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By Chris | October 4, 2011 - 11:45 pm - Posted in Alternative Materials, Decks & Fences, Farm & Ranch, How To, Poles, Posts, Pilings

What is the best fence post depth? That depends (of course) on what type of fence you are building and which post you are putting in the ground. We’ll cover a few here with some general fence builder rules.

Privacy Fence Post Depth — 1/3 of Height

The general rule of thumb for privacy fence posts is to bury them 1/3 the depth of the height of the post. This is easy for your typical privacy fence. Use 8? posts, bury 2? in the ground, and you’re left with a 6? post on which to build a fence.

Concrete is still a good idea (I recommend it), especially if you live in an area with high winds or occasional hurricanes. I’ve even drilled a 9/16? x 8? hole in the bottoms of the posts and driven a piece of re-bar in with about 12? sticking out. The result is a post buried 2 feet in the ground, with re-bar another 12? (driven into the clay soil), surrounded by concrete — very strong posts. Overkill? Whatever, dude.

Farm & Ranch Fence

Your typical farm or ranch fence, especially one with wire stretched, has 2 types of posts — line posts and corner posts.

Use the 1/3 of height rule for the line posts depths. With 6 foot posts, you will probably bury 1.5 to 2 feet and end up with a 4 to 4.5 foot post. For corner posts, you might want to use a rule of 1/2 the height for the fence post depth. So, a 5 foot tall corner post would probably be buried 2.5 feet in the ground — probably more like 3 feet buried of an 8? post.

By Chris | May 21, 2009 - 10:38 pm - Posted in Decks & Fences, Hardware

We’ll get right to it. Here are 8 Tips for building a durable and long-lasting deck:

  1. Great Wood – When building, use naturally decay-resistant or properly treated lumber for wooden decks and other outdoor structures. Don’t let untreated wood posts or lumber sit directly on concrete.
  2. Clean Joints – Clean joints between deck boards or between a deck and any other structure so dirt & debris won’t hold moisture.
  3. Downspouts Pointed Away – Aluminum downspouts and water run-off should be guided away from the deck.
  4. Keep it Dry – Make sure that instruments you use for watering (hoses, sprinklers, etc..) not spray the deck.
  5. Airflow – Since airflow is crticial, ensure that the underside of the porch breathes correctly. To prevent moisture buildup & wood degradation the space under the deck should not be completely sealed.
  6. Keep it Clean – Don’t let leaves, barbeque grill covers, etc…. layout on your deck for long periods. Plants in clay pots sitting on the deck or porch can cause moisture pooling; likewise, plants and shrubs planted close can contribute to moisture and water buildup on and around your deck. This allows mold and moisture to develop underneath.
  7. Stain Early, Often – Add stains and sealers before the deck looks like it’s needing it. Create a consistent schedule where you add the sealer so it’s consistently apllied before the wood starts getting dried out. These can treat the wood and prevent moisture from leading to rot.
  8. Underdeck – If you have a 2nd story deck over a ground floor deck, make sure you get an underdeck drainage system to prevent additional wear to the bottom deck. With underdeck drainage installed, your primary floor deck can behave like a unenclosed sunroom on rainy days. The bottom floor can now also be used as an extra storage room.

I’m sure these ideas will help you keep your wooden deck beautiful for many years to come.

Easy to Use Hidden Fasteners
Most decks built in the past 25 yers have used the simplest deck building material, galvanized nails, to keep the boards attached to the structure. As a matter of fact, builders have used nails like this for decades and thought very little about other alternatives. Now, stainless steel hidden deck fasteners are becoming more popular and even have power tools to help simplify their installation.

Out of all the fasteners on the market TigerClaw is, by far, the most popular. You should know that TigerClaw Fasteners were created by a contractor who was irritated with the expense and intensive labor of other hidden fastening systems. With a free installation block in every box, these fasteners install faster and easier than other comparable fasteners. With all work done from the top, you can save more on labor costs than compared with other hidden fastener installations.

Constructed from heavy gauge stainless steel, strength and durability are assured. TigerClaw hidden deck fasteners offer resilient hold-down power for both synthetic decking materials & wood. They allow the natural qualities of the wood to be preserved and reduce splitting, splintering, cupping and rotting.

No Visible Nails or Screws
With many new composites and clear-grained wood decking available, blemishing a smooth, even deck surface with unsightly rows of screws or nails is becoming increasingly undesirable.

I know a growing number of contractors are aware of hidden deck fasteners, but the majority aren’t. This article’s objective is to raise consumer awareness, and to bring hidden deck fasteners into the mainstream market.

With hidden deck fasteners, you can produce a better looking, longer lasting, safer deck at an affordable price.

Contributed by James Monroe, DIY Home Center

If you are the type that really cares about quality, you might also read about how to build a fence that lasts.

By Chris | March 29, 2009 - 12:34 pm - Posted in Decks & Fences, New Products

This looks pretty handy. Tiger introduced their new hidden fastener gun. Here’s their press release and I also included their video demonstration.

BRISTOL, CT–(Marketwire – March 23, 2009) – Tiger Claw Inc. today announced the general availability of a new semi-automatic installation tool that dramatically reduces the already-quick installation of Tiger Claw’s groove fasteners. Professional builders and do-it-yourselfers can now build a beautiful nail-free surface deck four times faster than they can through traditional surface screwing. Tiger Claw’s fastener gun is currently the only pneumatic fastener gun on the market today.

The installation gun is used with Tiger Claw’s TC-G hidden deck fastener for pre-grooved boards.

“We recently attended the International Builders’ Show, in Las Vegas, and were thrilled to see the excitement in builders’ and journalists’ eyes when they saw and tried the new fastener gun,” said David Hartmann, president and co-founder of Tiger Claw. “They validated that we have a winning product in our hands. With the speed of the fastener gun, the ease of the TC-G hidden deck fasteners and the convenience of pre-grooved deck boards, builders can decrease their labor time, increase their profits, and ensure happy customers. It’s an ideal building package for those looking for beautiful, quick-and-easy-to-build, nail-free decks.”

The Tiger Claw hidden deck fastener gun was named one of the “Seven Top Picks” from the 2009 International Builders’ Show, by Allen Lyle, Co-Host / Producer of Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.

About the fastener gun

The fastener installation gun drives a UFO Ballistic NailScrew® in like a nail, but can be removed like a screw. Simply slip the hidden deck fastener into the nose of the gun and position it in the groove of the board. The gun automatically enables perfect positioning of fastener and screw installation with the pull of a trigger. Builders now have a one-step installation process for hidden deck fasteners

Tiger Claw’s inventors say, when compared to manually inserting the hidden deck fastener into the groove with your fingers, the gun decreases installation time by about 50%.

About Tiger Claw Hidden Deck Fasteners

Tiger Claw offers a complete line of innovative and versatile hidden deck fasteners. The TC-1 is a coated steel hidden deck fastener and the TC-2 deck fastener is made of stainless steel. Both are ideal for soft woods and pressure treated lumber. The TC-3 is used with composite decking materials and medium density hardwoods, such as Meranti and Cambera mahogany. It may also be used with used with cellular PVC decking materials. The TC-4 is perfect for exotic hardwood decking lumber like Ipe and Teak. The TC-G offers the fastest installation available today with pre-grooved decking or square edge boards using a router or biscuit joiner. All Tiger Claw hidden deck fasteners are manufactured in the United States.

About Tiger Claw Inc.

Tiger Claw Inc. was founded in 1999 and currently offers seven hidden deck fasteners, including the Proclip Cellular PVC Fastener and the Trex Hideaway. Its products are designed to greatly increase the value of construction projects without significantly increasing overall project costs. Tiger Claw is headquartered in Bristol, Connecticut. For more information, visit or call (800) 928-4437.

Shortly after it was posted, Claire Guappone of Osmose contacted me regarding “MCQ Shows Signs of Rapid Decay” and asked if I would like to receive a follow up press release on the matter.

“Sure,” said I. So, here it is.

Consumer Safety and Product Performance of Micronized Copper Technology Confirmed

GRIFFIN, Ga., Feb. 11 — On Feb. 9, 2009 in a negative public relations document apparently intended to scare users of treated wood, Charlotte, NC-based Viance criticized the effectiveness of micronized copper wood preservatives. “Viance is once again attempting to create unfounded concerns about consumer safety and product performance, using statistically insignificant and suspect data,” said Paul Goydan, President of Osmose, Inc.

Extensive laboratory and extended field testing have confirmed the effectiveness of micronized preservatives. Several world renowned scientists have confirmed the strong performance of this technically advanced preservative technology and have published their comprehensive findings, which support the micronized technology’s efficacy in providing wood protection for both above ground and ground contact applications.

So why this unfounded attack by a competitor? An attack based on an insignificant sample of a few posts selected by this competitor — out of the millions of posts in service? One might conclude the competition has not been able to create a viable alternative product to compete with our patent pending technology and the ever-increasing market penetration of the micronized copper preservative systems. Rather than offering similarly advanced technology, they have resorted to needlessly alarming the public.

MicroPro(R) Treated Wood Facts:

  • Over 5 Billion board feet of MicroPro treated wood has been sold since the product introduction in 2006.
  • Over 10 Million 4 x 4 micronized treated wood posts are presently in service and performing.
  • MicroPro copper based preservative systems have been independently tested and evaluated in accordance with AWPA, ASTM and other internationally recognized laboratory and field test procedures.
  • Micronized copper preservative systems are certified by the International Code Council Evaluation Service, Inc. (ICC-ES).
  • Osmose’s micronized technologies have earned the Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) certification from Scientific Certification Systems (SCS).
  • Osmose provides a Residential and Agricultural Limited Warranty on MicroPro treated wood products.

Bottom Line

Extensive laboratory and field testing has confirmed the effectiveness of micronized preservatives. International experts have confirmed the legitimacy of this technically advanced preservative technology and published their findings in support of it. Billions of board feet of micronized treated lumber are in service and performing. Since the introduction of micronized copper technology, Viance, the only copper based preservative manufacturer that does not have the micronized technology to offer, has waged a desperate campaign against it in an effort to discredit it. Meanwhile, more and more consumers and retailers continue to embrace the environmental and performance benefits offered by our technically advanced micronized products.

Since 1934, Osmose has produced quality, tested, reliable wood preservatives such as MicroPro. We fully stand behind our products and back them with industry leading warranties.

For additional information regarding MicroPro, please contact Osmose at (800) 241-0240 or visit

Micronized Copper-Treated Wood is Showing Rapid Decay Raising Concerns for Consumer Safety

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ — Findings on 4×4 posts at residential locations reveal dramatic evidence that wood treated with micronized copper preservative(MCQ(TM)) is decaying more rapidly than anticipated. These decay findings raise serious concerns about the structural integrity and safety of outdoor structures, such as decks and fencing, built with micronized copper preservatives within the last three years.

“We are very concerned about the safety of possibly millions of consumers whose decks and other structures were built with micronized copper-treated wood because the wood may be subject to early failure and possible collapse,” said Steve Ainscough, president and CEO of Viance, a leading provider of wood preservation technologies that refuses to offer micronized copper preservatives due to ongoing concerns about the technology.

Residential Findings in Southeastern U.S. Show Evidence of Significant Decay

Today’s announcement is based on Viance’s in-service findings of decay on 4×4 posts located in multiple residential locations near Atlanta, Georgia and Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Timber Products Inspection (TP), a leading independent and accredited wood products inspection and testing organization in the United States, supervised the identification, extraction and testing of the decaying posts at these locations.

TP’s reports describe numerous posts receiving a rating of “less than sound” on the American Wood Protection Association (AWPA) rating scale. The decaying posts from these multiple subdivisions were rated at “9.5,” “9” and “8” on the AWPA’s scale of 1 to 10. One post removed from the Georgia location was rated a “7,” which the AWPA defines as having moderate to severe attack with 10 to 30% of the cross sectional area subject to decay. A decay rating of 7 or below is considered unserviceable by the building industry. TP verified that the average preservative penetration and retentions for the samples examined met the current retention requirements outlined in the International Code Council Evaluation Service (ICC-ES) requirements for MCQ products. The TP report is available in it’s entirety at Viance’s website; Furthermore, TP’s reports indicate that the decay is present in the outside zones of the posts below the ground line, to a depth of nearly one inch on some posts.

According to Lee Gjovik, a widely published independent wood scientist, “Any decay on a post that’s only been in service for less than two years represents a significant amount of unexpected decay. Decay ratings of 9.0 or 9.5 should not occur until after many years of service.”

“Another cause for concern,” explains Ainscough, “is that the decay we’re seeing is below the line of sight where consumers may not be able to see or properly inspect the posts. A post’s strength comes primarily from the outer surface of the post, and it is also in this area that the preservatives are present and must prevent decay. The hidden or buried portion of a post must have preservatives that work and prevent decay or the post and structures will fail.”

These recent decay findings corroborate the results of Viance’s ongoing field tests, which were presented to the lumber and building products industries in the spring of 2008 and can be downloaded in their entirety at

An Overview Of Today’s Technologies

Micronized copper-treated wood products were first introduced to the marketplace in 2006. The manufacturers of micronized copper preservatives, Osmose(R), Arch(R) Wood Protection and PhibroWood(R), have not submitted any of these products to the AWPA for review or standardization. Micronized copper wood preservatives are sold to U.S. builders and consumers through more than 5,000 lumberyards and some leading national home center chains.

Viance remains committed to providing its customers with high quality, industry standardized preservatives, such as Preserve(R) ACQ(R) and Ecolife(R) Stabilized, Weather-Resistant Wood, and ongoing information, testing and investigations regarding the performance of micronized copper-treated products.

Viance LLC provides an extensive range of advanced wood treatment technologies and services to the global wood treatment industry. With an expertise in wood biocides and wood protection chemicals, Viance provides high-level product support to its customers to provide innovative, advanced solutions that improve the performance and durability of wood and wood products. Viance is a joint venture between Rohm and Haas Company and Chemical Specialties, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Rockwood Holdings, Inc. For more information about wood treatment technology and Viance products, visit


Lumber Talk’s Commentary
CCA was a great chemical. It would be nice if its removal from residential use because of its scary-sounding ingredient arsenate could be substantiated with proof that it was actually harmful (not to wish harm to anyone). It would make the idea that we now use inferior products like MCQ a little easier to swallow.

Osmose’s Rebuttal
Please see Osmose’s MCQ rebuttal which they sent almost immediately after this posting.