37 Replies to “Should You Put Gravel At The Bottom Of A Wood Fence Post?”

  1. It doesn't make any difference to me. I have clay soil and it holds water really good. I am at the bottom of a hill so water comes to me. I will say my fence has lasted seventeen years and I am at the point where I have some leaning post. I have stained and waterproofed at least 3 times and all of my neighbors fences are in worse shape than mine. One thing that helps is that I keep grass away from my fence bottom. My weed eater did cut into the wood at the bottom of the pickets so I took a laminate saw cut about an inch off the bottom of the fence to make it easier to weed eat under the fence as well. It look much better too. A note about stain. Using a dark stain on your fence looks great when you put it on but after the birds get through with it you might as well have painted it white.

  2. i have watched a million videos about posts and finally, next weekend mine are going in. I plan to use the old fashioned method of prepping the post with motor oil, then dry method concrete. Just dizzy with opinions lol

  3. I wonder if the value of gravel is that it ensures the post is encapsulated by the concrete (provided the gravel is coarse enough). The bottom end being covered in concrete has got to be better than parts of the wood being exposed to the dirt where microbes are and where moisture can wick into the wood.

  4. I have just replaced a fence post at the weekend and it had no gravel at the bottom. Do you know what section of the post was most rotten? The part that was at ground level. The base of the post and about 10 inches above that was in significantly better condition.

    The base of the post was not treated to any preservatives.

    In conclusion, adding gravel or any other substrate to the bottom of the hole is largely a waste of time.

  5. The snow plow will destroy your mailbox well before it starts to rot using any of the methods described.

  6. In my area, treated pine posts are used, I pulled thousands of posts when I worked for a family fence company. They always rotted at the top, never at the bottom.

  7. i got a tip you might look at,what i do from past experiences of what you talk about is easy to solve,what i do is take roofing flashing and tack around my post,the flashing is galvanized so it would take many years to rot that pole,by doing this my post dont rot and i save money buy using landscape timbers as post,this way is easy for me because i dont only have water issue but also ants,the ants here in texas will eat threw you car if you dont watch them lol,on the bottom of post i go straight into concrete,try it ive used it for 30 yrs and never had issue,also makes it easy for weed eating around

  8. In the wet soil with the gravel you have essentially made the water holding area for a dry well, which is not where you want to put wood.

    Now, in a very specific situation near a hill you could run a drain out of the gravel (or, in a mission critical situation, even a pump) and that might work well, but without a drain, yeah, you are making a standing pool.

  9. Don’t have proof of concept for my fencing method (other than last 5 years) which is not long enough. But here is what my data has revealed thus far. I set all my fence posts (except corners) in strictly 3/4 minus gravel 12” dia hole, min 24” deep. I use PT 4×4’s posts and drill a 1/2 dia hole ( east/west) 6 inches from the btm of the post all the way thru and then drive 12-16” long x 1/2” pre-cut re- bar pcs though the drilled hole in the post and center it so rebar is sticking past the post evenly on both sides, then come further up the post about 6” from the surface of the ground and drill another 1/2” dia hole through the 4×4 post but drill the hole (north/south) and drive another 12-16” pc 1/2” rebar so it’s sticking past the post evenly on both sides as well. The idea being the (2) rebar pcs are installed opposite directions of each other. Fill the btm of the post hole with 2-3” gravel and drop your rebar installed post in the hole. Fill the ENTIRE hole with 3/4 minus type gravel to ground level and your done ZERO concrete. The (2) opposing rebar rods in the post act not only as anchors but are highly resistant to wind and uplift from ground movement and remarkably solidly held in plumb and level position year after year. Not saying this is the ultimate solution but from removing one of these 5 year old posts to install a new gate, it looked as good as the day I put it in with many more years ahead of it. Lastly As a data point I installed (3) non- pressure treated pine 4×4 posts in random areas of my 460 feet of property fence line with the same installation conditions listed above, with the following exceptions: Post #1 is treated with the Su-Shugi-Ban method (it’s buried surface is burnt on all (4) sides and btm. Post #2 is treated on all (4) sides and btm with used motor oil/diesel mix. Post #3 is left bare pine and untreated. I put post #3 in a section of fence that will have gate installed in the near future so it will be removed soon to have that done and we’ll see next summer what (6) years of bare wood of reveals.

  10. If you use coarse gravel, wouldn't the poured concrete mix fill in those air spaces in between? – problem solved

  11. The main benefit of using gravel in post holes in low-lying areas isn't for drainage at all; it's to help lock the post in place. It's much more difficult for the post to start leaning when it's surrounded by gravel than it is when it's surrounded by wet soil.

  12. don't use concrete at all because you end up with a post with a cement bucket that gets loose use stone pack.

  13. what if concrete is in an area of freeze thaw? Concrete will crack. Water will seep in and you will still have to replace posts eventually.

  14. First of all use a galvanized metal post and concrete!! Second of all return all wood post back where you bought them and buy more metal posts and concrete!! Thirdly use galvanized brackets and carriage bolts on the brackets, and finally do not use ANY NAILS on your fence. Galvanized screws only!!

  15. I believe in your theory… because I have the same theory… in clay soil… you dig a hole and it because a clay pot…………….. but that is my opinion. The path of least resistance is the key term and a great one to use.

  16. Excellent video – an even more practical point. Either set up – a cemented post ( nice cap design!) will outlive most of us.

  17. Other people that build fences for living never encase the whole post in concrete same with tarring the bottom. They say it rots posts much faster. The posts absorb moisture above ground too. Capillary action and gravity ensures the whole post is wet often. Better nothing or gravel then encapsulation.
    Further most all posts shrink after they dry out and you will always have gaps between the concrete and post were water will run down.
    The only thing that causes most failure is the rot just above ground level. They sell encapsulation wrap (or you could tar just the foot or so at ground level.
    Interesting idea but I never tried it.

  18. I'd rather do the footing put metal square beem let it stick out bout 4 inches slide a post into it with two bolts to go threw pre drilled holes that way when u need a new post unbolt pull the wood post out put new one in bolt it way better and easier to replace down the road

  19. Whether the gravel retains water depends on the type of flow within the soil. If the soil is fine grained with smaller pores than the gravel and you have unsaturated flow, water will not enter the gravel because the water potential is much lower in the surrounding soil than within the gravel pores. If you have saturated flow and the soil is fully saturated around the gravel then it will move in but will then be pulled out again once you enter unsaturated conditions. Water always moves from high to low potential (the least resistance jargon largely comes into play under saturated conditions outside of soil.

  20. For rot to start you need three things, moisture, air and the microbes that attack the wood these three come together at or just below ground level. Putting gravel in the bottom of the hole makes a void for water to collect but if there is little or no air down there them the water will do little harm or even any good.

  21. In Freezing Climates..Wood Posts swell & contract, eventually cracking the cement.
    And Wood Posts always Rot where they meet the Cement. Now, to replace the Post….
    First you must Remove the old Cement. A real chore. Pre-Soak the inground part of wood post…
    In used motor oil mixed 50/50 w-diesel fuel. The Post will Last much longer. This also works as a preservative dark stain on the whole wood fence.

  22. 35 years experience in building decks/docks porches, I concreated one set of porch post in that was the first and last time after then I poured a pillar with a 16×16 box form on top drove rebar in the center then in the 4 corners tied in a couple of other pieces and set the post on top with the main piece of rebar sticking up 4 inches in the center and drilling the post to sit over it never had a problem sense, !

  23. I agree on your gravel theory with one caveat. I'm retire phone guy. We were supposed to put gravel in above ground cable closures. Gravel absorbs moisture,(Prove fact) When the low end of the work force left gravel out, within the sealed closure the open air splice would corrode and cause cable troubles. Gravel in…not perfect but 75% + better. However in Fla we do use gravel for French drains to draw in water and move it in the direction we want it to go. So…take your choice.

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