When you’re installing a new fence, one of the things you’re aiming for is a stable structure. There’s really no point at all in installing a fence that’s going to give way not long after it’s been erected.
One of the things that a lot of people do wrong when installing a chain link fence is not anchoring the posts with concrete. Now, I will point out that there are methods for installing this type of fence without using concrete but it’s not recommended by experts.
In this guide, I’ll be looking at why it’s important to use concrete for your chain link fence posts, how to install the fence without concrete and some other important pieces of information.
Is Concrete Really Necessary For A Chain Link Fence?
The thought of having to mix and apply concrete can make you roll your eyes. It increases the length of time the project will take, will cost more and requires a lot more hard work on your part. For these reasons, many people decide to skip it but is that a mistake?
If you’re only installing a temporary chain link fence then I’ll be honest, you won’t need to bother with concrete.
However, if you want your structure to remain secure, stand tall and last for a long time then anchoring the posts with concrete is one of the best ways to achieve this. Yes it might be more work, but it’ll save you having to perform remedial jobs down the line.
There are some people that will only use concrete on the corner and end posts as well as gates. While this will improve the stability to a degree, there’s still a good amount of scope for movement so you won’t be helping yourself by doing half a job.
However, you will also need to think about the type of soil in the area you’ll be installing the fence. This plays a very significant role in how stable the fence will be and how much movement you’ll get.
If you have very sandy soil then this is one of the best situations for not using concrete. However, it’s still important to use a polymer backfill as this will further increase the stability of the fence and will allow for better drainage.
On the other hand, if the soil has a high clay content, you’ll find that concrete is a must. Since clay goes through a lot of expansions and contractions when it rains, this encourages movement with the fence posts and greatly affects the stability.
How Do I Install A Chain Link Fence Without Concrete?
If you absolutely have to install a chain link fence without concrete then there are a few things I’d urge you to consider. The overall installation isn’t any different; it’s just that you won’t be pouring any cement.
However, you will need to make sure that your chosen post hole digger can make holes of at least two feet to allow for the greatest stability. If your fence is higher than six feet, ensure that the posts go down into the ground one third of the height of the fence.
When inserting the fence posts, be gentle as hammering them too hard can cause them to bend. Any remaining space within the hole should be backfilled to ensure the greatest security and a firm fit.
Choosing the right backfill material is also something you’ll want to mull over. For example, if you have clay-based soil then gravel is one of the best options. But in sandy soil, this should be avoided.
If you choose to use gravel then you’ll need to make sure that at least one third of the fence post is buried and add at least five inches of your chosen gravel. Make sure it’s well compacted and then add a further five inches on top.
A polymer backfill is a great option as these products are designed to be used for fence posts where concrete has not been used. They’re also brilliant as they will promote better drainage so there’s no need to add gravel.
In order to use these products, you will need to make sure that the hole is twice the width of your post and again, a third of the length deep. In areas that often have heavy frost, polymer backfills are a great choice especially when using a bell-shaped post hole digger as this is the best combination to prevent shifting of the posts throughout the seasons.
Chain link fences are a popular option but have you ever seen them drooping and bending? That’s likely because the posts have not been correctly anchored which can cause the fence to move and weaken.
To prevent this, you should always use concrete to anchor the posts. The only real exceptions to this is if you’re only looking to create a temporary fence or if the soil is very sandy. In this case, you may have greater success just using a polymer backfiller and ensuring the post holes are the correct depth.