Using pressure treated posts for run

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by MoonShadows, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. MoonShadows

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

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    I've noticed many people use pressure treated wood (usually 4 x 4's) for the posts in the perimeter of their run.

    How are you anchoring them? Just burying them in the ground? Using metal fence post holders pre-driven into the ground? Setting them in concrete? Pouring footings and setting them on top? Is there a preferred way?

    Are you coating the bottoms in tar? What about long-term decay?

    Thanks for any input you can share.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013
  2. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I just use a post hole digger and cut a 1 1/2 or 2 foot hole. You can add a half bag of cement or you can pack the hole with dirt. If you are in good shape then you can set a dozen poles in an afternoon and then the fencing the next day. If the post is connected to a vertical board up top then I would not mess with adding cement. If it is free standing with a fence nailed to the post then go ahead and add cement to keep the pole straight (I use a level). No need to pour water on the cement. The ground moisture will set the pole solid by the next day (learned that trick from an ol timer fence builder). Treated wood will last at least 20 years or more. It is common practice to angle cut the top of posts so that water/ice flows off. Sometimes tin top caps are added.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Some of the "treated" posts are intended for ground contact and ground burial, while many others are not. If this matters to you, buy the ones intended for burial, ground contact.

    Treating the bottom 2 feet by dipping/soaking a day in additional post treatment (available at TSC and most farm stores) may add some additional value. Our soil is sandy/gravel. Posts last a very, very long time. In other soils, the deterioration is very fast paced, no matter what you do.

    Yes, most folks use a post hole digger. Manual or driven off the PTO of the tractor. An 8' post buried 2' into the ground allows for a 6' nominal post height. Since we use a tractor with a PTO post hole digger to set 80 posts every year, for deer fencing to protect our market gardens, the work goes very, very quickly. Not quite as fast with the old two handle, manual, post hole digger, but they still work. [​IMG]
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    At most Home Depot/Lowes etc, you will also find "pills" as they are called. These are concrete pads that look like a giant aspirin tablet. Drop one of these into the bottom of the hole. These come in 6" 8" 12" and large sizes. This provides a nice wide, stable base for the post. This also is said to provide some "footer", not allowing the posts to sink as easily, over time. You can accomplish the same thing by drilling your holes 3" deeper than needed and then put some rocks and/or quickcrete into the bottom of the hole making a small footer. Back filling with sandygravel and tamp, or back fill with some sackcrete mixed with sandy/gravel to stretch the concrete product.

    There's success and disappointment, perhaps, no matter the precise method used.
     
  5. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Fred has some great thoughts! Just wanted to add that those motorized post hole diggers are pretty bad. We use to use them but they take 2 people and it is like fighting with an "out of control washing machine!" Gave mine away.. Digging by hand is way easier.

    One other thing... Our soils are mostly top soil/clay. Digging holes at different times of the year is VERY different. Duringin the Summer ground is usually dry and hard as concrete. After the Spring thaw is the best hole digging time. What takes a LONG time to chisel during the Summer can be dug quickly and easily in the Spring. Something to consider.
     
  6. MoonShadows

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

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    Thanks for the feedback. I will be digging the post holes in March/April when the ground is softer. The area was filled last year with clean fill that has good drainage. I plan to have 2x4's connecting each post around the perimeter which will be 6' high. I also plan to put a set of posts running down the middle of the run, so I can add gabled roof rafters that will be 7 - 8' high in the center (I don't like that flat roof look). All posts and rafters will be placed 4' apart so I can easily attach 1/2" x 1/2" x 4' hardware cloth starting 2' out from each section, up one side, across the top, down the other side and 2' out.

    From your feedback, looks a manual post digger is best and I really won't need the cement with the top and rafter support that will help to keep the poles true over time. I'll use 8 footers suitable for ground contact/burial and bury them 2' into the soil on top of a few inches of gravel. That should do the trick nicely.

    Any further feed back from other members is most welcomed.
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I'd highly encourage you to put a footer under those posts, especially the posts holding the weight of any kind of truss work and roofing. The posts can sink down a foot over a year without something on the bottom of the hole to stop it.

    When folks pack in quickcrete around the post, they think, perhaps, that this "holds" it. Not so much. It is the base, the 3" of rock and quickcrete or a pill that provides the base at the bottom of the pole. The packing along the pole only helps keep it somewhat true to plumb, but does little to nothing about the sinking issue. Just sayin'.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  8. MoonShadows

    MoonShadows The Jam Man

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    Jan 23, 2013
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    My Coop
    A foot! Thanks for that pointer, Fred. So the gravel by itself is not enough, but the gravel/rock with a few inches of quickcrete on top form a solid footing minimizing the sinking. Then, I guess I would have to dig, place rock, pour quickcrete one day, and then place and back fill the posts another day.

    Are these the "pills" you mentioned as an alternative to the rock and quickcrete?
    http://www.lowes.com/pd_19070-1662-...rrentURL=?Ns=p_product_avg_rating|1&facetInfo=
     
  9. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Cool! you will have to post pictures when it is completed. Here are a few old pictures of my run (before the coop grew and grew!)

    Showing 4x4 construction with 2x4s for the door frame. I use the small metal angles for my connections. The 8' posts are in the ground 18" to give me good clearance for the walk-in run. I have slope in the roof to each side for drainage. Made a walk through door and a small door for the birds. Hope this Helps!
    [​IMG]

    Side view showing 4x4s as cross bracing. No climb horse fencing since the goats would tear down anything else!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Nah, we do it all in one day. This is really the way 99% of the pole barns are constructed and poles set. Same same.

    The quickcrete/rock mix or just toss a pill down there. Either way, dry is fine. You can thump the post a bit to pack the rock/quickcrete to compact it and then just go on. The crete will draw moisture out of the moist ground, assuming ground moisture. It will harden right up in a day or two, all by itself.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2013

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