Fence post installation is perhaps the most crucial step in the process of installing a fence. It is important to ensure the posts get installed properly to avoid problems later on in the process, as the distance between posts will dictate how well the fence panels fit; an improper fit can lead to cracking, warping, or even loosening of the panels. Fence post installation will often involve sinking the posts in concrete footings, and the footings must be properly constructed to avoid water damage and heaving during frosts. Remember to research any particular variances between fence post installation of different materials before attempting the construction process.
Concrete footings keep the posts solidly in place and help the posts bear the weight of the fence. When pouring concrete footings during fence post installation, first remember to dig the holes properly. The holes should be deeper at the bottom than at the top. This will prevent the concrete from heaving upward during a frost. The top of the footing should be poured in such a way that the top of the footing is not flat or indented; this will prevent water from pooling on the footing, potentially leading to cracks in the concrete. Remember to dig the hole deep enough to reach below the frost line; otherwise, the footing is likely to heave upward during a frost.
Once the concrete has been poured and the post has been positioned in place, be sure to brace the posts so they do not move while the concrete sets. This is especially important during fence post installation of vinyl fence posts, as the tolerances at which vinyl fences are built make adjustments difficult once the posts are solidly in place. Be sure the posts are set at the proper height as well; otherwise, they may need to be dug up and re-set, which will add to the time invested in the project.
If the fence is being constructed from wood, be sure to choose the correct type of wood before fence post installation. The wood should be pressure-treated to prevent warping, rotting, or bug infestation. Cedar is a good choice of wood because it is naturally resistant to rot, mold, mildew, and bug infestation, but it tends to be more expensive than other types of wood. Once the post is set in place, the builder can cut the post as needed, but if the builder has chosen vinyl over wood, the posts cannot be cut once installed.