Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

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davebo
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Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by davebo »

I have a pretty big fenced area and about 5-6 years ago, replaced a bunch of posts. This winter, I had another 3 that seemed like they needed to be replaced soon and 2 that were close as well.

I happened to be in a big box store and saw these for sale. I bought a couple of them and tried them on one of the posts and it went from being very rickety to solid. All you do is use a sledge hammer to tap it against the post, drive it into the ground, and then screw it to the post. You can get away with one, but it's better if you do it on opposite sides.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Simpson-Str ... /202563551

Everyone around here replaces posts as they go and I'm really surprised I've never heard anyone mention these things. At least for now, they seem to work great. Is there a flaw with this approach that I'm missing? I was going to go out and buy a bunch just to have on hand.

Only flaw I can see is that sometimes it won't drive through the concrete that the fence post was set in. I did about 6 of them and only had 1 where the concrete got in the way. Even then, you can still brace the post, you just have to come at it with a slight angle.
Soon2BXProgrammer
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by Soon2BXProgrammer »

davebo wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:29 am I have a pretty big fenced area and about 5-6 years ago, replaced a bunch of posts. This winter, I had another 3 that seemed like they needed to be replaced soon and 2 that were close as well.

I happened to be in a big box store and saw these for sale. I bought a couple of them and tried them on one of the posts and it went from being very rickety to solid. All you do is use a sledge hammer to tap it against the post, drive it into the ground, and then screw it to the post. You can get away with one, but it's better if you do it on opposite sides.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Simpson-Str ... /202563551

Everyone around here replaces posts as they go and I'm really surprised I've never heard anyone mention these things. At least for now, they seem to work great. Is there a flaw with this approach that I'm missing? I was going to go out and buy a bunch just to have on hand.

Only flaw I can see is that sometimes it won't drive through the concrete that the fence post was set in. I did about 6 of them and only had 1 where the concrete got in the way. Even then, you can still brace the post, you just have to come at it with a slight angle.
Yes, they work pretty good to reinforce a post. In our experience, we got another 5 years or so out of the fence, as the rot just continues.
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galawdawg
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by galawdawg »

They'd be fine as a temporary short-term fix to delay replacement. But I'm not sure I'd spend $7.00 on a metal reinforcement bracket rather than $10.00-$15.00 on a new pressure-treated 4x4 post and concrete (depending on fence height) to replace the rotting post.
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lthenderson
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by lthenderson »

Agree with others above. I would probably just replace the post. However, I would never set a wood post in a hole full of concrete. When the wet treated post dries out shortly after you purchase and plant it in the concrete, it shrinks and thus turns that hole full of concrete into a glass full of water in which your post is sitting and accelerates the natural process of rotting. You can get a post to last four or five times longer by just tamping the native soils around it tightly with a heavy tamping rod and foregoing the concrete altogether. Compressing the soil around the post tends to keep water away and natural percolation of the soil will drain any big deluges away so your post isn't sitting in water all the time. We have treated posts on our farm set only in soil that are nearing five decades old and still are solid.
Onlineid3089
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by Onlineid3089 »

lthenderson wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:21 pm Agree with others above. I would probably just replace the post. However, I would never set a wood post in a hole full of concrete. When the wet treated post dries out shortly after you purchase and plant it in the concrete, it shrinks and thus turns that hole full of concrete into a glass full of water in which your post is sitting and accelerates the natural process of rotting. You can get a post to last four or five times longer by just tamping the native soils around it tightly with a heavy tamping rod and foregoing the concrete altogether. Compressing the soil around the post tends to keep water away and natural percolation of the soil will drain any big deluges away so your post isn't sitting in water all the time. We have treated posts on our farm set only in soil that are nearing five decades old and still are solid.
I agree that a good job of tamping the ground is preferable to concrete. Have you seen the skid loader attachments for driving fence posts? We rented one to drive old railroad ties for a cattle lot fence a couple years ago. Simply amazing how it can drive something that big straight down. It's completely solid from the start, you don't even disturb the ground around it.
PVW
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by PVW »

galawdawg wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:57 am They'd be fine as a temporary short-term fix to delay replacement. But I'm not sure I'd spend $7.00 on a metal reinforcement bracket rather than $10.00-$15.00 on a new pressure-treated 4x4 post and concrete (depending on fence height) to replace the rotting post.
Interesting location based pricing study - I live in Western PA and the link says it's $8.98 per.
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galawdawg
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by galawdawg »

PVW wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:00 pm
galawdawg wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:57 am They'd be fine as a temporary short-term fix to delay replacement. But I'm not sure I'd spend $7.00 on a metal reinforcement bracket rather than $10.00-$15.00 on a new pressure-treated 4x4 post and concrete (depending on fence height) to replace the rotting post.
Interesting location based pricing study - I live in Western PA and the link says it's $8.98 per.
Steel must be harder to come by, and thus more expensive, there. :confused :beer
Topic Author
davebo
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by davebo »

galawdawg wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:57 am They'd be fine as a temporary short-term fix to delay replacement. But I'm not sure I'd spend $7.00 on a metal reinforcement bracket rather than $10.00-$15.00 on a new pressure-treated 4x4 post and concrete (depending on fence height) to replace the rotting post.
I'm only looking to delay replacing the fence, so it works for me. While the raw materials might be in the same ballpark, the labor definitely is not. Doing the bracket only takes 5 minutes per post. I've never replaced a fence posts, but I've seen quotes from companies that do it. Bare minimum it's $150/post assuming you're doing a bunch at once, but if you're only doing a couple they might charge you $300-$400/post. I just looked it up and This Old House said it would take $50 in material, it can be dirty and tiring, and would take 1-2 hours per post.
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lthenderson
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by lthenderson »

davebo wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:52 pm I just looked it up and This Old House said it would take $50 in material, it can be dirty and tiring, and would take 1-2 hours per post.
If it took 1 to 2 hours to put in a wooden post, I would still be working on that mile of fence I put in one summer as a teenager. I probably had it down to 10 minutes or less. But for someone who hasn't done it before and if that included removing the old post which is attached to the surrounding fence, it is probably that long or even longer.
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lthenderson
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by lthenderson »

Onlineid3089 wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:46 pm Have you seen the skid loader attachments for driving fence posts? We rented one to drive old railroad ties for a cattle lot fence a couple years ago. Simply amazing how it can drive something that big straight down. It's completely solid from the start, you don't even disturb the ground around it.
I guess I'm too old school. I put in probably 25 wooden posts for a fence around my garden in November of last year but did it with a power auger and tamping. It doesn't surprise me though as I have seen them drill geothermal heating tubes using vibrational technology which I am assuming is what is used for the skid loader attachment.
barnaclebob
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by barnaclebob »

davebo wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:29 am I have a pretty big fenced area and about 5-6 years ago, replaced a bunch of posts. This winter, I had another 3 that seemed like they needed to be replaced soon and 2 that were close as well.

I happened to be in a big box store and saw these for sale. I bought a couple of them and tried them on one of the posts and it went from being very rickety to solid. All you do is use a sledge hammer to tap it against the post, drive it into the ground, and then screw it to the post. You can get away with one, but it's better if you do it on opposite sides.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Simpson-Str ... /202563551

Everyone around here replaces posts as they go and I'm really surprised I've never heard anyone mention these things. At least for now, they seem to work great. Is there a flaw with this approach that I'm missing? I was going to go out and buy a bunch just to have on hand.

Only flaw I can see is that sometimes it won't drive through the concrete that the fence post was set in. I did about 6 of them and only had 1 where the concrete got in the way. Even then, you can still brace the post, you just have to come at it with a slight angle.
So you are saying these work in posts set in concrete with rotten wood down in the hole? If so good to know as Ive been replacing about 2 posts a year on my back fence but am already 70% through them.

My previous technique has been to get the longest auger bit i can and hog out the wood with the assistance of a rock bar and small pry bar. It takes about 2 hours per post. This ground is very difficult to dig and pulling the concrete or digging it out would be more work but maybe Ill try building an A frame and using a come along to pull it straight out next time. I've also tried filling in the hole in the concrete with concrete and putting a metal post anchor into that. I would not recommend this for more than 1 post in a row because its not as sturdy.
GrowthSeeker
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by GrowthSeeker »

Thanks for this post. I don't have a fence or any power tools, but I do have a 4" wood post holding up my mailbox. And that post has been broken off by snow from the city's snow plow, fixed, and knocked to a 10 or 15 degree angle. I might see if these gadgets could help.
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megabad
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by megabad »

galawdawg wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:57 am They'd be fine as a temporary short-term fix to delay replacement. But I'm not sure I'd spend $7.00 on a metal reinforcement bracket rather than $10.00-$15.00 on a new pressure-treated 4x4 post and concrete (depending on fence height) to replace the rotting post.
Yeah I feel the same way, around here a SW PT 4x4 post lasts 20 years or so...by that time, usually the rest of the fence is completely destroyed anyway and best to replace everything. If people stained them, they would probably last longer but no one does.
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dratkinson
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by dratkinson »

Covered patio stores firewood and privacy fence/windbreak keeps out windblown snow.

Privacy fence/windbreak developed a few rotted posts and didn't feel like messing with them then. Had some landscape t-posts given to me by neighbor. Used sledgehammer (other end of splitting maul) and pounded 2x t-posts on opposite sides of each broken post as PTF (permanent temporary fix). T-posts are in ground ~2ft, and ~4ft up and along side of rotted posts. Lashed t-posts to rotted posts with polypopyline tree twine. That was a few years ago. So far, so good.
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marcopolo
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by marcopolo »

galawdawg wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:32 pm
PVW wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 4:00 pm
galawdawg wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:57 am They'd be fine as a temporary short-term fix to delay replacement. But I'm not sure I'd spend $7.00 on a metal reinforcement bracket rather than $10.00-$15.00 on a new pressure-treated 4x4 post and concrete (depending on fence height) to replace the rotting post.
Interesting location based pricing study - I live in Western PA and the link says it's $8.98 per.
Steel must be harder to come by, and thus more expensive, there. :confused :beer
Checked out of curiosity.
$4.75 in Hawaii, which is quite surprising since most things are more expensive here.

Seem like an arbitrage opportunity here!
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.
John88
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by John88 »

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Superstrut-1- ... 000182121

I try and remove old concrete, pound a 5 foot piece of unistrut next to the post with 2 to 3 feet exposed, add concrete, and bolt to the post.

I have seen 50 year old fences maintained this way.
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walkabout
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by walkabout »

GrowthSeeker wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:57 am Thanks for this post. I don't have a fence or any power tools, but I do have a 4" wood post holding up my mailbox. And that post has been broken off by snow from the city's snow plow, fixed, and knocked to a 10 or 15 degree angle. I might see if these gadgets could help.
I used something like this to “replace” a broken/rotten mailbox post. It has worked well for 15+ years:

https://www.amazon.com/One-Stop-Outdoor ... B0841GJHVZ

Ours is actually made of plastic. It has a couple of bolts, like the one in the link, to hold the post by tension/clamping action. I also used a lag screw through one side for extra holding power.
ElJefeDelQueso
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by ElJefeDelQueso »

davebo wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:29 am I have a pretty big fenced area and about 5-6 years ago, replaced a bunch of posts. This winter, I had another 3 that seemed like they needed to be replaced soon and 2 that were close as well.

I happened to be in a big box store and saw these for sale. I bought a couple of them and tried them on one of the posts and it went from being very rickety to solid. All you do is use a sledge hammer to tap it against the post, drive it into the ground, and then screw it to the post. You can get away with one, but it's better if you do it on opposite sides.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Simpson-Str ... /202563551

Everyone around here replaces posts as they go and I'm really surprised I've never heard anyone mention these things. At least for now, they seem to work great. Is there a flaw with this approach that I'm missing? I was going to go out and buy a bunch just to have on hand.

Only flaw I can see is that sometimes it won't drive through the concrete that the fence post was set in. I did about 6 of them and only had 1 where the concrete got in the way. Even then, you can still brace the post, you just have to come at it with a slight angle.
You will get some added life. When you do decide to replace the posts I recommend one of the following options:

1) Postmaster galvanized steel post to avoid rot altogether - I have used these to build a architectural horizontal fence - https://www.homedepot.com/p/PostMaster- ... /204841591

2) if using wood posts then use the highest grade pressure treated posts you can get (UC4B or better) and use Post Protectors to prevent rot. I used the following for pergola posts where metal anchors were not feasible - https://www.homedepot.com/b/Post-Protector/N-5yc1vZ9pr
ElJefeDelQueso
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by ElJefeDelQueso »

davebo wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:29 am I have a pretty big fenced area and about 5-6 years ago, replaced a bunch of posts. This winter, I had another 3 that seemed like they needed to be replaced soon and 2 that were close as well.

I happened to be in a big box store and saw these for sale. I bought a couple of them and tried them on one of the posts and it went from being very rickety to solid. All you do is use a sledge hammer to tap it against the post, drive it into the ground, and then screw it to the post. You can get away with one, but it's better if you do it on opposite sides.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Simpson-Str ... /202563551

Everyone around here replaces posts as they go and I'm really surprised I've never heard anyone mention these things. At least for now, they seem to work great. Is there a flaw with this approach that I'm missing? I was going to go out and buy a bunch just to have on hand.

Only flaw I can see is that sometimes it won't drive through the concrete that the fence post was set in. I did about 6 of them and only had 1 where the concrete got in the way. Even then, you can still brace the post, you just have to come at it with a slight angle.
You will get some added life. When you do decide to replace the posts I recommend one of the following options:

1) Postmaster galvanized steel post to avoid rot altogether - I have used these to build an architectural horizontal cedar fence - https://www.homedepot.com/p/PostMaster- ... /204841591

2) If using wood posts then use the highest grade pressure treated posts you can get (UC4B or better) and use Post Protectors to prevent rot. I used the following for pergola posts where metal anchors were not feasible - https://www.homedepot.com/b/Post-Protector/N-5yc1vZ9pr
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Nestegg_User
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by Nestegg_User »

GrowthSeeker wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 10:57 am Thanks for this post. I don't have a fence or any power tools, but I do have a 4" wood post holding up my mailbox. And that post has been broken off by snow from the city's snow plow, fixed, and knocked to a 10 or 15 degree angle. I might see if these gadgets could help.
I wouldn't do that

what I've done for a post box is:

use 6" Spax or equivalent screws to secure a couple of additional 4x4 (small) sections to the side of the post to be removed (these should be placed high enough for a pneumatic jack to be placed under)

place a sheet of steel on the ground under the attached 4x4 and then stick an 8 ton jack between the steel and the 4x4

slowly pressure the old post out of the hole, occasionally hitting the side away from the jack with a sledge/maul to further loosen the post. (I've usually taken the sledge and banged on each side of the post before starting with the jack to initially loosen it). It shouldn't take long to pry the post away; often the new posts can be placed in the existing hole (measure and cut to length before you place it in) and you can then tamp down the soil around it, water it a bit, then a bit later tamp down a final time


(remove the 4x4 and screws for the next one)

It should only take about fifteen minutes (max) to remove a post if the ground is dry (if the ground is too wet, the plate might just be pushed into the ground). I should note that I always pre-prime the bottom of the new post to a bit above flush with the ground, unless I want to do the whole post like I do for normal fence posts.
Last edited by Nestegg_User on Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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baconavocado
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by baconavocado »

I've noticed around here that a lot of new wood fences are being built with the posts set on galvanized elevated post bases. The base is set in concrete and the post is bolted to the base.

Something like this although there are several variations:
https://www.strongtie.com/standoffpostb ... base/p/epb
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Sandtrap
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by Sandtrap »

davebo wrote: Mon Jan 11, 2021 11:29 am I have a pretty big fenced area and about 5-6 years ago, replaced a bunch of posts. This winter, I had another 3 that seemed like they needed to be replaced soon and 2 that were close as well.

I happened to be in a big box store and saw these for sale. I bought a couple of them and tried them on one of the posts and it went from being very rickety to solid. All you do is use a sledge hammer to tap it against the post, drive it into the ground, and then screw it to the post. You can get away with one, but it's better if you do it on opposite sides.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Simpson-Str ... /202563551

Everyone around here replaces posts as they go and I'm really surprised I've never heard anyone mention these things. At least for now, they seem to work great. Is there a flaw with this approach that I'm missing? I was going to go out and buy a bunch just to have on hand.

Only flaw I can see is that sometimes it won't drive through the concrete that the fence post was set in. I did about 6 of them and only had 1 where the concrete got in the way. Even then, you can still brace the post, you just have to come at it with a slight angle.
What an interesting invention.
Randome points:
1. Made of steel and sunk into the ground below grade where it is wet and expected to last for how long?
2. Certainly takes care of bracing the bottom of a wooden fence post (4x4) where the base has rotted away.
3. At a certain point in time, the embedded wood section of the post will further deteriorate and the device will no longer be wedged solidly between cement and wood so will come loose, but maybe not before or after it rusts.
4. It certainly is less work than more permanent alternatives, and likely less expensive.
5. Does add a certain "look" to the fence post.

Fence posts of all types that need to be embedded in the ground have all sorts of issues in the long run depending on material and installation method.
Choose cost and convenience and longevity expectation.

IE: We have several 1000 feet of fencing of various types, from Tee Posts into dirt to 3 inch diameter steel pipes into cement bases, to wood post/cement pier, etc.
j :D

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shortstop12
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Re: Replacing/Fixing Fence Posts

Post by shortstop12 »

When we moved into our first home my father-in-law (a mechanical engineer) and I put in approximately 200 feet of redwood fencing (not pressure treated.) He didn't know if this would help but we also stapled the bottom ends with tar paper. No concrete was used. Forty years later I will be replacing approximately 25% of the posts. Maybe next time if I use pressure treated posts I'll get another 50!
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