post.

Repeat the process at each fence-post hole. At each hole make sure the post are level and plumb. Make the necessary adjustments as you go along because it cannot be changed later.

If the fence-posts set crooked in the concrete, the only way to correct it is to dig the concrete and fence-post out and pour new concrete and this will mean you will have to buy an extra fence-post.

Before Installing the Posts

Call local utility companies prior to digging and have them mark pipes and lines because digging even with a post hole digger can penetrate and break gas lines which can lead to an explosion.

Obtain proper permits and follow local ordinances before installing a fence. Many towns and cities require homeowners to get a land survey before installing a fence. If you attempt to install a fence without the proper permits, the town can force you to remove the entire fence and or give a fine.




Jul 10, 2010 4:48pm
Good article. I've dug many, many holes with a post hole digger. I live way up north, in Wisconsin, so the holes have to be about 4 feet deep. It's a beast! If I have more than just a couple to dig, I rent a gas powered one for about $35 per day. Well worth the investment for this old man.

As you noted, everyone should make sure they are digging in safe places!
Jul 10, 2010 9:50pm
Is that your fence in the picture, Kristara? :)
Jul 11, 2010 7:57am
No, that isn't my fence. My fence is 6' tall. :)
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