Modern Wood Fence – Step 3: Posts

Our fence plan required 19 posts, 6 of which needed to go across concrete to divide our parking area from our patio. We wanted the fence height to be 5′ on the patio side—high enough to create some privacy and division but not too high that our friends can’t peak over and say hi when they arrive for a cook out. We were able to by 10′ 4×4 posts and have them cut in half at Home Depot. Obviously, we needed 3 posts for this. Here’s a sort of before shot, where Jason is checking the height to make sure it’s good. I was standing at our back door to that this shot.

You can’t dig post holes in concrete, obviously. Jason’s had some experience with attaching fences to concrete in the past so he knew stability can be tricky. We found these great E-Z Base post bases at HD that are made just for this purpose. They’re hard to find and a bit pricy (around $15 each) but they work great. Four deep screw holes need to be made with a powerful hammer drill. We found some handy 4″ concrete anchors in the same section at the store.

The trickiest part of using these E-Z Bases was getting them onto the 4x4s. They’re made to fit as tight as a glove for obvious reasons. We found the best technique was to get them partly on the post with our hands and then slam the post and E-Z Base against the ground. It took a few slams but the post would gradually slide down into the base all the way. They’re very sturdy. Jason is making sure they’re straight and level.

The rest of the posts were done the regular way. We have a manual post-hole digger and Jason is a post-hole-digging-machine. He got the 11 holes dug, 2′ deep, in a matter of hours. We got 8′ 4×4 posts for the rest of the fence. With 2′ underground, we’ll still have plenty left to get a level 5′ fence and trim the tops off the posts. Jason bought fence post concrete to put in each hole. (Who knew they made that?! It’s fast setting!) Half a bag of concrete and half a gallon of water was needed for each hole. Concrete is cheap. It dries so fast it and it wasn’t windy so most posts didn’t need any additional support and Jason was able to level them as the concrete was setting.

I helped Jason level and set the last few posts after the sun went down. This is Jason’s third fence building project and he said he finished the posts much faster than he expected.

On to the planks… (Is that the right term? That’s how we refer to our horizontal fence pickets.)

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Step 1: Inspiration, Step 2: Planning

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8 Responses to Modern Wood Fence – Step 3: Posts

  1. Amy says:

    awesome!! this is going to look so great! can’t wait to see the finished product! jason is such a pro, you both are so crafty/carpenter-y!! ;)

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  6. Nick T. says:

    Fantastic work and beautiful homes. You guys really know how to work together! I have a question. How did the structural stability of the EZ base fence post brackets end up working? I have a similiar situation where I need to install some posts on concrete and I wanted to see how strong they ended up being.

    • mahlbrandt says:

      The posts had a little bit more movement than the others that were put into the dirt with concrete in the traditional way but I don’t think it was in any danger of falling down for many, many years. We moved out of the house a year after building the fence so I know it’s still standing but I don’t know much more than that.

  7. Nick T. says:

    Thanks for the quick reply. I’m in the unfortunate situation of having to put up an 80′ fence on concrete. I’m likely going to keep the height to 4′ to keep the loads down. Hopefully these brackets will work. One last question. How did you level them? Since they are in brackets, and the 4×4′s are a tight fit, I assume there is little to no way to level them if the concrete is off. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

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