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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sweetwater, TX
    Posts
    201

    Default Building wooden fence with metal posts - Need material advice

    Hi,

    I am planning on building a wooden fence using these prefabricated 8ft x 6ft panels from Lowes. I have never built a fence before so any suggestions you have I would sure appreciate.

    Either going to use this panel style ($35.97 each)
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_202817-77007...nels&facetInfo=

    Or this panel style. It is more expensive per panel ($44.97 each) so maybe its made better. I think the panels are a little thicker.
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_202844-77007...nels&facetInfo=

    The plan is to lay a ~ 6" wide cement path around the property perimeter facing the street and have the metal posts cemented in place (centered in the ~ 6" wide path). The fence panels will rest on the small ~ 6" wide cement perimeter, or maybe I can space them up by an inch to get them off the cement. I'll weld short pieces of 2" strap to the posts and bolt the fence panels to the strap.

    The thought behind the cement is to keep dogs from digging under the wooden fence and to keep the fence off the ground to prevent termites. The thought behind the metal posts instead of wooden is also to prevent termite damage.

    Any idea how thick the metal posts should be?

    I was thinking of using 8ft metal pipe or square tubing and having about 2ft cemented in the ground.

    I think the square tubing might be easier to put the strap on since it would be flat and give a longer surface to weld to. I would just have to make sure the flat edge lined up when cementing it in.

    I am not sure if 2" square tubing is big enough to handle the fence or if I should go up to 3" or 4". In west texas some times the wind does get up pretty high even in town.

    The steel supply place here has a listing of the material they carry.
    http://www.sweetwatersteel.net/structuralsteel.html

    I haven't taken property measurements yet but I'm estimating the property we will be fencing will be close to 65ft x 100ft.

    Clint

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    WY...armpit of U.S.A.
    Posts
    659

    Default

    Do yourself a favor and head to the nearest fencing supply dealer. They will be able to sell you ready made horizontal connectors for round pipe fence posts that bolt onto the posts after they've been cemented in that will allow for slope variation,though in west Texas that probably doesn't come into consideration, basically just a bottom strap angle with screw holes for fastening your horizontal fence members bolted on with a two strap u-bolt connection that has a slotted pivot for each u-bolt leg. A trip to the local scrap yard provided my own back yard with enough 2" ID pipe to get the job done rather cheaply... at that time it was cheaper than wood. The same seller can also provide you with decorative pot metal caps for that same 2" pipe. BTW, 2" pipe uprights aren't going anywhere any time soon if cemented in!

    Two foot depth for west Texas sounds a bit shallow unless the concrete is placed as a structural reinforcement. As the pipe isn't going to be that much more for another foot each, I'd go at least three foot... better than having to redo the fence after the next storm. Remember, you're talking about some fairly large sails there...

    I tried looking for the hardware I used in a Google photo search and didn't come up with the exact product, probably wrong search parameters, but here is a photo that should give you the general idea. Galvanized dip product as well!!



    Photo of the pipe cap. At that time, 20 yrs. ago, they were less than a buck each.


    EDIT: Finally, I'd think about building my own fencing panels instead of buying ready made. I went with dog eared ceder and it has withstood 20+ yrs. or hard winters and rough summers quite well.
    Last edited by WyoRoy; 01-03-2013 at 10:52 AM.
    Miller 251...sold the spoolgun to DiverBill.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sweetwater, TX
    Posts
    201

    Default

    Thanks WyoRoy for the reply. I figured someone had to make something for round pipes but didn't know what to search for. The pictures help a lot! The pipe caps will certainly be a must for this project as well, thanks!

    With the connectors you mentioned, I think it would be better to go with the pipe then since I wouldn't have to worry about the alignment when cementing in.

    As far as the 2ft depth, I do plan on pouring cement in the pipe hole to secure the pipe in place in addition to having the cement path the fencing would sit just above.

    Do you really think the 2ft would still be too shallow? The reason is getting a hole 3ft deep in west texas soil can be a pain with a post hole digger manually.

    To get 3ft, I'm pretty sure I will have to rent an auger to drill it, and that should work so long as I don't hit hard caliche rocks.

    I just picked 2ft as the depth since I saw the 4x4 wood posts came in 8ft lengths and I figured with a 6ft fence that would leave 2ft in the ground.

    Do you recommend the galvanized pipe over steel for any reason?

    I always thought maybe the galvanized pipe for chain link fencing was very thin walled. Do they make thicker stuff?

    Would the normal galvanized pipe used for chain link fencing be able to support a wooden fence?

    Or would it be better to go with something like this:
    A500 ERW Structural Carbon Steel Pipe
    2" SCH 40 (2.375 OD X .154 wall)

    That pipe is sure expensive though.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    WY...armpit of U.S.A.
    Posts
    659

    Default

    I would have reservations about using the thin walled pipe, tubing, used for chain link fence. It might be okay, but 2" schedule 40 is cheap enough if purchased used. I don't know what you have around your area as far as scrap yards, but the local company provided as much of the 2" pipe I needed at the time for 10 cents a pound...those days are probably dead and gone though.

    I had to rent a gas powered auger when installing my posts. Even had to have a friend and myself sitting on top of the auger to drill some holes due to the hard clay here...as well as pouring water down the hole, waiting, sitting on the auger and repeating on some of them!

    As far as galvanized pipe, I can't say. We used standard Sch. 40 and let it rust to a uniform patina...well it was rusty already. Looks nice enough with the ceder pickets. Probably the same general weather as your area...arid...so further rust doesn't seem to be a significant problem in our lifetime.

    Used a post level when cementing in the posts.


    EDIT: As far as depth, it would probably depend upon your exposure to wind in your back yard. Wyoming is windy...and my memories of west Texas aren't much better in that respect. I used cement in the holes...remember to slope the cement into a mound around the top to drain the water away from the post or you'll be creating problems for later.
    Last edited by WyoRoy; 01-03-2013 at 11:20 AM.
    Miller 251...sold the spoolgun to DiverBill.
    Miller DialArc 250
    Lincoln PrecisionTig 275
    Hypertherm 900 plasma cutter
    Bridgeport "J" head mill...tooled up
    Jet 14 X 40 lathe...ditto
    South Bend 9" lathe...yeah, got the change gears too
    Logan 7" shaper
    Ellis 3000 band saw
    Hossfeld bender w/shopbuilt hyd.
    Victor Journeyman torch and gauges
    3 Gerstner boxes of mostly Starrett tools
    Lots of dust bunnies
    Too small of a shop at 40 X 59.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sweetwater, TX
    Posts
    201

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WyoRoy View Post
    I would have reservations about using the thin walled pipe, tubing, used for chain link fence. It might be okay, but 2" schedule 40 is cheap enough if purchased used. I don't know what you have around your area as far as scrap yards, but the local company provided as much of the 2" pipe I needed at the time for 10 cents a pound...those days are probably dead and gone though.

    I had to rent a gas powered auger when installing my posts. Even had to have a friend and myself sitting on top of the auger to drill some holes due to the hard clay here...as well as pouring water down the hole, waiting, sitting on the auger and repeating on some of them!

    As far as galvanized pipe, I can't say. We used standard Sch. 40 and let it rust to a uniform patina...well it was rusty already. Looks nice enough with the ceder pickets. Probably the same general weather as your area...arid...so further rust doesn't seem to be a significant problem in our lifetime.

    Used a post level when cementing in the posts.


    EDIT: As far as depth, it would probably depend upon your exposure to wind in your back yard. Wyoming is windy...and my memories of west Texas aren't much better in that respect. I used cement in the holes...remember to slope the cement into a mound around the top to drain the water away from the post or you'll be creating problems for later.
    Thanks for the tips WyoRoy! I didn't know they made a post level tool. That will certainly be better than trying to use a single level. I'll check the stores here for that.

    Glad to here you used Sch 40 pipe. That answers my question about using thin galvanized pipe.

    I do know of a scrap yard here, never thought about them getting pipe though since this isn't an oil field town, but I'll check and see what they would sell it at if they have any.

    With the experience you had with the auger, it sounds like I'm going to have to go that route as well since the ground here is so hard. I guess I will look into rentals on that too.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Bossier Parish La.
    Posts
    544

    Default

    If you are going to have a 6" wide concrete perimeter footing under the fencing to keep the dogs from digging under, consider renting a trencher(Ditch Witch) to make the footing for the concrete. Then you can trench Down into the ground 8-10" at least(I would do 12"), this will make it harder to dig under, and you won't have to build forms. After trenching, then auger the post holes and set the posts after removing all loose soil. This way all the perimeter footings and post holes can be poured in one pass to tie all of it together. This will provide more support for the posts, too. You will probably need a cement mixer(purchased,rented or borrowed), unless you have the cement delivered by truck. I would run 2 or 3 runs of rebar thru the footings to help prevent cracking and break up of the concrete. You could tack weld them rebar to the posts to hold them,(posts and rebar) in place while the concrete is added. If you have the concrete delivered, have some help on hand to help spread and finish the concrete in a timely manner. You don't want that stuff setting up in the truck because you wore yourself out trying to do it alone. Have everything ready BEFORE the truck arrives, preferrably before you order it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Wa
    Posts
    542

    Default

    That's sure sounds like a lot of concrete. 80# bags do not go as far as you would think. Going to be expensive and a whole bunch of work if you plan to mix yourself (even with a mixer). Just something to think about. And you may want to just bury some kind of wire mesh instead of the concrete wall to save time and money.
    Last edited by Cgotto6; 01-04-2013 at 08:37 AM.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Sweetwater, TX
    Posts
    201

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Cgotto6 View Post
    That's sure sounds like a lot of concrete. 80# bags do not go as far as you would think. Going to be expensive and a whole bunch of work if you plan to mix yourself (even with a mixer). Just something to think about. And you may want to just bury some kind of wire mesh instead of the concrete wall to save time and money.
    I know it does sound like a lot to me too. Other than keeping pets from digging out the cement is to keep the fence from contacting the ground to prevent termite damage in the long run. Will help with edging too I'm sure since I'd rather edge around cement than a fence that I will be damaging with the weed eater string.

    Just not sure how deep I will have to go with the cement to prevent it from cracking if I were to bury mesh wire and do cement above.

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