CONCRETE and why NOT to use it - Concrete is one of he most useful products know to man. However, where we build fence, it leads to more call backs and money spent then it is generally worth.
The old thought was that concrete was the way to keep a post from moving. We will argue that it is likely the most effective way to ensure that the post WILL move over time. We have seen frost in high traffic area at 11' plus. The cost and effectiveness of concrete just simply is not suited to most applications for fence in the modern day.
When is it good to use concrete? Concrete is great at creating a counterbalance and really gripping the post to prevent it from spinning and pulling out by weight or just shear force. Gate posts for big gates, certain types of hinge arrangements and automation are great reasons to utilize concrete. However caution must be taken and specific techniques must be utilized to prevent the footings from heaving up or (perhaps even worse) sinking. Time and again we build to the engineers specific specification and in 5 - 8 years, long after the retainage is paid out and the contractors are gone, the fence looks terrible.
So why don't we just use the techniques that we know will work? Liability. The dirty word that keeps us all in business and costs all of us as consumers billions of dollars each year.
If you must use it consider these ideas.
Bell the bottom of the hole. Make the bottom of the hole bigger then the top. That way when the ground is frozen it can't heave.
Square the bottom of the hole. If the bottom of the hole is rounded where it goes from vertical to horizontal, it will act like the ball joint in a car. Especially if the hole is too shallow.
Get the hole as deep as possible. Even if the post is only in a couple feet, the footing needs to be below expected frost.
Don't use concrete unless you absolutely have to. You will save all of us headaches down the road.
Advantages of not using concrete-
Less initial cost, both in material and labor.
No dirt clean up. Excavated soil must be moved somewhere and cleaned up.
Far less failures caused by the extreme conditions we see here in the North.
Cheaper and by far easier repair. Should something happen to move or get damaged, the process of repair will both be easy on the wallet and not nearly as invasive on the surrounding infrastructure. For example- lets say that an 8 year old fence with no footings has a really wet, thaw then freeze type spring and a couple of posts are raised by the earth a couple inches. We simply tap them back down. Usually for free as we are going by. With footings this is a full day job and a lot of expense and it likely didn't make it 8 years in the first place. What if the fence gets bent over (or worse yet) broken off at the ground by the snowplow? How do you get the footing out now that the post is gone? Excavate?
Why put your customers through that?
Please call us to discuss soil type and application anytime. We understand that even if we don't get the job, poorly built fence hurts our industry.
UL325 has increased gate service calls by at least 50%. The good news is all in the name of safety, the bad news is that it costs thousands of extra dollars to the customer in both up front costs of more technologically advanced equipment and maintenance / emergency costs during the life of the opener. There is much to be learned and you have a huge influence on the results the customer will see. We urge you to CONTACT US and ask to speak to Scott, Caley or Tom. Tom has been installing and servicing gate operators for over 30 years. You can't read all the experience he can give you even over the phone that will save your customer thousands of dollars.
Ornamental Iron, Gates and Custom Fence -Click on the Links below to check out the resources they available for you
Fence Screening has come a long way recently. Please click the link to the left to see what the possibilities and modern designs can offer your project.
Welcome Architects and Engineers. We understand what a pain it can be to design and specify a fence or access control that will work year around here in the Northland. Especially challenging if you need it to be unique. We have an entire custom fence division devoted just to developing new techniques and finding the best new products. You are not here to buy. You are here to discover what works and what doesn't. SAVE YOUR CUSTOMER MONEY by designing a project, companies like ours can understand and implement without costly change orders or time killing RFI's. All of that just makes everyone look incompetent and wastes money. Thanks for looking and remember we are here to answer your questions. Feel free to call and discuss your issues or project while it is still in the design phase. 1 800 241 2309 ask for Scott or Caley or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tymetal Corp - High end top of the line gate systems. Usually specified for the correctional industry. (Expensive option)
Other good sources of information - we spend a lot of time researching and looking at fence. Below are some links to the best sites we have found.
What is UL325? Why do those requirements make gate operators problematic in our area? What can we do to make them work better? Click the links to read for yourself.
Iron World Ornamental Swing Gates
Each Fence supplier has there own version of this domestically produced material. Click the Links below to learn more about the suppliers we trust
Russell Springs, KY: 800-451-2612
Galvanized Posts- All too often we still see Full Weight pipe specified on jobs. Many lesser fence contractors will sub foreign full weight pipe in place of domestic full weight pipe as there was considerable savings. The sad fact is that a lot of times fence installation is toward the end of a project and the attention is not on what material the contractor is using. Coupled with the fact that to the untrained eye, all galvanized fence material looks the same, many consumers have grossly overpaid for the quality of pipe they are receiving. Mill certs certainly prevent this, but it is an added cost to the consumer and the general contractor who must process all the paperwork. WT-20 and WT-40 are great solutions to this problem. They cost less, are domestic and substantially stronger, not only per weight but overall as well. Click the links below to learn more.
Tilt a way - Vertical Pivot Gate supplier(Very good but more expensive)
Steele Co Fence - Serving Massachusetts and Southern NH - Call 1-800-870-8991
Iron World Architects Corner
Auto Gate - Vertical Pivot Gates and Swing Gates with operators. Vertical Pivot is the BEST Gate system you can buy for our climate.
Merchant Metals - Minnesota
4105 85th Avenue North
Brooklyn Park, MN 55443
Toll Free: 800-279-1465
Gates and Gate Operators - Click the links below to learn more about what gate styles and operators are best suited for your job
Lift Master Gate Operators - Easy to install and service. Tons of features at a customer friendly price. Great Tech Support
Hy Security Gate Operators - Best non chain driven slide gate operators. Great tech support
Contact Keith or Eric
1851 Radisson Rd. NE, Blaine MN 55449
Linear Pro Access - Gate and security access controller and hardware. Excellent customer service.