This article is part of our Fencing Awareness Month brought to you by Bekaert.
When it comes to building a fence, the first rule of thumb is this: never underestimate the importance of properly planted fence posts. These steadfast sentinels serve as the backbone of your equine enclosures, providing security, stability, and longevity to your fencing project. Fence posts are the unsung heroes of your fencing project. They shoulder the weight of your fence, withstand the forces of nature, and keep your horses safe and secure. A fence is only as strong as its weakest post, so getting this step right is non-negotiable.
Whether your fence will give your horse room to roam, or serve as his daily pen, the art of post planting deserves your utmost attention. Let’s explore the vital role of fence posts and share some tips and tricks to ensure your project stands the test of time.
[Before you start your fencing project read THIS]
Choosing the Right Posts
Wooden Posts: Traditional and versatile, wooden posts offer a classic look and are suitable for most fence types. Cedar and pressure-treated pine are popular choices due to their durability. Opt for treated posts to avoid rotting and weather-related damage.
Metal Posts/T-Posts: Steel or metal posts are highly durable and ideal for high-tension situations, like electric fencing. They’re resistant to rot and pests. However, t-posts can be dangerous if not properly capped to protect your horse from sharp corners.
Vinyl Posts: Low-maintenance and visually appealing, vinyl posts are weather-resistant and can last for decades. This option and vinyl fencing in general is often the most expensive option.
Tips and Tricks for Proper Post Planting
Mind the Depth:
The depth at which you plant your posts is crucial. A general rule is that one-third of the post’s length should be buried. Deeper is better for added stability.
Use Quality Concrete:
When setting posts in the ground to secure a gate, consider using concrete to anchor them securely. Use high-quality, fast-setting concrete mix for a solid foundation. Be forewarned that planting posts in concrete can rot wooden posts and can be difficult to replace posts when needed.
Allow for Drainage:
To prevent moisture buildup and rot, consider setting your posts on a 6-inch base of ¾-inch crushed stone or gravel for proper drainage.
Tamp it Down:
Tamp the soil around the post as you fill the hole to eliminate air pockets and compact the dirt. Use a tamping bar and be prepared to tamp the dirt down a day or so later after it’s had time to settle.
Check for Straightness:
Use a level to ensure your posts are perfectly vertical and in line with your intended fence design. Wonky posts can lead to uneven and unstable fencing.
Protect Wooden Posts:
If using wooden posts, consider applying a protective coating or wrapping the base in a moisture-resistant material to prevent premature rot. Or, buy pre-treated posts that are designed to withstand the elements.
Set the Corner Posts First:
When building a corner, start with the corner posts and work your way along the line. This ensures proper alignment and tension for your entire fence.
Plan for Gate Posts:
Gate posts require extra reinforcement and should be set in a manner that can support the weight and movement of gates.
Why It Matters:
Properly planted fence posts ensure the longevity, stability, and safety of your equine enclosures. A fence with strong, secure posts is less likely to fail, keeping your horse safe from escape attempts and potential injuries. It also minimizes the need for frequent repairs and maintenance, saving you time and resources in the long run.
The foundation of a reliable fence lies in the art of post planting. By choosing the right posts, following proper techniques, and paying attention to detail, you can create a fence that not only serves its functional purpose but also adds beauty and value to your property. So, roll up those sleeves, grab your post hole diggers, and get ready to plant your fence posts with confidence – your horse will thank you for it!