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I have an entranceway between my house and a wall. There's a concrete walk in the center with small patches of dirt on each side. I want to put a wooden gate across with the posts sunk in the dirt. This morning I dug down on the wall (hinge) side and hit the wall's footings 9" down. The above-ground height is 45", so I was hoping to get down 24". I also read two experts' opinions that concrete isn't necessary and can increase the chance of rot. I'm using cedar 4x4s and planning on attaching them to the walls (stucco) with lag bolts. I'm in Southern California, so no frost line. I estimate the gate will weigh 35-40 pounds. My question is: if I pack the post in gravel and bolt it to the wall, will 9" be deep enough to keep the post level?

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are you able to attach the post to the house securely enough that house itself is proving the support and the post is, essentially, just a spacer? –  mike Aug 26 '13 at 4:17
    
The house side will be the latch side of the gate, so lag bolts should be strong enough for that. –  davide Aug 26 '13 at 4:53
    
my mistake. well, if the hinge post can be attached securely enough so that it is merely an intermediary, then you are good to go. –  mike Aug 26 '13 at 5:50
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Does the hinge side post have an underground obstruction or not? If so, is there something else to secure the top of the post to? –  wallyk Aug 26 '13 at 6:06
    
The wall footings are 9" down on the hinge side. The only thing the top of the post could attach to would be the wall. If lag bolts in the stucco aren't enough, what would I use to attach to the wood underneath and how deep would I have to go? –  davide Aug 26 '13 at 14:57
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up vote 1 down vote accepted

The really professional way is to set a bracket in concrete, then bolt-through the posts to the brackets. While slightly more $ (cost of bracket and bolt) and more effort, this will give you a long life solution that is easy to maintain over time. The concrete for the bracket should be 24-30" deep, 8" diameter for posts of this size.

Setting the post in concrete will give longer life than simply setting teh post in the dirt. It is good to slope the top of the concrete away from the wood post so that rain does not puddle next to the post.

Some of us (who have been doing this for years) now also trim the top of the post at an angle, so that water is more likely to run off the top of the post rather than puddle.

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That makes sense, but what about the wall footing 9" down? Is putting concrete on top of it good enough, or do I need to do something else with it? –  davide Aug 27 '13 at 0:18
    
@davide If the footing extends out far enough to be a complete blockage going down, then the only "right" way would be to anchor to the foundation itself (e.g. drill a couple of holes, and epoxy in some pieces of rebar or other metal), so the new concrete will be tied to something big and solid. If it is possible to dig down, around the footing, do that. This will make a decent piece of concrete to set a bracket into. –  samsmith Aug 27 '13 at 0:41
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