Using Dry vs. Wet Cement for Post Installation

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Using Dry vs. Wet Cement for Post Installation

Once you have made the decision to build a fence, there are many decisions you must make. After surveying the land and checking for any buried wires or pipelines, it's time to set the line and get the fence posts set. While it sounds simple enough, this is actually one of the most critical parts of building a fence. No matter what the purpose of the fence may be, it will only be fully functional if the fence posts are set correctly. Here are some tips for building a fence that lasts and getting your fence post right.

Setting the Line

Prior to digging any of the fence postholes, be sure to stake the ground where you want the corner posts to go. You will then run a string between your two stakes, one for each side of the fence.

This will allow you to measure out exactly where your fence posts will be. Depending on what type of fence material you are using will determine the distance between the fence posts. You can then mark off the hole locations with some marking paint. This is why it is important to survey land before building a fence. If there are any slopes or buried pipes and wires, you may have to adjust your fence accordingly.

Once you have your fence post holes dug, next comes installing the posts. There are two main methods of setting a fence post. You can set the posts in either Concrete (wet cement) or in gravel (dry cement). Let's take a look at the pros of each of these options.

Setting Fence Posts in Wet Cement

If you are planning to have the fence in loose soil, or have it in place for a long time, then fast-setting wet cement is the way to go. To use wet cement, after the holes are dug, you want to put in the fence post and pour in the wet cement. You want to make sure that nothing will be putting any weight on the fence posts for 3 to 4 days. This will allow the concrete to cure and really set itself up.

The Pros of Using Wet Cement:

  • • Easy to use
  • • Great for loose dirt and soil
  • • Will create a sturdy foundation that will last a long time
  • • Takes some time to prepare prior to use

Setting Fence Posts with Dry Cement

While using dry cement, or gravel, to set your fence post can be much less messy; it can also potentially be less durable. Dry cement is best suited for soils that consist of a more clay-like composition. It does not do as well as wet cement in loose soil. Another benefit of dry cement is that it will allow water to drain around the fence posts.

Installing a fence post in dry cement is pretty simple. You want to pour about 5 inches of the dry cement into the hole around the fence post and tamp it down. Then repeat this process until the hole has been filled.

The Pros of Using Dry Cement:

  • • Doesn't need to set
  • • You can leave some space around the post for grass to grow
  • • Can immediately have weight put on the fence posts
  • • Allows for drainage of water
  • • Great for clay-like dirt and soil

Correctly setting your fence posts the first time is one of the best ways to ensure your fence will be sturdy and stand up to the elements and animals. By selecting the right kind of cement when installing your posts, you will be sure that you are doing just that.


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