How to Split Concrete for Split Rail Fence Posts

When it comes to installing a split rail fence, setting the posts is a crucial step in ensuring it’s stability and longevity. While there are various methods to accomplish this, using concrete is a popular choice for it’s durability and ability to withstand the test of time. However, as concrete tends to be permanent and challenging to remove, some prefer to avoid it altogether. In this guide, we will explore how to split concrete for split rail fence posts, providing an alternative solution. By using six inches of gravel at the bottom of the post hole, you can ensure proper water drainage and prevent wood rot, making it a viable option for those looking for a less permanent installation method.

Are You Supposed to Concrete Fence Posts?

Setting fence posts in concrete helps to ensure that they remain strong and sturdy for the long term. The American Standards for Testing Materials (ASTM) recommend using cement to support fence posts, as it provides a solid and secure foundation. Without concrete, the posts may become unstable and susceptible to shifting or leaning over time.

Concrete acts as a strong anchor, keeping the posts upright and preventing them from tilting or leaning. This is particularly important for split rail fence posts, as they rely on a straight and level structure to create a solid barrier.

It adds weight and stability to the base of the posts, making them less likely to be affected by these elements. This ensures that the fence remains intact and secure, providing the necessary protection and privacy.

In addition to stability, concrete also offers durability to the fence posts. It protects them from moisture and prevents rotting or decay, which can weaken the posts over time. By creating a strong and waterproof barrier around the base of the posts, concrete acts as a shield against environmental damage, ensuring their longevity.

When installing split rail fence posts, it’s essential to follow proper guidelines and techniques to achieve the best results. This includes digging the post holes to the recommended depth, reinforcing them with gravel or compacted soil, and pouring concrete around the base of the posts. By taking these steps, you can ensure that your fence is solid, level, and able to withstand the test of time.

Alternatives to Concrete for Setting Fence Posts: Explore Other Options for Stabilizing Fence Posts, Such as Using Gravel, Soil, or Specialized Post Anchors.

When it comes to setting fence posts for split rail fence, concrete is often considered a popular choice for it’s durability and stability. However, there are alternatives worth exploring if you prefer not to use concrete. One option is using gravel, which can provide decent stability. Another alternative is using soil, especially if you’ve a hard-packed or clay soil that’s naturally more stable. Additionally, there are specialized post anchors available in the market that offer an alternative to concrete by providing a strong and secure foundation for the fence posts. These anchors are designed to be driven into the ground and can offer excellent stability for your split rail fence. So, while concrete is a common choice, there are alternatives to consider depending on your specific needs and preferences.

When it comes to choosing fence posts, the longevity factor certainly weighs heavily on the decision-making process. Concrete posts, known for their resilience against moisture and insects, have the potential to endure for decades, surpassing the lifespan of their wooden counterparts. While opting for concrete posts may entail a higher initial cost, the long-term durability they offer makes them a worthwhile investment.

Do Concrete Fence Posts Last Longer?

Concrete fence posts have a distinct advantage over their wooden counterparts when it comes to longevity. Due to their robust nature, concrete posts are virtually impenetrable by dampness and aren’t vulnerable to being chewed up by insects. This means that they’ve the potential to last for several decades, far surpassing the lifespan of wooden posts.

They’re incredibly sturdy and can support the weight of heavy fencing materials with ease. Unlike wooden posts, they’ll not warp or rot over time, ensuring that your fence remains straight and secure for years to come.

Concrete posts also provide enhanced security. The solid construction acts as a deterrent to potential intruders, as it’s difficult to break or cut through. This can be a reassurance if you live in an area with a higher risk of burglary or vandalism.

However, there are a few drawbacks to consider when opting for concrete fence posts. Firstly, they’re heavier and more difficult to handle during installation compared to wooden posts. This can make the installation process more time-consuming and labor-intensive. Secondly, concrete posts can be more expensive upfront, which may deter some individuals from choosing this option.

While they offer unparalleled durability and longevity, the extra cost and labor involved in their installation may be a factor to consider.

How to Choose the Right Size and Length of Concrete Fence Posts for Your Project.

  • Consider the purpose of the fence
  • Determine the fence height
  • Check local building codes and regulations
  • Evaluate soil conditions and climate
  • Assess the weight and structure of the fence
  • Calculate the post spacing
  • Select the appropriate post material
  • Choose the correct diameter and length
  • Consult with professionals if needed

Installing a split rail fence requires careful consideration of post depth and diameter. To ensure stability, it’s recommended to dig holes that are about a third as deep as the height of the posts. For instance, a 6-foot post should have a hole that’s at least 2-feet deep, with an additional 4-inches for gravel. The diameter of the hole should also be three times the width of the post. Remember to leave a few inches between the bottom rail and the ground for proper installation.

How Deep Do Split Rail Fence Posts Need to Be?

When it comes to installing a split rail fence, one important consideration is the depth of the fence posts. The depth of the holes you dig to install the posts will determine the stability and durability of your fence. As a general rule, it’s recommended to dig holes about a third as deep as the posts are tall.

For example, if you’ve 6-foot split rail fence posts, you should aim to dig a hole that’s at least 2 feet deep. This depth will provide enough support to keep the posts upright, especially when they’re subjected to heavy winds or other forces.

In addition to the depth, it’s also important to consider the diameter of the hole. To ensure a sturdy and secure installation, the diameter of the hole should be approximately three times the width of the post. This will allow for enough space to fill the hole with gravel and concrete, providing further stability.

As you dig the hole, keep in mind that the bottom rail of the split rail fence should generally remain a few inches above the ground. This will prevent the wood from coming into direct contact with the soil, reducing the risk of rot or decay. By leaving a small gap between the bottom rail and the ground, you also allow for better drainage and air circulation, which can be beneficial for the longevity of your fence.

For 6-foot posts, this would mean a depth of at least 2 feet. Additionally, the diameter of the hole should be three times the width of the post, and the bottom rail should be a few inches above the ground. These guidelines will help ensure a stable and long-lasting installation for your split rail fence.

How to Properly Set and Level Split Rail Fence Posts

  • Measure and mark the locations for your split rail fence posts.
  • Dig holes at each marked location, making sure they’re deep enough for stability.
  • Place a split rail fence post in each hole, ensuring they’re level and upright.
  • Backfill the holes with soil, firmly packing it around each post.
  • Check the posts again to ensure they’re still level.
  • Secure the split rail fence posts with concrete or gravel, if desired.
  • Attach the split rails to each post, making sure they’re evenly spaced.
  • Inspect the fence for any unevenness or loose components.
  • Make any necessary adjustments or repairs to ensure a level and secure fence.
  • Consider adding a protective sealant or stain to prolong the lifespan of your split rail fence.
  • Maintain your fence, periodically checking for any damage or wear.


In conclusion, when it comes to setting split rail fence posts, it isn’t necessary to use concrete. However, it’s highly recommended to use 6 inches of gravel at the bottom to facilitate proper water drainage and avoid wood rot. This method not only ensures the stability of the fence posts but also promotes longevity by preventing moisture accumulation.

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