Supporting a fence

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Posted by: from Newmarket
9/21/2012 at 8:47:21 PM

I have a customer who has erected a wood fence 5 feet height. In a nutshell, he dug holes and pours cement and added metal saddles (such as are used for deck posts).

Needless to say, there is a lot of play in the posts since the little peg in the cement does not give much support. He is adament that he does not want to disassemble the fence and pull up the poured cement.

So, my question: is there a way to provide support to the posts without having to disassemble, etc.?

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Date/Time9/21/2012 at 9:19:04 PM

You could cement some angled braces and attach them to the posts. Not something I would do because it will look like an amateur did the job and may give you a bad name.

The only way I would do it would be to pull out the posts & concrete. You'll need new posts because the current posts are now too short.

I would charge at least $100 per post, each post could take you 15 mins up to over an hour.

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Date/Time9/21/2012 at 9:43:10 PM

Start over and dig em up or refuse the job. If he is happy with it enough to not start over then you will never be able to please the customer. Does not sound like fun.

Do it right=happy customer. if he does not do it right, let someone else do it and he will probably say I wish I would have listened to him.

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R. from R2 Renovations in Ottawa
Date/Time9/21/2012 at 9:48:32 PM

Quick and simple. No.

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Date/Time9/22/2012 at 12:03:59 AM

The only way to repair is take it apart and reset new poles below the frost line. If he did a good job costructing you should be able to keep the fence sections in one piece making it easy to reinstall. Be sure to measure each section to set the posts in the right spots. Otherwise walk away.

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Date/Time9/22/2012 at 1:07:55 AM

The best is you re-do it and put the posts right into the cement. You use saddles once there is load from above and the post is connected to a member from above, for example building a deck or supporting a beam by a post. Saddle will not give a good lateral support in this case, moreover, you don't see this kind of work anywhere unless it's sloppy.

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Paul from Paul's Contracting in Barrie
Date/Time9/22/2012 at 5:33:57 AM

Hi Brett,

I know home owners don't want to admit they may not have built something well, but it really needs to be pulled out and start again. I can tell he never had a permit for his fence....if you start over, get a permit. Could be his neighbors are getting frustrated as well and may call the city while you're there doing the re-work.

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Kimble & Jamie from JKS Custom in London
Date/Time9/22/2012 at 12:26:47 PM

Wow you have a real mess on your hands. They built it completely wring as you know.

The right way to fix it is to tear it out and start fresh. The only other option you have is to Drill a 1 5/8" hole at least 18" into the exact center of each post and do the same with each cement pad. Then you can insert a 1 5/8" galvanised post into each one. It will need to be at least 1/8" thick. Then drill 1 hole 1/2" diameter in the center of the post 3" from the bottom of the post and another at 12" above that. Then insert a 1/2" x4 1/2" carriage bolt with a flat washer and a nut to help strengthen the assembly.

It's going to be very time consuming but it should work fine. I would get a portable drill press to drill the holes as they have to be perfectly parallel with the posts.

Good Luck!

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Date/Time9/22/2012 at 2:19:12 PM


Dopey people sure can drive you crazy can't they!!!!!

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Date/Time9/22/2012 at 7:48:26 PM

Thanks everyone.

This fence is not the only project I am doing for the customer. Fortunately, the other ones are litterally from scratch so will be done properly.

I am not sure what will be more time consuming: drilling holes as suggested or disassembling the fence and pulling out the existing cement so I can start over. I sent some emails to some post hole companys in the hopes they have the equip. to pull to cement out for me so I can start over.

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Date/Time9/23/2012 at 11:37:28 PM

The only way that it will not look like my 5 year old son did the job is to remove it and start from scratch.

Here on the West Coast we usually go down 24" deep for the posts.

Anything else other than starting from scratch will eventually fall down, look quite bad and will not last long term.

Good luck with the neighbours

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Alexander from Comfort Build Inc. in Toronto
Date/Time9/25/2012 at 9:03:51 PM

There really isn't an easy way out of this, you do need to disassemble the fence in order to fix it, Some of the things that will save you time and back pain are; not digging out the concrete, offset the new post holes between the existing ones, reusing the existing sections is very difficult.

In this situation, you have three options:

-Setting the new posts to accommodate the existing sections which you will never get perfectly.

-Setting the posts into holes and hanging the sections before pouring the concrete while they have wiggle room and then bracing before pouring which is also very tedious

-Setting the posts slightly smaller distance apart then the sections and then trimming the sections for a perfect fit, which may result in an odd section at the end if not done correctly.

Good Luck!

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