A Properly Set Fence Post
While fence installation methodologies vary, it is pretty much agreed that a properly set fence post has a properly mixed concrete footing. The consensus of how to make that footing… well…seemingly varies depending on who is telling the story.
Concrete is a composite construction material composed primarily of aggregate (sand & stone), cement (most commonly Portland cement) and water. Concrete should not be confused with cement, because the term cement refers to the material used to bind the aggregate materials of concrete. Concrete is a combination of a cement and aggregate. Most fence companies either mix the individually purchased materials, cement, aggregates and water, or they purchase prepackaged bags containing the cement and the aggregate. These bags are commonly marketed as Quickrete or Sakrete.
Thorough mixing is essential for the production of uniform, high quality concrete. For this reason equipment and methods used, should be capable of effectively mixing the concrete materials. In other words, in order to attain a proper concrete mix, to deliver the strength and longevity needed for your fence installation, one SHOULD MIX THE QUICKRETE , WITH WATER, PRIOR TO PLACMENT IN HOLE.
There are many fence companies and fence installers that place the post in the hole, pour the dry mix of Quickrete in the hole and then pour water over the top (pictured right). Some do not even to bother adding water choosing instead to let some future rain mix the footing. Many of these installers truley believe that what they are doing is pouring a proper concrete footing . However, those in the concrete industry who know, will strongly disagree.
According to the Quickrete Data Sheet, the proper method for setting a post hole states: “Position the post, checking that it is level and plumb. Combine concrete mix with water and place into the hole.” Furthermore, in their warranty, they state: “The QUIKRETE® Companies warrant this product to be of merchantable quality when used or applied in accordance with the instructions herein.” So basically, even they will not warranty the integrity of their material if not mixed properly. The Sakrete company says the same.
No matter how much one tries to defend the practice of dry packing, the bottom line is you just can not properly mix the cement and the aggregate, with the water, once you have placed the dry mix in the hole. You most definately do not have a proper footing, and worst yet, you no longer have a warranty from the manufacturer.
We here at Infinity Fence Inc. do not cut corners. We ALWAYS mix the Quickrete or Sakrete in a wheelbarrow (or other container), with water, and then pour the properly mixed concrete into the post hole achieving maximum strength and quality, ensuring a strong, long lasting footing.
If you see your fence contractor pull up on you job site to set posts, and there is not a wheel barrel to be found, hoses hanging from the truck racks, YOU ARE NOT getting a properly installed fence.