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fence post footings

Does anyone have knowledge of the use of pea gravel for fence post footings? I was told that one can use this gravel to fill the entire fence post hole instead of concrete. As long as one tamps down the gravel every four inches to ensure a firm fit it will work just as well for support as concrete, but allow for drainage throughout the entire footing, unlike concrete ... anyone, anyone? I'm looking for actual experience, not theory ...

A. Spruce
Re: fence post footings

IMHO, you'd be better off to dry pack the post with dirt, as gravel will create a "dry well" for water to collect. Also, pea gravel does not compact, so you'd end with a very unstable post.

Post longevity has more to do with the general moisture content of the soil. If it's always wet, regardless of how the post is set, it's going to rot. If it's always dry, or at least can dry out over time, then the post will last for a very long time.

My recommendation is to not use wood at all. Instead, use metal posts such as the Post Master brand of post. Yes, the initial investment is a little more, but it will be a stronger post that will outlive you. This would be particularly important in a wet location.

Re: fence post footings

Thanks for the advice. I already purchased a footing device called Superpost. A 4x4 sleeve that sets in the footing and once set receives the 4x4 post. The sleeve uses a seal around the post to prevent water entering the sleeve. Your idea of just repacking the hole with compacted dirt appeals to me. If it begins to fail over time it will be easy enough to dig out the dirt to reset the posts in concrete ... thanks, again, A. Spruce.

Re: fence post footings

Actual experience here. I fenced my one acre lot in my previous house and used #8 limestone gravel(pea gravel crushed, not river run) and treated wood posts and I drive past my old house 30 years later and the same fence is still there doing just fine and straight as a string.

Re: fence post footings

Use crushed stone --- 1/4 down -- not pea gravel to fill the holes around the posts.
Tamp the 1/4 down as you fill ----an inch or two of pea gravel can go in the bottom of the hole to have drainage under the post.

The 1/4 down is far better than dirt --- packs in like concrete yet allowing some drainage.

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