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How to put up a new fence by embedding posts in concrete

Date posted: 6 January 2014

Fencing is an economical and popular choice for garden boundaries, offering a cheaper and easier solution than a brick wall.

You can secure fence posts in the ground using specially-designed metal spikes, but some people prefer to embed them in concrete. Here we look at the concrete method and explain which garden tools and other equipment you will need.

Tools
Some of the essential tools for the job include a spade, a saw, a tape measure, a trowel, a sledge hammer, a fence post driver or post hole borer, gloves, a spirit level, and an electric drill.

Measuring and buying fence panels
Decide how high you would like your fence to be, and how long it needs to stretch along the boundary. This enables you to calculate the size and number of fence panels you will need.

The length of the fence posts represents the height of your fence. Measure the entire length required for your boundary and divide this total by the width of your chosen fence panels to find out how many panels you need to buy. Standard fence panels are 1.8 metres (6 feet) wide, but there is variation so always check measurements carefully before you order.

Choose fence panels without too many knots or splits, since these weaken the panels and make them more prone to damage.

To embed your fence posts in concrete you will need dry sand and gravel mixed with concrete, or alternatively you can buy a ready-made up mix from DIY stores.

How to embed fence posts in concrete

  1. Dig post holes
    Dig holes for each post according to the instructions on your ready-made mix – or hire a post hole borer to make the job easier. Holes usually need to be at least 60cm deep and three times as wide as the post, so this can be tough work to do manually. Using a string line, mark out where the other holes need to go and dig these as well.
     
  2. Secure the fence posts
    Place the posts into the hole keeping them in place with some stone hardcore or broken brick, which you need to pack down around the base of the post.
     
  3. Pour In the concrete
    Pour in your concrete mix. Follow the instructions if you're using a ready-made mix. The concrete should be filled to just above ground level and will set within a few minutes, so you need to work quickly. Get your spirit level to check that the fence post is vertical on two adjacent sides.
     
  4. Smooth the surface
    You need to make sure that any future rainwater will run away from the fence post so that it doesn't rot. To do this, smooth out the surface of the concrete using a trowel, sloping it slightly downwards away from the post. While the concrete sets you need to support the post with a couple of timber battens propped at either side.
     
  5. Continue with the remaining fence posts
    Carry on working along the fence line, making sure each post is upright and aligned properly, and give the concrete time to set before you attach the fence rails and panels.

 

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