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Be a Post Master, Installing Deck and Fencing Posts

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Go to your corners

Go to your corners

Define each corner with a pair of batterboards. For each batterboard, make a pair of stakes by cutting two 1x2s to a point at one end, and drive them into the ground. Set them 2' away from the planned post location, and spaced so that the post will stand about halfway between the stakes. Attach a crosspiece with screws, as shown. Use a framing square to help you set the corner's other batterboard at a right angle to the first. When you have installed all of your batterboards, wrap a length of mason's string several times around a crosspiece, pull it tight to the facing batterboard at an adjacent corner, and wrap it there, marking the side of the structure through the center of each post. Continue until you've marked all four sides, with a pair of strings intersecting at each corner.

Continued on page 4:  It's hip to be square


Comments (8)
r boehm wrote:

I replaced my rental property fencing his year with something that has worked well for me. I suggest you give road base material a try. Its a sand aggregate mix we can pick up at the local material yard and it's used on highway construction projects as the base for concrete. it packs tightly and drains easily. Russ - Colorado

7/5/2012 10:50:43 PM Report Abuse
joeygemma wrote:

As long as the base of the post is not set in the concrete the moisture can escape. Add 6 inches of gravel below the post, put the post in the hole, add about another inch of gravel and then pour concrete.

5/5/2012 01:42:56 PM Report Abuse
pbarnrob wrote:

Something I saw (either This Old House, or Norm on the Woodworker's Shop of a Saturday morning back when I watched TV) they were putting a post on an existing concrete surface. Drill, use a quick-setting concrete to mount a galvanized pipe in the hole; then drill the bottom of the post and just set it over the pipe. I hope to jack up the beams, pour a box of concrete to make up the difference (with that pipe centered in it) and re-set the post over it... Before it all falls apart!

4/20/2012 03:20:15 PM Report Abuse
pbarnrob wrote:

My 1910 Craftsman house was reworked in about '78, and the wooden porch was taken out (rotten) and replaced with concrete. The 12x12 redwood posts were sunk into the concrete deck of the porch as the roof was re-assembled. Now one post is about 8" lower than the other, rotting in the hole, since there's nowhere for rain to go.

4/20/2012 03:18:59 PM Report Abuse
claysoules wrote:

RogersI2 raised the red flag about sinking wood in concrete. It it the WORST POSSIBLE solution to fixing a deck/fence post to the ground. Even steel posts when sunk into concrete will begin to rust at the surface of the concrete where the moisture from the elements oxidises the steel and rots the wood in a surprisingly fast pace. As RogerI2 said, use GALVANIZED embeds in the concrete and SEAL THE CONCRETE at the interface with the embed for a long-lasting installation.

3/26/2012 09:10:42 AM Report Abuse
rogersl2 wrote:

I have to say I just removed a deck I put in 21 years ago to make room for an addition. Half of the 4x4 post were rotted and broke off when pulled out the rest showed decay damage also. Our local building inspector says even .6 treated posts will rot. The best method is to pour concrete piers with a metal plate on top with the treated posts on top of that.

3/23/2012 03:36:29 PM Report Abuse
stolicky602136 wrote:

A comment about "one call" numbers. You can now simply dial "811" anywhere in the country in order to reach your nearest one-call center. There is no longer a need to remember lengthy telephone numbers.

4/22/2010 09:58:42 AM Report Abuse
stwining wrote:

Great article. Clear concise and to the point. If one can not follow this, they should probably farm the job out to someone more qualified.

4/1/2010 05:16:05 PM Report Abuse

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