How to Install Fence Posts
LESLIE: (chuckling) Alright, next up we’ve got Dominic. Welcome to The Money Pit. What can we help you with?
DOMINIC: Yes, want to replace our wooden fence with a vinyl fence and I was wondering about how to install the posts, how deep to go and the quality of vinyl versus wood.
TOM: I think the best way to put in fence posts – and this is, by the way, regardless of whether it’s vinyl or wood – is to use this procedure. You want to dig the hole just a little bit bigger than the post itself. So if it’s a four-inch post you’re going to be looking to do like an eight-inch diameter hole.
TOM: Drop the post down there and you’re going to want to put some crushed gravel around that post and then you’re going to want to tamp the crushed gravel as you go and build it up. The crushed gravel that’s properly compressed, properly tamped, does a much better job holding that post in place than concrete because it drains. It’s not going to be lifting out when it freezes; it drains. And so that’s really the best way to put in a fence post. I’ve done that for years and my fences just don’t move. Once I put them in they stay right there.
DOMINIC: Just compact the gravel.
TOM: Compact the gravel. If you want you can go to a rental yard and rent a tamping iron for a post. It’s a heavy metal bar with a round sort of two-inch plate on one end of it and it makes it really easy to kind of get into that tight space between the post and the outside of the hole.
TOM: And you can tamp it really easily. But if you don’t want to rent one you can just take a 2×4 – like a four to six foot 2×4 –
TOM: – and you can use that; slide that around the post as you tamp it down there. If you’re only doing a few posts I’d just do it with a 2×4. Little more stressful but it works just as well.
LESLIE: Mm-hmm, and you know, Dominic, the other benefit of the vinyl fence is that they look good on both sides.
LESLIE: So it’s never like you’re compromising one side based on what you have to give your neighbors. You know? Because it’s always common courtesy to show your neighbors the nice side of the fence.
DOMINIC: Nicer side, right. OK. Thank you.
TOM: You’re welcome, Dominic. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.