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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.

Here are some options for those of you perplexed by the question of how to preserve wood posts. Whether you are trying to build a long-lasting fence or other structure or trying to extend the life of existing wood posts you have options. Without exceptions, the options are far easier before installation.

Pressure Treated Wood Posts
No additional work required – just buy wood posts treated for ground contact (usually .40pcf). Depending on the area where you are installing your pressure treated wood posts, they should last between 10 and 30 years (maybe more). 10 years if the area is pretty wet and/or has a bad termite problem and 30 years if the area is pretty dry.

Poly Coated Treated Wood Posts
poly coated wood posts from American Pole and TimberI only know of one place that offers poly coated wood posts – American Pole and Timber based in Houston, TX. The coating is a UV-resistant “poly urea” coating (look and feels like heavy vinyl) and is obviously tough as hell and will not come off of the wood. They guarantee treated poly coated posts will last 50 years. Pretty impressive. The product has only been around for about 10 years but I would put money on 50 years for treated wood coated with a thick UV-resistant vinyl. They supply any quantity but if you are outside of Texas or Louisiana, you might need to buy quite a few to justify the freight expense. You only need to have the post coated from about 6 inches above the ground line to the bottom of the post.

Plastic Coated Wood Posts
Similar to poly coated wood but I wouldn’t put my money on it. Buy treated posts and spray the bottom of the post up to about 6 inches above the ground line with spray-on plastic in a can. You can get a can of spray-on plastic for about $5 at the major big-box hardware stores. One can should easily cover the bottom 3 feet of about 10 posts. It’s cheaper than the vinyl option and should add 10 years onto any posts life.

Sealants or Stains
If you are going to seal or stain pressure treated wood, make sure it is dry first since sealing in the moisture left from the treating process will only make your posts rot faster. Sealing untreated posts will add a few years to their lives but, seriously, just get treated posts – unless you just LIKE replacing fences.

Paint is for color – not protection. Yes, it protects a little but, again, if you are going to use paint to preserve untreated wood posts just go ahead and admit that you like replacing fence posts. Want color? Paint away. Want preservation? Use treated posts.

The BEST WAY to Preserve Wood Posts
In my opinion, the absolute BEST way to preserve wood posts is with pressure treatment – whichever treatment chemical you choose – and a coating of some kind. The longest lasting wood posts will be pressure treated and coated with the vinyl coating. The most bang for your buck will probably be to use pressure treated posts and spray-on plastic.

Now you know how to preserve wood posts and which methods will work best for you. If you choose paint, don’t call me because I hate replacing posts. I will gladly lay in my hammock – supported by my vinyl coated treated posts – while you install your second set of painted posts, though. 🙂

By Chris | November 20, 2007 - 5:24 pm - Posted in Alternative Materials, Farm & Ranch, Plans

Barns for Sale

Finding barns for sale online is more difficult than you might expect. There is only a hand full of places listing barns for sale and most of those are not high-quality sites. There are many resources listed here to help you find what you are looking when buying or selling a barn.

Top Reasons You Find Barns for Sale

To help you in your search (and give you some ideas for search phrases) here are the top reasons you will find barns for sale. The reasons a barn is being sold usually falls into one of these categories:

  • Profit – The barn was built (or bought) to be sold for a profit
  • Moving/Relocating – The owners are simply moving or relocating a home or business
  • Wood Reclamation – Old barns may be worth more when sold as reclaimed wood than as barns

Barns for Sale for Profit

Building and Selling Barns: Selling barns for profit is straightforward and simple. Just as with any real estate flip a barn can built on property to add value and that property can then be resold at a greater price to take the profit. Similarly, property with an existing old barn can be bought and the barn and property can be fixed up and resold at a nice profit.

Old Barns for Sale: There is also a market for antique barns that have been photographed, dismantled with the pieces marked, and stored so they can be sold and rebuilt on the buyer’s lot. This is a really interesting transaction altogether and a great way to maintain the heritage many people behold in old barns. There is actually money to be made selling old barns.

Barns for Sale Because of Relocation

Cheap Barns: You might find an excellent deal on a barn if you run across just the right situation. With that, let’s include death and estate sales in this reason for selling barns. Be on the lookout for bargain barns for sale and you might get lucky. Further, while I hate taking advantage of sticky situations, divorces are another reason for relocation sales. The lesson for this paragraph is to be on the lookout for divorce sales or estates sales that might include barns.

Barns for Sale as Reclaimed Wood

Old Barn Wood: Selling barns to break them down into the parts is sometimes profitable (not usually) but is often done as a cheap way of clearing the land. There are companies that buy old barns in order to carefully take them apart to sell the lumber as reclaimed wood, reclaimed lumber, antique lumber, or other such names. Common uses for the used barn lumber include reclaimed timbers for timber trusses and beams, siding, flooring, and furniture lumber and it is sold at an absolute premium.

Barns for Sale Online

(NOT sponsored listings) has barns for sale and their listing change fairly often. lists barns for sale that have been dismantled and are ready to be rebuilt on your lot. builds, restores, and buys and sells vintage barns. They have a great inventory of barns for sale. lists barns for sale and for donation because its mission is to preserve historical barns. has barns for sale in the UK “and abroad.” lists barns and other agricultural building for sale in the UK. lists barns for sale in France.