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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am repairing my existing cedar split rail fence.

The new rails will be cedar, but the posts may be cedar or pressure treated pine. Any thoughts on which would be best?

If cedar, should the posts be concreted in place, or just buried 2-3' ?

Anyone have a cheap source for rails and posts in the Duluth GA area?


thanks
 

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Treated pine will be cheaper and I would not put an untreated cedar post in the ground and expect it to last forever. Do care if pine and cedar do not weather to look exactly the same?

As to whether to set them in concrete or not? Kind of up to you and I have no convincing argument other than to say to make sure you do not form a pocket under the post with concrete.

I have come to believe the best method to setting posts in concrete is the dry method. Others may disagree. I set and level the posts, fill their holes with Sakrete or whatever. Fill the hole with Sakrete with water one or two times if it drains fast. Done. Of course I brace taller posts until the Sakrete sets.

Just visited Northern California and benches I set in place decades ago still look level to grade and are doing just fine.

Have you checked with your local lumber yard, not a box store, for pricing and availability?

And just a thought. Every week there is a guy or two who starts out East and plows through Chicagoland and Central Illinois with a truckload of cedar rails and posts this time of year. They must buy on speculation or rob lumber yards late at night and hope to sell. I usually spot him on Craigs List. Prices are great. A friend bought oodles of newly milled maple flooring from them one year. Gorgeous. Cash only though.

Might try a "wanted" listing on CL for your area and see if they pop on to your radar?
 

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I have come to believe the best method to setting posts in concrete is the dry method. Others may disagree. I set and level the posts, fill their holes with Sakrete or whatever. Fill the hole with Sakrete with water one or two times if it drains fast. Done. Of course I brace taller posts until the Sakrete sets.
Cedar from a real lumber yard or fencing provider, set in concrete as above.
 

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The Pressure treated should hold up better, especially since pressure treated wood for ground contact has higher amounts of preservatives to compensate for the fact the ground is full of insects, bacteria, etc. that eats & decomposes wood. Normal pressure treated is fine if not touching the ground, otherwise you need extra amounts to compensate for its corrosiveness to wood.

I'm not a fan of using concrete, especially not for a split rail. What I found (I live in New England where it's cold), placing them in concrete wets the posts, everyone knows wet wood expands. The concrete dries with the posts in their expanded form. Then, the posts sit in the sun and dry out causing them to shrink (you may be able to pull them up and out easily) but the concrete has set with the posts expanded, so now there's a fine gap between the cement and the posts. Then, winter comes and water sneaks into that gap between the post and concrete, freezes, and blows the concrete apart. You then have a fence post that shouldn't be too hard to lift up and out and worse than having just put it in the ground with no cement.

Maybe if this was a stockade fence that's tall and needs to resist wind cement and precautions may make sense but I don't see any reason cement will help a split rail, and the next guy who needs to work/repair it will thank you. I hear going 3' deep will be 2x stronger than 2' down, and Georgia has a 12" frost line if you do want to use cement I would just make sure it's below 12" so you lessen the risk of water getting between the post & cement and then freezing and blowing it apart.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
In the end I went with the 7' PT (treated for ground contact) posts buried 2 1/2' - 3' in the ground. All of the original cedar posts (15 years old) were fairly rotted at ground level. One PT post that had been installed 5 years ago as a repair, and installed in concrete, was rotted at grade also, which convinced me not to go the concrete route.
 
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