How To Set Post Footings For Aluminum Fencing
The strength of any aluminum fence largely depends on the strength of the footings. That is, if your post footings aren't properly installed, your fence won't be as strong. This article explains the best way to install footings into the dirt. If you follow these instructions, you can have a long lasting and sturdy fence, no matter how soft or hard the dirt is:
Digging Your Holes
The first step is to dig nice, deep, and even holes. Using a post digging shovel makes the job easier. If you don't have access to one, just use a normal shovel. Before you begin digging, decide how deep your posts need to be. A good rule to follow is that your footing should be at least 1/3 of the total above ground height of the fence. So a 6' tall fence would need a footing that is 2' deep. In total, you need a 8' long post (2' underground, and 6' above ground). The hole should only be able twice the width of the posts you are going to install.
Often, it is hard to dig deep enough, especially when trying to keep the hole narrow. The soil often gets too hard or wet, and impossible to dig out. You can compensate by digging your hole a little wider. This just means you will need to use more concrete when pouring the footing. It is important to strongly smash and tamp down the sides and bottom of the hole after it is dug. You don't want the dirt to crumble during the next steps.
Pouring the Concrete and Creating the Footing
For the most reliable footings, you should pour the concrete mix and water into the hole. That is, don't mix them together beforehand. At the same time that you are mixing them together, you can set the post in place. This part of the job usually requires at least two workers. One person needs to hold the post level while the other mixes the concrete and water around it. Mixing the concrete directly in the hole will create a stronger footing. The concrete will mold with the dirt around it and the result will be a more permanent bond.
When you have strong and deep post footings, your fence will remain strong over the years. Installing the footings is usually the most time consuming and exhausting part of the entire fence installation project.
Contact an aluminum fencing contractor for more information and assistance.