Find out how to prevent fence rot. Learn why you should avoid concrete and how to install fence posts to promote drainage and prevent rotting.
LESLIE: Will in Utah needs some help with a fencing project . What can we do for you?
WILL: Yeah, you guys talked about decks and how to take care of them. How do you take care of a fence ? I’ve got a fence that some of the posts are starting to rot in the ground. I was just wondering if there is a preventative way, without having to rip all the fences up and redo them – the posts.
LESLIE: So it’s the posts and not the pickets?
WILL: Yeah, it’s the posts in the middle that holds the others up.
TOM: And the posts are rotted ?
WILL: Yeah, they’re starting to rot and in heavy winds they’re starting to – the whole fence is starting to come down.
TOM: Well, listen, if the post is rotted  we can’t give you a miracle cure for that because that’s the main structural member of this assembly that’s keeping it up. What we can tell you is that if you replace those posts that the best way to do that is without concrete; is to drop the new posts into a carefully cut hole, fill the sides with stone, tamp it down and this way it drains very well and is not likely to rot again.
WILL: So you’re not supposed to use concrete?
TOM: No, because that’s like wrapping sponges around the bottom of the post; keeps it wet all the time. We want to make sure the water drains around it and doesn’t sit next to it.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm. It’s the most common practice and it’s OK to do but eventually you’re going to get this breakdown.
WILL: Alright. Are there chemicals or anything you need to treat the posts with before you put it in the ground or …?
TOM: Well, I would recommend you use a pressure-treated post.
LESLIE: (overlapping voices) Pressure-treated.
TOM: Because that’s just not going to rot ever again.