The depth of your post holes–and how well the posts are anchored–are the most important factors in the stability of your fence. If you do not get the post holes deep enough there is a greater potential that your fence can be blown over. Before digging your fence post holes, call 8-1-1, the national Call-Before-You-Dig hotline, to start the process of having all underground utility and communication lines marked on your property. This will help you to avoid interrupting services or potentially putting yourself in danger.
Essential Tools and Materials
Post lengths for fences start at 8 or 10 feet for a 6-foot-tall fence. They are commonly four-by-fours, which measure approximately 3 1/2 by 3 1/2 inches, or six-by-sixes, at around 5 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches. These are the approximate dimensions for standard milled lumber; rough-sawn posts tend to be larger and measure closer to their nominal sizes. The typical panel height on a privacy fence is 6 feet, and the standard panel length is 8 feet.
Post holes can be dug with a post-hole digger and shovel, or you can use a power auger. An auger is a drill-like machine designed to dig out post holes in hard ground.
The width of your post holes should be a minimum of 10 inches wide, if you’re using four-by-four posts and filling the holes with concrete. Dig your holes about 8 inches in diameter if you’re using the same posts and backfilling with soil and gravel. One rule of thumb is to make the holes three times wider than the post width, or about 10 1/2 inches for four-by-four posts.
Not all fence installers use concrete to set the posts, but the vast majority do. Concrete provides the most strength for your posts. An alternative method is to backfill around the posts with soil and gravel, tamping each layer firmly as you go. This method makes it easier to replace a post in the future if it breaks or splits.
Panel Post Depth
The minimum depth that you should dig your fence post holes for panel sections is 2 feet. A general formula is to dig the holes one-third to one-half of the post’s aboveground height. The deeper you dig the holes, the more stability your fence has, but you must also purchase longer posts.
Many builders use 8-foot posts and bury them about 2 feet deep in concrete, leaving a small margin for trimming the tops of the posts to the finished height after the posts and/or the fence panels are installed. Using 10-foot posts allows for deeper burial and leaves more wiggle room for trimming the tops.
Post Hole Depth for Gates
The minimum depth for gate posts is 32 inches. The reason for the greater depth is that the posts must be able to handle the weight and the movement of the gate. Gate posts also should be set in concrete for stability. The movement of the gate will loosen your posts — and cause them to lean or eventually break — if you do not anchor them in concrete.
Mixing Your Concrete
Your concrete should be a standard gravel mix. Most homeowners use dry concrete mix sold in bags, but you can also order ready-mix delivered by truck for very large jobs. Bagged concrete commonly comes in 40- and 60-pound bags. If you’re using four-by-four posts and have holes that are 10 inches wide by 2 feet deep, you’ll need about three and a half 40-pound bags or two and a quarter 60-pound bags for each hole. It’s a good idea to overfill the holes slightly and smooth the top of the concrete into a dome that helps shed water away from the post.
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How deep should a 8 foot post be in the ground? ›
How Deep Should a Fence Post Be? For an average fence post, about 6 to 8 feet tall, prepare to dig a post hole about 2 feet deep. To install a fence post, you'll need a shovel or post digger, a 6-foot level, soil, and gravel or crushed stone. For gateposts, you'll need concrete too.Is 18 inches deep enough for a fence post? ›
The general rule of thumb when setting a post is that the depth of the post's hole needs to be one-third to one-half of the actual above-ground height of the post. So, a six-foot-high finished post ideally needs to be buried three feet into the ground.Is 2 feet deep enough for a 6-foot fence? ›
As a general rule of thumb, you'll need to place at least 1/3 the height of the post in the ground. For example, a 6-foot tall fence will need at least 2 feet of post in the ground.How big of a hole do you need for a 4x4 fence post? ›
The diameter of your post hole should be three times the diameter of your post. So, if you're planning on using a four-inch round or 4x4-inch square post, your post hole will need to be 12 inches in diameter. For a six-foot-high fence post, we would need a hole that's 36 inches deep and 12 inches in diameter.How deep does a 4x4 post need to be in the ground? ›
Dig post hole so diameter of the hole is 3 times the width of the post (i.e., the hole for a 4” wood post should be about 12 inches wide). The depth of the hole should be 1/3-1/2 the post height above ground (i.e., a 6-foot tall fence would require a hole depth of at least 2 feet).Do I need gravel at bottom of post hole? ›
DO Employ a Base Gravel Layer. If a fence post fails without any sign of a pest infestation, it's likely that the failure was caused by moisture that rotted the wood over time. To help slow such deterioration, add pea gravel or crushed stone to the bottom of the posthole.Can you put dry concrete in a post hole? ›
Fast-setting concrete is ideal for setting posts because there's no mixing—you simply pour the dry concrete from the bag right into the hole, then add water.Should fence posts be set in concrete? ›
It doesn't matter if it is a do-it-yourself (DIY) project or a professional installation, wood fence or vinyl fence, your fence posts should be set in concrete. Without a properly set concrete footer, your fence posts will begin to sag until they eventually fail.Can a fence post be 1 foot deep? ›
For a 6-foot fence, for example, you need a 9-foot post, so that 3 feet can be underground. This means that unless you are building a 2-foot fence, which is unlikely in any garden, a 1-foot hole will not be deep enough to support your post. For main and gateposts, you should dig the holes an additional 6 inches deep.How long should a 4x4 post be on a 6 foot fence? ›
Calculate the post lengths
If you're setting wooden or concrete posts in concrete you'll need 8ft (2.4m) posts for a 6ft (1.828m) fence – i.e. your posts are 2ft (0.6m) longer than the fence height. Use 4in x 4in posts for fences of 5ft and over and 3in x 3in posts for anything under 5ft.
How do I keep my fence posts from rotting in concrete? ›
Fill with Gravel or Concrete
Fill the hole around your fence post with gravel or concrete, 2 to 3 inches above the ground. The choice is yours. Gravel helps keep moisture from the fence posts, slowing the rot.
At least 2 bags per fence post, sometimes more depending on the size of the hole and the post.How many 60 lb bags of concrete do I need for a fence post? ›
For reference, a 40-pound bag of concrete typically yields about 0.3 cubic feet, a 50-pound bag yields 0.37 cubic feet, a 60-pound bag yields 0.45 cubic feet, and an 80-pound bag yields 0.6 feet. This means that in the example above, each post would require about eight 50-pound bags.How many bags of quikrete do I need for a fence post hole? ›
Summary: How Many bags Of Concrete Per Fence Post? 1 – 4 bags of concrete per fence post are typically what's needed. This depends on the type of soil, fence design, height, post size and bag weight. In general the depth of the post's hole needs to be 1/3 to 1/2 of the above ground height of the post.How deep should a 7 foot fence post be? ›
Lawsons experts recommend you should dig a hole which has a depth of 2 ft (24 in / 600mm) to ensure you have a stable timber or concrete fence post.How long will a treated 4x4 post last in the ground? ›
If properly treated and installed, pine fence posts can last for 20–35 years; untreated pine posts might only last 3–7 years.How much cement do I need for a post hole? ›
Prepare and wet the hole
It should be twice the diameter of the post and one-third of the post depth. Now thoroughly wet hole and make sure to avoid 'pooling' of water at the base. Add 100mm of Rapid Set Concrete to the base of the hole before placing post.
A somewhat unusual use for rocks is as weights to hold wooden or metal fence posts in place.Is concrete or dirt better for fence post? ›
Dirt is a natural absorbent and will become the posts best hope. All concrete does is trap the residual moisture that was soaked up and creates a breeding ground for fungal decay which creates living organisms called rot. Rot is a hungry/hangry living organism.Can you just pour water on quikrete? ›
Whether you are building a new fence, setting a mailbox or anchoring a basketball goal or play set, QUIKRETE® Fast-Setting Concrete is the ideal product for the job. With Fast-Setting Concrete there is no mixing or tools required – You simply pour the dry mix right from the bag into the hole, then add water.
What happens if you put too much water in concrete fence post? ›
When a concrete mixture is too wet, it causes a greater amount of shrinkage during the drying process than is needed. As a result, the concrete has a great likelihood of cracking and for those cracks are likely to be a fairly good size.What is the easiest way to dig post holes? ›
You can use a post hole digger or power auger to dig the hole. A post hole digger is a manual tool and will get the job done in average soil. If you have hard, rocky soil or a lot of roots – you may want to opt for a power auger. Many home improvement stores have them available for rent.Can I use regular quikrete for fence posts? ›
Overall, the 50lb Quikrete Fast Setting Concrete Mix is what I found works best for installing a fence post. It's easy to work with, sets fast, and is very strong.Can you set fence posts in dirt? ›
For example, a 6-foot tall fence would require a hole depth of at least 2 feet. -Next, fill the hole with gravel or sand. This will help to support the fence post. -Finally, insert the fence post into the hole and fill the hole with dirt.How long will a fence post last in concrete? ›
Concrete is as sturdy and durable a building material as you'll find. With just a minimal level of maintenance, concrete fence posts can last for around 25 years. However, they are not immune to wear and tear. Over time, wind and rain can cause concrete posts to chip and crack.What happens if post is not deep enough? ›
If you don't Get below the frost line, that post will jack right out of the ground and fall over in a year or two. 3 feet is standard, unless your climate is really cold, then usually 4 feet deep.How tall should deer fence be? ›
Woven Wire Deer Fence
Total height of the fence on flat ground should be at least 76 inches. On sloping ground a few inches should be added to the uphill side of the enclosure. Adult deer in good condition can actually jump a 76 inch fence but generally do so only when chased.
The general rule of thumb is that your fence posts needs to be two feet longer than the total height of your fence - including a gravel board, if you're using one. A 6ft fence requires an 8ft fence post.What is the easiest fence to install yourself? ›
But, a chain link fence is one of the easiest fencing materials to install yourself. Similar to the wrought iron fencing, chain link fences come in pre-made panels and you simply need to hook them up to the posts once they're installed.How far down should you place 4x4 8ft wooden post? ›
As a general rule, an 8 foot post needs to be placed so that two feet of it are in the ground. If you plan to anchor the post in soil, the hole diameter should be as close to the fence post size as possible.
How far apart can 4x4 posts be? ›
The two most common sizes used for deck posts are 4×4 and 6×6. When using 4×4 posts, place them no more than 6 feet apart, and when using 6×6 posts, no more than 8 feet apart. The reason for these standards is that the railing system won't have proper support if the posts are too far apart.How long does a pressure treated fence last? ›
Equally as popular, fences built with Pressure Treated (PT) lumber are a great choice that can last a very long time. True to the name, PT fences are treated to protect the wood from external influences. Generally, a well taken care of PT fence can last as long as 20-25 years.Will pressure treated posts rot? ›
Pressure-treating can make wood water-resistant, but it's not 100 percent rot-resistant. Any time the wood moves, bends, or cracks, water can enter. While this may seem worrisome, the key is to keep the water away.Does concrete prevent wood rot? ›
With concrete holding the moisture against the wood, wood has no chance and will eventually lose the battle. Now you don't have to lose all hope because it's for certain that the concrete around the post will crack, therefore making it easy to pull out when it starts to rot.How heavy is a 8ft concrete fence post? ›
The 8ft long (2.440m) intermediate post has a section size of 94mm x 109mm and weighs approximately 44kgs.How deep should a 8 foot fence post be? ›
How Deep Should a Fence Post Be? For an average fence post, about 6 to 8 feet tall, prepare to dig a post hole about 2 feet deep. To install a fence post, you'll need a shovel or post digger, a 6-foot level, soil, and gravel or crushed stone. For gateposts, you'll need concrete too.How long does concrete take to set in a post hole? ›
A partial cure, enough to rely on for some strength, takes 7 days and will sustain small loads successfully. A full cure takes 28 days to attain full strength. If the concrete drys out at any stage, it will stop curing and will not gain any more strength. The curing process will restart if water is reapplied.How big of a hole for 6x6 post? ›
A 6x6 post requires a 10"-diameter hole. Shovel a 6" layer of gravel into the hole to provide drainage.How long does quikrete take to dry for fence posts? ›
QUIKRETE® Fast-Setting Concrete sets in 20 to 40 minutes. Wait 4 hours before applying heavy loads to the post, such as a basketball backboard. (If the temperature is below 72 degrees, additional time for curing will be required.)How do you sink a post in concrete? ›
- Dig the hole. Make it three times the width of the post and one-third to a half the length of the post. ...
- Put the post in the hole. Level the post and fill the hole with Quikrete Fast-Setting Concrete Mix within 3 to 4 inches from the top of the hole.
- Pour water in the hole. ...
How deep should a 4x4 fence post be in the ground? ›
The depth of the hole should be 1/3-1/2 the post height above ground (i.e., a 6-foot tall fence would require a hole depth of at least 2 feet).Should fence posts be 6 or 8 feet apart? ›
The standard spacing for fence posts is 8 to 25 feet apart, depending on the type of fence. A standard wood fence would require posts 8 feet apart, while a high-tensile wire could span 25 feet.How tall should a 8 foot fence post be? ›
For our 8-foot (2.4-meter) fence, we need a hole that's 3-feet (91.4-centimeters) deep and a 12-foot (3.7 meter) post [source: Rona].How deep should a 7ft post be? ›
The general rule is when setting a fence post into the ground, the height required above the ground should be divided by 3 and this figure is the hole depth required.How long should a fence post be for an 8 foot fence? ›
120 inches. Fence posts shall consist of one of the following for a fence over 6 1/2 feet to eight feet: four-inch by four- inch or four-inch by six-inch wood post, or 2 3/8-inch diameter steel pipe with a wall thickness of0.How long does quikrete take to set in a post hole? ›
QUIKRETE® Fast-Setting Concrete sets in 20 to 40 minutes. Wait 4 hours before applying heavy loads to the post, such as a basketball backboard. (If the temperature is below 72 degrees, additional time for curing will be required.)How many bags of quikrete do I need for a post? ›
Summary: How Many bags Of Concrete Per Fence Post? 1 – 4 bags of concrete per fence post are typically what's needed. This depends on the type of soil, fence design, height, post size and bag weight. In general the depth of the post's hole needs to be 1/3 to 1/2 of the above ground height of the post.Should fence posts be evenly spaced? ›
Installing fence posts: Measure twice, dig once
Typical spacing is right around 8 feet between each post however different circumstances may call for different measurements and it is not uncommon to have spacing between posts reach up to 10 feet.
At least 2 bags per fence post, sometimes more depending on the size of the hole and the post.Why can you only have a 6 foot fence? ›
If you live in a residential area, your backyard fence can be no higher than 6 feet tall, and your front yard fence must be under 4 feet. The shorter front yard fence restrictions are for the safety of drivers as well as neighborhood kids and pets.