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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone, especially fence contractors, have any experience installing vinyl fencing?? How deep do you go on a 6' privacy? Do you use the metal sleeves inside? Concrete on the inside? How far up do you go with concrete on the outside? Set all your posts first, then install panels, or do the panels go in as you set your posts? I'd be interested in any feedback. TIA

Orion
 

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When I was in college, I installed much fence. I installed the Bufftech brand of vinyl fencing, among others. The posts came a certain length, and you buried however much you needed to in order to get the right reveal under the fence. You install the posts first. The panels have latch tabs on the rails. You slide the rails into the mortise on one post, and them push them in pretty far, then you align the rails with the mortise on the other post and push the rails into that post until the latch tabs click. Then, the panels is centered up and latched permanently in the posts. You generally concrete within a few inches of grade so you can put a little dirt back to grow grass. We never concreted inside, but the taller types came with steel inserts for the corner, end, and gate posts. The better brands also have steel inserts for inside the bottom rail of each panel, so the panels don't "sag" over the years (which does happen with cheap brands.). Do your brand research first. The last thing you want to do is spend big money on vinyl fencing, and have it sag and look like a broken down horse in a few years. Some brands are also very succeptable to fading over the years is you get one that is a color other than white. This was a big problem with at leat two brands that I'm famaliar with.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
gravel

Thanks for the reply md. So, did you end up burying like 3 feet of post on a 6' fence?

One other question, (to everyone). I've heard here and there about using gravel to set posts, because the post doesn't rot out. I've even seen this on fencing websites. Makes perfect sense, because it's all drainage. My question though, is how stable is the post? Does it stay straight over time? If it's a superior way of setting posts, why would anyone mess with concrete (more expensive, more labor, etc.)

Also, a comment, which people can feel free to respond to: I realize that people don't put the concrete up to the top so that grass can grow, but don't they realize that that will prematurely rot the post?? I've done more post replacements than I care to think of, and without fail, the post is rotted out where it meets the ground. Is this a scam to beef up the post replacement business?

Orion
 

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orionkf said:
So, did you end up burying like 3 feet of post on a 6' fence?
Probably. If you're drilling post holes with power equipment, it makes little difference if your going 2 feet or 4. Admitted, if an obstacle (like an unusually large rock) was encountered, and a reasonable depth had been reached, that particular post did get trimmed off the bottom.

We did gravel set some posts, but that was not the norm. Even when we did gravel set or earth set posts, the corner posts and gate posts always got cemented in. You can get away with gravel and earth setting line posts if you feel the overwhelming need to do so. Not concreting the corner, end, and gate posts is asking for trouble. Farm field fencing uses driven posts, and they are as sturdy as concrete set posts, but nobody drives ornamental yard fence posts.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
mdshunk said:
Farm field fencing uses driven posts, and they are as sturdy as concrete set posts, but nobody drives ornamental yard fence posts.
I can understand their sturdiness, as it is surrounded by virgin soil. I've also heard that on cedar split rail fencing, the norm is to earth set the posts? Any insight as to why that is?

So, are you still in the area that you did all that fencing in? I'm just curious as to the long term affects of different installation procedures.


Orion
 

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orionkf said:
ISo, are you still in the area that you did all that fencing in? I'm just curious as to the long term affects of different installation procedures.
Yes, but I have no clue where most of the jobs were at. Every once in a while, when driving, I recognize something. And yes, pretty much all split rail whether it be pressure treated, locust, cedar, or chesnut gets set in tamped earth to make the posts last longer. Any rocks that were dug out get tamped in hard around the base of the post in the bottom of the post hole.

I'm really not your guy for fence questions, since I only did it for a spell, but I'm happy to answer your questions as best as I can. I probably did mostly chain link during my fencing time. I've been an electrician for the last 15 years. I guess there's just no fence guys logged in right now.
 

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orionkf said:
One other question, (to everyone). I've heard here and there about using gravel to set posts, because the post doesn't rot out. I've even seen this on fencing websites. Makes perfect sense, because it's all drainage. My question though, is how stable is the post? Does it stay straight over time? If it's a superior way of setting posts, why would anyone mess with concrete (more expensive, more labor, etc.)
The proper way and the local standard are 2 different things. :rolleyes:

I've never met a fence contractor yet who did anything in regard to longevity, nor a home owner that cared what the new owner of their house was inheiriting in 10 years. The homeowners who are willing to spend extra money on something as unsexy as a fence post hole as long as they get good use out of it are few and far between.

I'm pretty sure that's the reason you see so much cement and so little gravel set posts.
 

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Mike Finley said:
I'm pretty sure that's the reason you see so much cement and so little gravel set posts.

Can't figure out if you wrote this statement backwards, - - or you're contradicting yourself.
 

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Tom R said:
Can't figure out if you wrote this statement backwards, - - or you're contradicting yourself.
He wrote it correctly. Concrete kills a wooden post in short order by retaining water against the post. This can be mitigated by setting the post on gravel and only cementing around the post, not under it too.
 

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I realize that, - - but he also alluded the homeowner's (and fence contractors) don't want to spend money for longevity, - - (yet we agree 'cementing' costs more).
 

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orionkf said:
I've done more post replacements than I care to think of, and without fail, the post is rotted out where it meets the ground.

Orion

This is where the post will rot first whether you use cement, gravel, both, or neither, - - having to do mainly with the lack (below)or abundance (above) of oxygen.
 

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mdshunk said:
He wrote it correctly. Concrete kills a wooden post in short order by retaining water against the post. This can be mitigated by setting the post on gravel and only cementing around the post, not under it too.

Thanks for the lesson, - - but I've already been doing it that way for 26 years. :Thumbs:
 

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Tom R said:
Thanks for the lesson, - - but I've already been doing it that way for 26 years. :Thumbs:
It wasn't written just for you. Much of the value of these threads is in the searchability for others in the future. My preference is to also cement in the posts. There's a million ways to do anything. I was just offering my observations, which is the best any of us can do. I'm 100% certain you are quite capable, Tom. What the heck do I know anyhow? I'm just a fat-headed, know-it-all electrician. ;)
 

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Wellp, - - let me say this about that, - - once you 'quote' me and give an answer, - - I take for granted you are talking to me, - - BUT, - - at the same time, - - I understand your point. ;)
 

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Understood. The quote was there so that my response was not disconnected from the information that generated the response.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Mike Finley said:
The proper way and the local standard are 2 different things.

I'm pretty sure that's the reason you see so much cement and so little gravel set posts.

I'm sorry, but I'm still a little confused. If gravel is the proper way, and the cheaper way, them why even bother with concrete??
 

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That post confused me, too, - - I'm not so sure that's what he meant to say, - - but mdshunk got it right, - - the best and proper way is with gravel at the bottom, concrete on the sides, and grass on top, - - slope the top of the concrete away from the post.
 

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If you wanted to be really anal, - - you could trowel a slight groove where the concrete meets the post, - - and fill it with silicone or polyurethane caulk. And remember that the 'standard' PT posts sold at the big box stores are only pressurized at .25 (pounds per cubic foot), - - whereas 'ground-contact' PT posts need to be pressurized at .40 (probably providing the explanation as to why you've been replacing so many posts)
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Tom R said:
If you wanted to be really anal, - - you could trowel a slight groove where the concrete meets the post, - - and fill it with silicone or polyurethane caulk. And remember that the 'standard' PT posts sold at the big box stores are only pressurized at .25 (pounds per cubic foot), - - whereas 'ground-contact' PT posts need to be pressurized at .40 (probably providing the explanation as to why you've been replacing so many posts)

Have you ever encountered posts w/ the conc above grade? (and sloping away from the post, of course.) This is the way I was taught.

And actually, cedar seems to be just as suseptible. I always thought that it was because of the dirt surrounding the posts.

What kind of warranty do fences usually get?
 
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