It's fence season!
   Get 5% off your purchase when you use the code SPRING at checkout!
Things You Should Know About Installing Fence Posts

Installing a fence is a series of steps, no matter what kind of fence you're installing. But it all starts with the fence posts, and if you want to get a great result, you need to get this part right.

In this article, we look at some tips for installing fence posts.

Fence Post Spacing

Some types of fence, like chain link and other types of rolled mesh fencing, are fairly forgiving when it comes to fence post spacing. As long as the posts are spaced roughly as recommended, there isn't going to be much effect on the fence for an inch or two (or even more) difference here or there.

Panel type fences, however, like mesh panel fencing, ornamental fencing, pre manufactured wood panel fencing and vinyl fencing, are based on predefined panel sizes, so posts need to be spaced much more accurately.

If you are installing one of these types of fencing, try to have a panel available to get your spacing exactly right, or use a piece of wood or steel cut to the same size as the panel as a "jig" to space your posts.

Fence Post Height

Another big factor when it comes to fence post installation is the height of the fence post. In some cases, like chain link and wood fence, you can cut the tops of the posts if they are set too high, but if you set them too low, it's a lot trickier to fix!

Other types of fence post might have brackets or other features that are at a set height, so you have to get your posts set to the right height in order to get the rest of the fence right.

Since installed fence post height is a big issue, it's a good idea to use a tape measure to check the dept of each hole, or, if you'd rather not measure each one, paint the bottom of a piece of scrap wood a bright color, and use it to measure the depth of each hole. Place your measuring stick in each hole, and check that the brightly colored part matches up with the top of the hole.

Post Installation Options

Most people think that fence posts are always planted in concrete, but there are actually many different options. These include:

  1. Posts planted in concrete footings.
  2. Posts that are pounded into the dirt, either by hand or using a mechanical post pounder.
  3. Posts attached to screw piles.
  4. Base plated posts that are bolted to existing concrete.
  5. "Floating" posts, which are also on much larger base plates, but are not bolted down. (Usually only used for temporary fence systems.)

The type of fence post installation you choose will be determined by the type of fence you are installing, the existing surface and soil type, and several other factors, but if there's any doubt, a professional fence company can help you to make the right choice.

Fence Post Removal

Sometimes, before you can install a new fence, you have to remove an existing one. In this case, you will also need to consider your fence post removal options.

If you can move the fence line (or even change the post spacing slightly), you might be able to avoid removing existing concrete cores. In this case, you could simply cut off the fence post flush with the surface. This is particularly useful when there are very big concrete cores, or they are installed in a surface that might be damaged by removal - like paving that was put down after the fence. Some minor surface repairs might be required to make the surface look seamless, but this is definitely a lower impact option!

If you can't cut fence posts off, you will need to pull the posts, and this almost always requires equipment. Unless you want to dig a large hole around the fence post to loosen it, an option is to use a skid steer or similar piece of equipment to pull out the posts. This can do some damage to plants near the fence line, and if the posts are in paving or similar, there might be some cracking of the surface.

If the removal of your existing fence is complicated, it might be an option to hire a professional, at least for this part of the job.

Fence Post Quantities

Finally, when it comes to things you need to know about fence post installation, there's the issue of quantities.

Generally, the quantity of fence posts you need will be determined as follows:

  1. A post at every end of a fence line.
  2. A post at each side of a gate opening.
  3. A post at each corner.
  4. A post at each major change of direction.
  5. A post at each major change of height.
  6. Line posts spaced at the prescribed spacing along each line of fence.

This might sound complicated, but you can always use our online fence calculators to determine the number of posts you need, and if you still aren't sure, feel free to contact us!