Privacy fences are typically built with 4-by-4 wood posts set in poured concrete foundations. While this design works well for fences in dry, insect-free locations, it can be problematic if the fence is exposed to constant moisture or wood-eating insects. The wooden posts eventually rot and break apart near the ground, leaving homeowners with a partially-collapsed fence that will ultimately fail. If your wooden fence post has broken, you can solve the problem by using a metal fence pole to anchor your fence. Below is a list of tools and materials needed, as well as a step-by-step procedure for the job:
What you will need
- 2-⅜ inch diameter galvanized fence post, 8-foot length
- 2-⅜ inch diameter galvanized fence post cap
- Galvanized fence post straps
- 2-inch by 4-inch pine board
- 10d nails, 3-inch length
- Stump remover
- Claw hammer
- Box level
- Lightweight rope and wooden stakes
- Hack saw
- Power saw or crosscut saw
- 50-pound bag of ready-to-use concrete mix
- Thin piece of scrap lumber
- Garden hose
- Measuring tape
- Wood screws
- Electric drill with screw-driving bit
1. Remove the wooden post - With a screwdriver and claw hammer, remove the top portion of the broken fence post from the fence. The post may only be attached with screws or nails, or you may need to remove straps, as well.
The next step is to remove the bottom of the post from its concrete encasement. Depending upon the degree of wood rot and decay present, this process can take a few minutes or much longer. If the wood is still in fairly good condition, apply stump remover to the top of the broken area of the post and allow it to soften the post for a few weeks before attempting to remove it. Once the fence post is soft enough to readily chip apart, use a crowbar to dig into the post and break it into large vertical splinters. Be sure to wear gloves while performing the removal to prevent injuring your hands. Remove all of the wood from the concrete, so the only thing remaining is a box-shaped hole.
3. Prepare and place the concrete form - After the old fence post is removed, the next step is to build a form to encase part of the new post. Measure and cut four pieces of 2-by-4 lumber to a length of ten inches each. Next, arrange the four pieces so they form a rectangular frame, and nail them together with 10d nails. Clear away any grass or dirt covering the existing post foundation, and center the frame over the hole where you removed the old post.
4. Insert and tie down the metal post - Once you have the concrete form in place over the hole in the foundation, insert the metal post into the hole, then loosely tie it down using four pieces of rope and wooden stakes. Use a level to measure and adjust the post so it is perfectly plumb and centered inside the hole. Tighten up the ropes attached to the stakes once the post is in position.
5. Mix and pour the concrete - After you place the post in the desired position, pour the contents of a 50-pound bag of ready-to-mix concrete into a wheelbarrow and add water while stirring with a shovel until the mixture reaches the consistency of very thick soup.
Once the concrete mix is ready, pour it into the space surrounding the fence post, periodically inserting a thin piece of scrap wood into the mixture to work out any air bubbles. Continue pouring the concrete until you have filled the gaps around the post, then pour additional concrete to fill in the space inside the form you made. Allow the concrete to set and cure for at least 48 hours before removing the form and stakes.
6. Attach the post to the fence - When the concrete has cured and you have removed the form, the last step is to attach the post to the fence. Push the fence up against the post and ask a helper to hold it in place. Slip fence post straps around both the top end of the pole and the bottom end of the pole and position them so they are aligned with the crosspieces. Attach the straps using wood screws driven into the crosspieces.
For more information or help with this project, contact a local fence contractor.