How to Use PVC for Electric Fence Posts

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Compared to traditional wooden pasture posts made of black locust or steel "T" posts, using PVC vinyl posts is a relatively recent trend. PVC is lightweight, will not rot and is easy to cut. The posts are available at many farm supply stores, fence companies or specialty equine merchants. Because they are hollow, they will initially lack the strength of a solid metal or wooden pasture post.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 or more heavy-wall, square PVC vinyl fence posts
  • 1 or more vinyl post caps
  • Shovel, post hole digger or power auger
  • Post level
  • Pea gravel
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or marker
  • Vinyl fence insulators and mounting hardware
  • Drill and bits
  • Screwdriver or drill driver
  • Excavate a hole to a depth of 1/3 the length of the post you intend to set. As an example, if you are using 90-inch posts, dig a hole 30 inches deep. If your soil is extremely sandy, however, or the frost line extends deep into the ground, set your post at a minimum depth of 36 inches to help prevent the post from shifting or frost heaving in the spring. In addition, the diameter of the hole should be about twice the width of the post. If your post is 5-by-5 inches, dig the hole 10 inches in diameter.

  • Stand the post in the hole and begin filling it back in. Wiggle the post periodically to remove any air pockets, and pause occasionally to tamp the soil with the handle end of your shovel. As the hole begins filling, use your post level to ensure the post is perfectly vertical.

  • Fill the inside of the post with enough pea gravel to reach the surface of the soil, which will provide greater stability for the relatively lightweight vinyl post.

  • Mount the post cap atop the post to keep moisture or pests from getting inside.

  • Measure the exposed portion of the post to determine the location for your insulators. Mark the post with a pencil or marker. Center an insulator on the face of the post and mark the locations of the screw holes.

  • Drill the holes for the mounting screws. Make the diameter of the holes slightly smaller than the diameter of the screw shank. Attach the insulators using the mounting screws and your screwdriver or drill driver.

  • Continue setting posts and attaching insulators until your fencing project is complete.

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