How to Set Metal Posts in Cement
Fence posts are installed in the ground so that wood or metal fencing such as chain link can be attached. Used around homes, farms and commercial properties, fences can keep animals in an area or unwanted visitors out. Metal fence posts are typically round and 3 to 4 inches in diameter. It is often necessary to set metal posts with cement to make sure they are stable and capable of supporting your fence.
Measure the length of the metal fence post with a tape measure. Determine the height of the metal or wood fence to be attached to the post or estimate the length of post needed for stringing barbed or electrical wire. Subtract the length needed for the fence from the total length of the post to determine the length of the post to be secured in the ground. Secure at least 2 feet of the fence post in the ground for stability.
Put on a pair of work gloves and dig a hole in the desired location for your metal fence post. Dig a hole to the necessary depth as determined based on the overall length of the post and height of the fencing to be attached. Add 6 inches to the depth of the hole so you can add gravel beneath your post. Dig the hole so it's at least twice the diameter of the metal post.
Place 6 inches of gravel in the bottom of your hole for drainage. Place the metal post so it sits securely in the bottom of the hole atop the gravel and is centered. Shovel or pour 8 to 10 inches of gravel into the hole around the post. Pack in place with a heavy tamp or the handle of a shovel.
Use a level on two different sides of the post to determine if your post is vertically straight in the hole.
Pour quick-set concrete around the metal post up to a point that is 3 to 4 inches below the surface of the ground. Add water based on manufacturer's directions or, as a rule of thumb, to completely moisten the concrete. Apply only enough water to thoroughly wet the concrete without it turning to the consistency of cake batter.
Allow the concrete to cure and dry for at least 10 to 12 hours. Then cover the top of the concrete with dirt until it is level with the surrounding ground.
Keith Dooley has a degree in outdoor education and sports management. He has worked as an assistant athletic director, head coach and assistant coach in various sports including football, softball and golf. Dooley has worked for various websites in the past, contributing instructional articles on a wide variety of topics.
- fence image by ann triling from Fotolia.com