Installing Cedar Fence Posts

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Preparing for Installation

  • Cedar is a popular wood for fence building because of its resistance to insects and because it is a "green" material. The cedar blends in with almost any landscaping and can be made to look modern or rustic. Before you begin any installation of fencing, there are some things you need to consider. One is the local building code. You will most likely need a permit to construct a fence, and most municipalities have restrictions on how high a fence can be. You will also want to consult your utility companies to find out if there are any underground wires or gas lines buried in your yard. Lastly, check your survey to make sure you are positioning the fence within the boundary lines of your property and not closing off any easements or right of ways.

Measuring and Digging for the Fence Posts

  • The entire area must be measured for the fencing and marked for the posts, no more than six feet apart. The holes for the posts should be 10 to 12 inches in diameter, and the depth will vary depending on the type of fence you are building. A safe rule of thumb is to bury 1/3 of the post and then add 3-to-6 inches for gravel. Use a post hole digger and dig the holes for the post larger at the bottom than at the top. This will serve as an anchor for the post. Place the 3-to-6 inches of gravel into the hole. This will drain water away from the bottom of the post and prevent rot.

Installing the Posts

  • The post ends that are going to be in the ground should be stained and sealed. This will further their resistance to moisture and last longer. You can stain and seal all of a cedar fence, but that will take away from its natural weathering and rustic look of the fence. Start the installation with the end or corner posts. Center the post in the hole and shovel the cement in around it. To keep water from pooling at the ground level, you can crown the cement. That is overfilling the hole and slopping it down with a trowel. Some people don't want to see the cement, however, so another option is to not fill the cement to an inch or two from the top, filling with dirt and tamping it down. Use a post level to check the level and plumb of the post while the cement is still wet enough to work with.
    Tie a string to the top of the end or corner posts and dry fit your line posts. If they are too high or too low, adjust them by adding or taking away some of the gravel. This will give you a nice straight line for your posts. Install the line post in the same manner as you did your corners and ends. Check the level and plumb of each one before moving on to the next.

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  • Photo Credit Jason Antony
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