We know — setting a fence post can seem intimidating. But trust us, finding the best setting option for you is not as confusing as it may seem. Whether you are building a brand new fence or updating and repairing an existing one, one of the most important decisions to make is how to anchor the posts into the ground for stability and longevity.
Depending on the type of soil, the time you have available and, of course, your budget, you have a few different options. Today, we’re going to walk you through two good options so you can figure out what is right for your project.
1. Traditional Concrete
The first, most common and time-tested option is concrete. Concrete is a composite material composed of fine and coarse aggregate bonded together with a fluid cement that hardens over time. Concrete has been used for years to stabilize and (enhance) the longevity of fencing. It is heavy duty and no nonsense. It’s easy to come by and cost effective for big jobs.
Why use concrete?
Concrete is a good option for its strength and viability — concrete tends to have a long lifespan, cutting down future time you might spend resetting your fence post in the future. If your main concern is security, concrete is a no brainer.
Steps to set your fence post with concrete:
Pro tip: you’ll want to dig a 2 feet hole into the ground so that the post can sit 2 feet deep before you secure it with the concrete.
By setting the post 2 feet deep, your post will be reinforced by concrete even beneath the surface and be able to withstand high winds.
2. Expanding Foam
Option two, gaining more popularity each year, is expanding foam. Expanding foam expands and hardens. Most often found in a canister with a spray nozzle, expanding foam is easy to apply in a variety of situations. It generally comes in a two part mixing bag, requires no water and is mostly mess-free.
Why use expanding foam?
Expanding foam is a mostly self-contained system of two bags separated by a seam that when you are completely ready to pour and set the post you burst one of the bags into the other and it combines, while still contained in the bag. You will have to be prepared to act quickly and not get distracted as, after only 15-30 seconds (depending on the brand), it will be ready to pour and begin to rapidly expand and set within 3-5 minutes. You will have this 3-5 minute window.
Though expanding foam is most commonly used as a form of insulation, it can also be used to secure fence posts; it will rapidly increase to 15 times its size to fill around and into all crevices around the post. It is ideal for fencing as it is a light load bearing product, and it boasts being extremely durable and highly resistant to the infiltration of moisture (which could destroy your fence in cold climates).
Steps to set your fence post with expanding foam:
Concrete vs. Expanding Foam: Pros and Cons
Though concrete is a great option, we recommend the new kid on the block: expanding foam. Expanding foam is easier to work with, quicker, and creates an equally solid foundation for the post (and ultimately the fence). As expanding foam expands in all directions, it allows the foam to adhere to anything in the hole, and ensure every crack is filled to security.
So while concrete of expanding foam will do the trick, the pros of expanding foam lead us to believe it to be the superior option, especially for those not wanting to put in the extra elbow-grease concrete provides!