Cementing Fence Post

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by OX Landworks, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. OX Landworks

    OX Landworks LawnSite Member
    Messages: 49

    I'm going to be setting some vinyl fence post and I plan to cement them in. I was planning on mixing some quickcrete and pouring it in, but I've seen some guys just pour the dry quickcrete down the hole and fill with water. How do you guys do it? And do you ever mix in gravel or screenings with the mixture? Thanks guys!
  2. tylermckee

    tylermckee LawnSite Member
    from wa
    Messages: 248

    Ive seen it done both ways, usually the lazy once just throw it in the hole dry
  3. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Ditto....both ways work. Mixing it wet actually probably sets up quicker but I have had no problems dumping it in dry either
  4. Grass Cake

    Grass Cake LawnSite Senior Member
    from Zone C
    Messages: 303

    This has nothing to do with being LAZY.....it's production!

    Pour it in dry...tamp it good.......build your fence.....water(or let nature take it's course).

    Having to wait for cement to dry is 0 production.

    I've built them part time for 20 years and see little difference when dry packed or wet mixed.

    I also slept at a holiday inn last night...YMMV.

    Grass Cake
  5. orionkf

    orionkf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 122

    I struggle with things like this all the time. People I work with have been know to call me a perfectionist, and too picky. I know just because it takes longer to do something doesn't always make it better. However, if I do it the fast way, I feel like I am not giving it my all, hence shortchanging the customer. Comments from seasoned veterans like the one above help, but in the back of my head, I always think "sure it lasted years, but maybe doing it the hard way would result in an extra 5 years of life".

    Also, extra steps are not always necessary, not worth the extra time, or even counter-productive (see the debate on pre-compacting sand). But sometimes I think, "if I give an extra 5 percent on each step of the process, and throw in an extra step...wow, that's gotta make it a lot better than the next guys. But is the customer going to know or care about any of that?

    I have to constantly remind myself that we do not live in a perfect world, and I'm not making engine parts (which I've done before, which might lead to my tight tolerances on landscaping) I guess the trick is to find a healthy balance, right? However, I've had customers come out and put a level or tape on my work and tell me it was "off by a good 1/4". Most of these people seem to be DIYers with too much knowledge and too little time to do it themselves.

    So, how does everyone decide what their tolerances are? Do your standards and tolerances change with the caliber of clientele? How much do you let things slide when they will be buried/never seen? I find it very helpful to have industry standards such as +/- 3/8" over 10' on your base. There are some people who say they do their 6' fence posts as much as 1" out of plumb to get the tops to line up. I would never do even half that much, but if I knew everybody was playing by the same rules, I would feel more comfortable.

    How much is your company image influenced by the degree to which you exceed the standard, or code? Do you do your projects to look good to the customer, or to be able to stand up to the scrutiny of another contractor? If you do things the fast way, how do you deal with the picky customers? Are there people out there that have tighter tolerances than the product's?

    Sorry for the length of the post, but this is a complex issue for me. Hope to hear other people's insights.
  6. tylermckee

    tylermckee LawnSite Member
    from wa
    Messages: 248

    The couple times ive built a fence i went and set all my posts first, using 2 2x4's and some stakes to hold them while the concrete sets. then came back around after i set the last post and started building, the concrete should be plenty hard enough by then. thats with a stick built fence at least, if i was using panels i might try the dry cement method, otherwise i would have a bunch of 2x4's left over.
  7. olderthandirt

    olderthandirt LawnSite Platinum Member
    from here
    Messages: 4,899

    If its to code and looks good to my customer its good enough for me. My customers are the ones making the referrals, if there happy they will gain you more customers. Don't care what other contractors do or think.

    The code is the rule and the customers are the FINAL inspectors
  8. dcondon

    dcondon LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,246

    Very well said!!! It all comes down to what they like and the payup payup
  9. Drafto

    Drafto LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 442

    Seriously, we are just talking about setting fence posts. We use QC specifically designed post holes. Dump the bag on the hole, dump a gallon of water and it sets in 15 minutes by the time we get to the last post and eat lunch they are ready. It is the red bags in the concrete aisle, I think it is about twice the price of the normal stuff.

  10. Soupy

    Soupy LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,125

    When I built a deck, and a fence at my last residence I just poured in dry and then added water. It worked fine. I can't remember for sure, but I am thinking I might have poured half the concrete then added some water then added more concrete and more water. I was filling 2 ft holes. I used a gas post hole digger for the holes. Like I said it's been a while and not sure how I did it exactly, but I did pour it dry. I did this because that is what my neighbor told me to do and he owns a concrete business.

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