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I want to set some 6x6 posts in the ground using Quikrete. They recommend using the fast-setting product (1104) without mixing, which I prefer because it's much easier than hand mixing in a wheelbarrow. But the high-strength mix (1101) is much cheaper. I'm not in a hurry so I don't mind the slow curing time, I just want to save money. So is there any reason not to use the high-strength product the same way without mixing?

From the high-strength datasheet:

Start by digging the post hole about 3 times the diameter of the post. Hole depth should be 1/3 the overall post height. Place 6 in (150 mm) of dry concrete mix in the bottom of the hole. Position the post, checking that it is level and plumb. Mix QUIKRETE Concrete Mix with water prior to placement into the hole. When standing water has evaporated from the concrete, smooth the surface. Taper it away from the post so rain will flow in that direction. Wait 24 hours before post is subjected to any strain. For load-bearing applications, follow local building codes for proper footing specifications.

From the fast-setting datasheet:

  1. Place post into hole and temporarily stand straight. The hole diameter should be 3 times the post diameter. The depth of the post hole should be one-half of the above ground post height.
  2. Pour dry mix into the hole until it is approximately 3" - 4" (76 - 102 mm) from the top.
  3. Pour water into the dry mix until the powder is saturated with water. Depending on soil conditions, this will require about 1 gallon (3.8 L) of water per 50 lb (22.7 kg) bag. For holes deeper than 2' 6" (0.8 m), place the material in lifts of 2' 6" (0.8 m) or less to allow water to soak all the way through.
  4. Fill the remainder of the hole with soil dug from the hole. This product sets in 20 - 40 minutes. Wait 4 hours before placing heavy objects.

Price at Home Depot:
Fast setting $6.51 for 50 lbs
High strength $4.11 for 60 lbs

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  • Your prices indicate that the high strength costs about 75% more for equal weight. Not mixing is a waste of the possible result if mixed .vs. the inferior result if dumped in dry and wetted without mixing.
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 23, 2022 at 0:36
  • You said..."But the high-strength mix (1101) is much cheaper." My math says it's more expensive.
    – RMDman
    Sep 23, 2022 at 1:50
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    For best results, use products according to their instructions. It appears the "fast setting" formula is calibrated to be able to do that. Does not mean all concrete is. Sep 23, 2022 at 6:25
  • Sorry, I swapped the prices in my post. Fixed now.
    – Elliott B
    Sep 23, 2022 at 15:04

1 Answer 1

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We installed fence posts nearly 30 years ago by placing the post in the hole then dumping a bag or two of "regular" (i.e. the cheapest available at the time) concrete mix in the hole and watering it. (We also live in Indiana where it rains enough to grow crops without watering, so there was plenty of water available in the soil to set at least the outside layer of the concrete.)

We have one post that's a little bit wobbly, and that's the one closest to the tree roots, so I'm putting the wobble down to tree roots, not concrete or wood failure.

If these posts are only supporting a fence, then I don't see it making much difference what method or type of concrete mix you use. If they're supporting something more life-critical (like a 2nd floor party deck with hot tub and room for 20 of your closest friends and family), then this isn't the place to cheap out (financially or labor wise), and you should use the appropriate method (no matter the cost or labor involved) to ensure life is protected.

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  • 6x6 is one heck of a fence post, so it probably is something that needs a proper footing...
    – Ecnerwal
    Sep 23, 2022 at 15:26
  • I would agree, @Ecnerwal, but one never knows. It could be a 6' or 8' privacy fence.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 23, 2022 at 15:30

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