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Wooden fence posts

Hi, we are in the process of having our garden landscaped and I've noticed a possible issue that hopefully somebody can help me out with. We have had wooden fence posts erected that look great, but I’m a little concerned. The base of the posts are touching earth. I have always thought that the timber must not touch the soil otherwise this will promote rotting. If this is bad practice is there a remedy? I thought possibly digging down into the soil base until I reach the concrete then add further concrete until it's exposed on the surface. Any advice appreciated.

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  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,824
    If you do use concrete around the base of posts you need to 'haunch' it, so water doesn't sit on the top of the concrete around the wood. Treated wooded posts rammed directly into the earth last longer than ones in badly finished concrete 'feet'. And the metal spikes that you can get rust though quite quickly as well.

    Best option or longevity is a concrete foot that protrudes above the soil level and which sheds water away from the post. It's not the quickest or the cheapest option and it looks a bit lumpy, so it depends what your priority is.
    “This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic.”
    ― Terry Pratchett
  • Thank you for sharing your knowledge. Yes, I see this exposed haunched concrete method quite a lot online so seems to be the way to go. Do you think adding concrete to the existing concrete until it’s exposed on the surface feasible? 
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 4,087
    I can't think of any reason it shouldn't be possible to add to the existing concrete.  Just make sure to clean off any earth so the surfaces can bond.  The real strength will be in the existing concrete and the new is really to provide a water runoff.
  • Yes, that’s right. Just a water barrier. Thank you for that. It’s clear now what I need to do. 
  • KT53KT53 Posts: 4,087
    For future reference, when the wooden posts do finally rot out - and they will, I'd recommend replacing with concrete and putting concrete gravel boards beneath the fence panels to keep them off the ground.
  • WaysideWayside Posts: 773
    Loads of different opinions on this.  With some people saying don't bother with concrete, just use rammed earth.  I got some second hand fencing and posts.  The two posts that were concreted were rotted through, the other's fine.  But it also depends on your local environment.  Clay soil, with holes dug are like water buckets.  All I know is it isn't fun removing old concrete.  I've come round to thinking no concrete and preferably localish sourced chestnut instead of chemically treated soft wood.  The little concrete spurs seem like a good inbetween solution - but they don't come cheap.  All the cash saved on bags of postcrete, aggregates and other bits, put towards better posts.

    Having said that I've some posts set in concrete, that seem fine.  And I have had one post, set into chalk in a bit of a downhill trap that rotted through.

    I see green oak has become more affordable.  I'm always worried about the sourcing of timber.

    Just swapped out a concrete setted four panel stretch in our garden (only 5yrs old), that again died due to post rot.  And our garden drains really, really well - neighbours had piled loads of crap up against it, that didn't help.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 3,362
    Yup, you got that right KT53, Hubby replaced "our" fence this year, luckily there were already concrete posts, he also used concrete gravel boards, the other side (which isnt "ours" but we have ended up replacing quite a bit, sore point!!!) the post are in concrete have rotted at ground level, he replaced 3 panels once, took him 3 hours to "dig" out the posts with a heavy duty drill, to replace them.
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