Replacing or installing a fence is a necessary part of home ownership. There are many reasons why you might wish to install a fence around your home or yard. Fences can provide added security, safety for pets and children, and privacy.
There are also a lot of issues that come with having a fence, the biggest of which is maintenance. Over time, fences get old and weak, they begin to rot or warp in the elements.
Sometimes, a storm will come along and speed that process up by snapping a fence post. Replacing fence posts can be expensive and time-consuming.
However, if you install a fence post without the concrete you can save both time and money. In this article, we will look at the different ways you can install a fence post without using concrete.
Benefits Of Installing A Fence Post Without Concrete
There are multiple benefits to installing a fence post without using concrete. The biggest, by far, is the fact that it is significantly cheaper to skip the concrete than to use it.
Not only is concrete an expensive material, but you also need to use a lot of it in order to set a fence post properly. You will need even more of it if you are installing an entire fence or are replacing multiple damaged posts.
Another benefit of installing fence posts without using concrete is that it is significantly quicker than using concrete. This comes from the fact that concrete needs to be allowed time to set and cure properly before you can move on with the rest of the installation.
When you swap the concrete for something else, you avoid this waiting time and can complete the installation much more quickly.
A final reason that people prefer to skip using concrete when they are installing fences and fence posts is that it can be more aesthetically pleasing.
Sometimes using concrete can be somewhat messy and leave visible concrete around the base of the post. This can affect the overall appearance of your yard or fenced area.
How To Install A Fence Post Without Concrete
There are a few different methods that can be used to install a fence post without concrete. Below are some of the most common ways to install fences without using concrete to secure the posts.
Setting Fence Posts With Gravel
Setting fence posts with gravel as a substitute for concrete is one of the easiest ways to set a fence post. Simply backfill the post holes with gravel once the fence posts have been positioned in the ground.
This particular method can be preferable for many constructors due to the fact that you don’t have to be concerned with concrete splitting, cracking, or absorbing water.
By using gravel instead of concrete you actually create perfect drainage around the fence posts.
When using gravel to set a fence post the cost of obtaining the gravel is significantly lesser than that of obtaining concrete. Additionally, you don’t have to spend time mixing and ensuring the correct consistency before setting the post.
The main downside of gravel, however, is that it is much less solid than concrete. No matter how much you pack it down when setting a post, it is liable to move over time which can cause the post to become unstable.
This can be an easy fix and become part of the regular maintenance of the fence. It can also be beneficial for the posts to have some leeway during heavy storms. They are more likely to sway rather than break.
To properly anchor a fence post in gravel, first dig a hole that is deep enough to contain one third of the total length of the post. The post should then be placed centrally within the hole.
You will need someone to help support the post for this part. The remaining space in the hole should be filled with your gravel, the finer the gravel the stronger it will be. It is important to tamp the gravel every 5” to ensure that it is packed down tightly and securely.
As an alternative to gravel, you can also use sand or soil to help secure your fence posts in place. Again, it is incredibly important to remember to tamp the foundation every few inches to ensure that it is stable and strong.
If you don’t do this, the ground surrounding your fence post will be loose and your post will shift and even be susceptible to falling over.
Setting Fence Posts With A Hydraulic Driver
If you have a lot of fence posts to install, for example, if you are erecting a fence around the entire perimeter of a field or large back yard, using gravel can become time consuming.
A hydraulic driver is your best option for doing the job well with as little physical effort as possible. This is not an ideal option for everyone as this is a specialized piece of equipment that is quite large and needs to be attached to a vehicle such as a tractor.
If you have the experience, means, and another person to assist you, this can be a great option for installing a fence on a farm.
Essentially, a hydraulic driver uses hydraulic force to drive the fence posts into the ground. Think of it like a giant sledge hammer of sorts. The best thing about this option if you are able to use it is that it doesn’t require any material such as concrete, gravel or anchors.
Rather, the force of the driver pushes the posts so deep into the ground that they will be secure and stable for a long time.
If this sounds like your preferred option but you don’t own a tractor, driver, or have the experience to use one, you can hire hydraulic driver services to install your fence posts for you. This can become quite expensive though.
Setting Fence Posts With Wooden Post Anchors
Another option for setting fence posts is to use a fence post anchor. An anchor is a small device with a spike on one end with a sleeve to house the fence post on the other. The fence post is fixed into place in the sleeve using screws.
The best thing about using wooden post anchors is that they are incredibly easy to install. Once the posts have been fixed into the post anchors, you can install the post and anchor into the ground.
As with a hydraulic driver, you don’t need to dig any holes or use any materials such as concrete or gravel to secure the posts. To install the posts and anchors in place, you will need an assistant to hold the post in place.
When the post is in position you can use a sledge hammer, jackhammer, or slide hammer to pound the post into the ground.
This will take a significant amount of effort with a manual sledge hammer and will be a lot quicker and easier if you have a third pair of hands to help pound the post into place.
You should level the post every so often as you are pounding it into the ground to ensure that it is straight.
The only downside to this method of installing fence posts is that there are limited dimensions available for the anchors. This means that only a certain amount of posts will fit into the anchors.
If you have posts that are significantly smaller or larger than the average anchor, you will not be able to use this method.
Setting Fence Posts Without A Foundation Or Anchors
It is also possible to install a fence post without any foundation or anchors. Although, it should be noted that this is not the most recommended method.
Installing a fence post with no foundation or anchor to keep it in place means that it is much more likely to shift and move in the ground and in adverse weather conditions may fall over altogether.
Despite the lack of permanence with this type of installation, it is a good option for when you are in a pinch or are simply installing a fence post on a temporary basis.
To install fence posts in this manner you can either simply drive them into the ground with a sledge hammer, or you can dig a small hole for the post and simply refill the gaps with the mud that you removed.
Tips And Tricks
There are a few tips and tricks that can help ensure that your fence posts will be able to stand the test of time when you have installed them.
As with many DIY projects, one of the most important things to remember is to measure properly. If you fail to measure correctly and haven’t left enough room for the fence panels, you have left too much room, you will have to dig out the anchors or foundation.
This can be incredibly frustrating, difficult, and time consuming. Measuring is key.
If you are mostly concerned about saving your time and money, the gravel foundation is the best way to go. Not only is it a very cost-effective option but it is also very easy and quick to do.
While it is easier to do with two people, it is also possible to install fence posts this way by yourself.
There are many ways to install fence posts that don’t involve using concrete. Some are more suited to larger areas such as farms and meadows, while others are great for installing your own fence around your backyard.
With these easy methods you can save both time and money on your fencing.