By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Step 1 : Stake out the location
Determine the location for the fence posts. They are usually spaced five to eight feet apart and look best when the intervals between them are evenly spaced. Spans longer then 8 feet are too far and won't provide strength to support the fence sections. After determining the location of the fence, use a string line and stakes to mark the location of the fence posts.
Step 2 : Dig post holes
A post hole digger helps dig the holes which should be at least 24 inches deep. The depth depends on the height of the fence and the depth of the frost line in your area.
The posts should be set deeper than the frost line to avoid heaving. The diameter of the posthole should be about three times the diameter of the post. Fill the bottom of the hole with about 6 inches of gravel.
Step 3 : Set the end posts
Set the end and corner posts in the post holes and then fill the hole with ready-mix concrete. Fill the holes about halfway, then tamp the concrete with a shovel to work out any air pockets. Pour the rest of the concrete into the hole, filling it 1-2 inches above ground level. Use a carpenter's level to make sure the posts are level and check that they are properly aligned within 20 minutes of pouring the cement. After the concrete has had a chance to set up a bit, use a trowel to smooth and slope the top of the concrete away from the post.
Step 4 : Check for alignment
Stretch a string between the end posts and use it as a guide when placing the other fence posts. You can adjust the height of the posts by adding or removing a little gravel from the holes. When all the posts are at the same height, use a carpenter's level to make sure each one is straight. Then fill each hole with concrete. Use a trowel to smooth the top of the concrete so it slopes away from the post and promotes drainage.
Step 5 : Nail on stringers and sections
Let the posts settle in the ground for two days before nailing on the stringers and sections. Use galvanized or rust-resistant nails to attach the stringers to the posts. Then nail on the fence sections to the stringers and posts.
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