08 Mar Tips on how to perfect installing a wooden pole
How do you set a wooden pole in the ground? Well, it’s vital to keep it stabilised and make sure it won’t rot too quickly in the setting. If the soil you are putting the poles in is dense, then you may be able to install them without the use of concrete.
When erecting a wooden fence, you want to make sure that the main posts are set firmly, and the same applies to other poles used for alternative purposes outdoors.
Take a look at the tips below on what to do (and not do) when planting a wooden pole:
Installing a wooden pole in soil or gravel
This method can be used if you have very dense soil, but with good drainage. It requires a bit more labour and might be less stable than with concrete, but it is cheaper and the posts can last longer than those set in concrete, as water drains off more easily.
- Make sure to use posts made from very durable and CCA-treated wood. It must be suitable for “ground contact”.
- Treat the sawed-off exposed ends of the wooden pole with a preservative to extend the life of the post. Allow enough time for it to soak in, and follow all safety precautions.
- Dig a hole that will allow about a quarter to a third of the post to be below the soil surface. If you’re planning to just use soil, make the diameter of the hole very close to the size of the pole. If you’re using gravel, make it a bit wider. Retain some of the soil to fill up the hole again later.
- Add gravel into the hole for improved drainage. Stomp it down with a stick or tamping bar.
- Place your wooden pole in the hole so that it’s straight and level with the other posts in the fence or structure.
- Get an assistant to hold it steady or consider securing it with stakes and screws to keep it in place.
- Add crushed stone or soil around the sides of the pole to fill the rest of the hole. Compress the stones after each batch is added. If you want to plant grass around the post, use soil for the last layer.
- Make a small hill at the base of the post which slopes in all directions.
Installing a post with concrete
If you are planning to set your wooden pole in an area that is sandy or has loose soil, you will require additional stability to secure it. It would be a good idea to use concrete with a pole that needs to take pressure from attached poles, i.e. a gate post with a fence attached. Concrete can trap water around the base of the post however, so it is important to use it in a way that still facilitates drainage to prevent the decay of the poles.
- Again, use a pole made from very durable and CCA-treated wood. They must be suitable for “ground contact”.
- Dig a wide hole. For a standard fence pole, the hole should be about 30cm wide and the depth should allow for about 1/3 of the post to be below the soil. Don’t forget to add extra space below to accommodate the base. You can use a post hole digger or post driver to help create the hole.
- Add about 10-15 cm of gravel to the base of the hole to increase the drainage ability.
- Position the post in the hole and drop two stakes into the soil next to the pole. Nail or screw two pieces of wood between the stakes and the pole. This is just a temporary measure to keep the pole in place until the concrete has set.
- Repeat this process for all poles that require a concrete base.
- Add an additional layer of gravel around the base of the pole.
- Mix your concrete mixture.
- Fill the rest of the holes around your poles with concrete, up to the soil level.
- Trowel the concrete into a sloped shape so that it slopes downwards from the pole. This aids drainage by allowing the water to run off from the pole.
- Allow at least three days for the concrete to set before you continue building the fence or putting any weight on the pole.
- Seal the gap between the pole and concrete with a sealant that bonds to concrete and wood.
Tip: Do not enclose the base of the pole completely in concrete as this will cause water to collect there and the pole to rot.
Feel free to contact us if you need any more tips or advice on how to set a wooden pole correctly. If you need poles for any outdoor building purposes, contact us on https://www.primepoles.co.za/#contact.