Building a wood privacy fence in your yard can improve the use and security of your backyard. But, make sure you install the fence posts appropriately. Here are three tips to help you complete this important part of installing your backyard fence.
Excavate the Hole
When you are digging each of the holes for your fence posts, you want to line them up with one another to ensure your fence will sit in a straight line. This can help the fence be more stable and last longer.
You also want to make sure you excavate each hole to the proper depth. Fence posts that are set too shallow will not give the post and fence its stability, and it may fall down during strong winds. Be sure you excavate the hole for each fence post to a depth of at least one-third the length of your fence posts. For example, if your fence post is six feet tall, you will want to excavate the hole to at least two feet deep. Dig the hole to be 10 to 12 inches wide so there is enough space for the post and your concrete mixture around the post.
Install the Post
Before you place the post into your excavated hole, it can be helpful to treat the outside portion of the post that will sit below ground with a wood preservative, such as copper naphthenate. This prevents the wood from becoming damaged from any moisture and prevents the wood from rotting as a result. Be sure to follow the wood preservatives directions when applying it onto the wood.
After the wood preservative has dried, set the post into the excavated hole and prepare the concrete for installation around the post.
Mix the Concrete
Installing and securing your fence posts within concrete is the best way to ensure the fence's stability. Some fence installers recommend to set each of your fence posts in tightly-compacted soil, but this will not provide the highest durability. Using bagged, pre-mixed dry concrete mix will help you set the posts within your hole and can help the fence last many years.
Mix up the dry bagged concrete one to two bags at a time within a wheelbarrow. Place the concrete at one end of the wheelbarrow and add the appropriate amount of water to the other side. Then, use a shovel or trowel to combine the two together until the concrete has the right consistency of thick oatmeal. Make sure the concrete is not too runny with water visible on its surface, and you don't want it too dry and crumbly. Both of these issues with your mixed concrete will make your set concrete weaker and prone to cracking and failure.
It can be helpful to have an assistant hold the post upright while you add the concrete. Use a level to make sure the post is straight and upright before allowing it to cure.
These three tips can help you install your fence posts to last many years.