OK, so the first thing we should make clear right off the bat is that this isn’t intended as an exhaustive guide on how to install your fence. These are just a few handy pointers on what to bear in mind as you’re getting the job done. The thing about working with concrete fence posts and garden fence panels is that if you’re missing out on some of the crucial steps, it can make things quite difficult for you – and maybe even dangerous.
We’d obviously like to save you all that hassle here at Welch Fencing – so here are our top tips!
Check #1 – look for underground utilities
It’s understandable to assume that you’d be fairly safe digging in your garden – it’s not like you’re in danger of infringing on anyone’s land, for example. However, before you get that spade in hand, it’s worth double-checking to ensure that you’re not in danger of digging down into any power lines or water mains, both of which can seriously ruin your day if you’re unlucky enough to hit them. You could end up personally liable for cutting power or water to several residences at once, or worse, put yourself in danger through electrocution or similar risks.
Happily, there are quite a lot of online tools that you can use to check in advance, such as Line Search Before U Dig.
Check #2 – make sure you’ve got all the tools and materials you need
There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through a job and finding out that you’ve got to pause what you’re doing and run errands before you can continue. It’s the sort of thing that can turn an afternoon job into a full weekender, and when you’re installing a fence, it can potentially end up slowing you down by days. The job can be taxing enough without having it drawn out even longer!
So, to avoid getting into that position, it’s worth taking an extra few moments to ensure that you’ve got absolutely everything you need. That means all tools, equipment, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and materials like garden fence panels and concrete fence posts. (And of course, anything else you think you’ll need, just to be on the safe side!)
Check #3 – double check your measurements
As with so many DIY jobs, the right measurements are absolutely crucial when you’re doing your fence, as the depth that you’ll need to dig is directly proportional to the height of your fence.
Now, we’ll try not to get too much into the maths, but the numbers do matter. Once you’ve decided on a height you want from your fence (i.e. the distance from the tip of your fence posts to the ground), that specific height will need to be divided by three. That second measurement will tell you the required depth of the hole you’ll need for each fence post. Then, the width of the post hole should be three times the width of each post’s diameter, which will give you room to fill the space with concrete so you can be sure your posts won’t blow down in extreme conditions.
It can all be a little tricky to follow if you’ve never tried it before, so let’s give you a quick example. If you want a fence that’s 6 feet tall, then you’ll need to divide that figure by three to get the hole depth. 6 divided by 3 is 2, so the hole depth will need to be 2 feet. That means you’ll need a fence height that can accommodate both those measurements – so an 8ft fence post is what you’re after.
Check #4 – make sure to check that the posts are square
When you’re installing each fence post, don’t forget to check that each one is square before you move onto the next one. Otherwise you can easily end up with several structural weak points along the entire fence, which can cause you huge amounts of time, expense and hassle to put right.
This is exactly why we always recommend installing your fence posts one at a time. It’ll ensure that every post goes in firmly, and that you get a good tight fit (rather than putting all the posts in first and then trying to slot in the panels and bases afterwards). It’s the easiest and safest way to do it, and prevents many of the risks that an unstable fence may pose – such as being blown down in windy or stormy weather. It might be a bit of a chore at the time, but it’s well worth it in the long run!
Those are just a couple of our top tips here at Welch Fencing. If you have any specific questions or you need more detailed input from any of our experts, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ve got an extensive range of fence panels and concrete fence posts to choose from right here on our website, and you can always drop us a line on 01772 336 476. We’re here to help!