When it comes to installing a new steel fence, be it in Melbourne suburbs, or somewhere in Regional Victoria, there are few things you should know about. The emphasis is on installing new fence or gate posts. Posts are the foundation that will carry your fence or gate for years to come, and you want to make sure that during the installation you have done everything correctly, so in the future, you won’t need to spend time and money to correct any mistakes that could have been avoided in the beginning.
Diamond Fence, being one of Melbourne’s trusted steel fencing companies, we will concentrate on steel fence and gate posts. Most of the tips can be applied to wooden posts as well, with a minor modification.
Quite often, fence posts fail to last as long as initially planned, or desired. Some posts can last 3 years, some 3 decades. What’s the difference? A lot depends on the climate (exposure to rain, moisture, sun, salt, etc), the material of the posts, and from the way the posts have been installed, which is oftentimes the reason posts fail to last longer, and they corrode at the base.
When installing steel posts, your best decision would be to use galvanized steel posts. In our last post, we talked about why should you use galvanized chain wire, but the same kind of galvanized protection applies to fence and gate posts as zinc coating, applied during the galvanizing process, will add the protective layer that will help to fight the corrosion. Yet, even when using galvanized steel fence or gate posts, the life span of these posts can vary drastically.
A very good example is sports fencing. Sports ground installations, be it for a soccer field or Aussie rules football ground, might be affected by constant moisture. How so? These fields are watered quite often, especially during the warmer weather, hence making the fence and fence posts opened to constant moisture and corrosion that is much higher than the actual surrounding environment. This is where you can see the failure of posts, and most often it is found at the ground level. How so? The reason, in addition to the constant exposure to corrosion, is the fact that incorrect concrete application has been used. Concrete around the posts has to be domed to eliminate from water pooling around the posts, but very often it has not been done.
Here are some tips when it comes to installing your fence post.
TIP 1: Be wise when it comes to choosing your steel posts as you do get what you pay for. We mentioned that galvanized steel posts have much higher protection against corrosion, but it also depends on the thickness of the zinc coat applied during galvanizing. For example, if the zinc coating gets scratched deep enough, or damaged in some other ways, the metal base underneath will become exposed to corrosion. The service life of the galvanized steel fence, or gate posts, is in direct relation to the thickness of the galvanized coating.
TIP 2: Digging the holes for your posts that have the right depth. Before you even start digging, make sure you have marked at the right distance where your fence or gate posts should go. A good way is to use spray paint for marking as it’s easy to use and will last until you hit the shovel into the ground. Also, make sure you have permission from your council, and that you are aware of what lies underneath the surface. There might be surprises like cables for gas or electricity.
How do you know how deep should your post holes be? Some factors will play part in your fence or gate posts’ stability. These factors are the height of the fence, wind loading, and also soil type. When it comes to soil, you have to make sure that the bottom of the soil is adequately compacted. This is important for weight-bearing support. Also, keep in mind that the top soil layer is not included in your footing depth.
An example, the solid depth for a chain wire fence is 800mm by 300m wide footing.
TIP 3: Prepare posts for concreting. How? Start with choosing the right steel posts that have been galvanized, as we’ve stressed before. According to the Australasian Wire Industry Association, the application of an epoxy mastic paint 100 to 200mm above and below the ground level mark on the post will help to prevent contact with any moisture or soil build-up at the base of the post. Another recommendation is to that the bottom of the post should be situated 40mm minimum from the bottom of the concrete footer.
Why is concrete such a critical element in preventing from the corrosion of the steel posts? It’s because that same concrete bed helps to prevent the contact between soil, moisture and the bottom of the pipe. Also, as mentioned previously, the top of the footing must be domed to eliminate the water from gathering around the posts.
TIP 4: Levelling the posts. Once the posts are in the ground, it’s time to level them. It’s important to get them into the ground straight. You can use a spirit level to check how straight they are.
TIP 5: Before setting the posts, you have to make sure of your own safety. Looking after yourself means protecting your eyes and skin because cement products are alkaline and can cause burns. Also, when you are exposed to the sun, be smart about it and wear sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. When it comes to lifting heavy objects, like cement bags or heavy posts, make sure you are using a correct lifting technique to avoid any possible injuries.
TIP 6: When setting the posts, read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to prepare the cement. Use the bracing supports for the posts, and only remove them once the concrete has hardened.
TIP 7: Always clean your equipment right after using it because once the concrete has hardened, it is almost a mission impossible to get them clean.
Here are some tips to follow when installing your new fence or gate posts. If that seems like a hustle, you can always turn to us. Diamond Fence has the equipment and experience to do the installation fast and with the highest quality!
Call us on (03) 9753 4566, shoot us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or just get a FREE online quote.