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I am getting ready to install a wood fence. My problem is I have soil that is mostly clay. What is the best method to install posts in poor draining clay, giving me the best longevity?

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When I redid my fence 2 years ago, I went with PostMaster metal posts (http://contractors.masterhalco.com/Contract.nsf/woodpostmaster). They weren't substantially more than a good PT post at Home Depot. You can also easily wrap them with a picket so you don't see metal.

I dug the holes about 30" deep, then just drove the posts into the dirt til they were the right height - much easier than cutting them. You could put a couple inches of pea gravel in the hole, but I just did concrete. My hope is that even if I have to rebuild the fence in 20 years, I'll never have to replace the posts.

  • Great suggestion. I wonder if a product like this even needs a dug hole, or if they could be simply driven (assuming an absence of large rocks/impediment) – BrownRedHawk Mar 13 '15 at 19:40
  • @BrownRedHawk - I think you'd want to give it some mass around the base (e.g. concrete). Maybe if you had an 8' post and drove it 4' it'd be okay, but that's a lot of post to drive. And my experience with driving these is that the top deformed somewhat (it was very hard to hit it dead-on) – Drew Mar 13 '15 at 21:46
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I have installed a few posts over the years. I am currently using this method. All my Corner, Gate, H bracing, posts. I applied Drive way sealant on them. 4 feet from bottom. I have 1 foot above ground. 3 feet in the ground. Now... My understanding is todays salt pressure treated wood has a negative chemical reaction to todays concrete. So you get post breaking at the soil/grade level. So my answer is to seal the bottom 4 foot of your posts, with driveway sealant. Put a little gravel at the base of your hole. Add your concrete, and fill to a cone shape above ground. Any input is appreciated. Its a new method for me.

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