Home > Guide to Fence Post supports

Guide to Fence Post supports

Nov 15, 2021 | Hardware, Timber

Fixing fence posts into concrete is the most common way to erect fencing, but drive-in metal post spikes and other metal support posts provide a sturdy alternative that is suitable for many domestic fencing applications.

The main advantages of post spikes are simple to install, provide protection to the base of the fence post from water, make replacing a broken fence post simple and economical.  Metal fence spikes are known for their r ease of installation, using only the most basic of tools with no need for digging or concrete.

High-quality treated timber posts will decay to some degree over time when sitting in concrete, and other items like postsaver sleeves can delay this process. However, fence post spikes secure the base of the fence post just above the ground therefore reducing the risk of rot and decay. Of course, mother nature can take its toll on anything in the outside environment and if a fence post does fail, it can easily removed from the spike and replaced by simply unbolting or unscrewing the broken post at the base and remove.  This avoids the hard work and cost of having to dig up a concrete foundation. Concreted-in fence posts can occasionally twist out of line when weather causes the ground to shift. This won’t happen with drive in post spikes.

Fence spikes are also useful for many other jobs in the garden, for example erecting the posts for a clothes line or installing a free-standing decorative fence panel to create garden screening. The main application where fence spikes are not suitable is when the fence posts are under any kind of lateral force. For example, chain link fencing relies on taught wires between the posts which would put too much pressure on spikes.  Spikes are not suitable for fence systems like DuraPost either.

Drive-in post spikes are made of heavy gauge steel, and are designed to last for years. They are available in various sizes to accommodate different sizes of post, and the post is fixed into the spike with either built-in bolts or a combination of screws and internal gripping teeth. We recommend a post spike with bolts for the sturdiest fixing method, which also makes the fence post easier to remove if damaged. If you are using a fence spike where the post is fixed with screws, ensure that you use screws that are suitable for outdoor use.

The process of installing drive-in posts spikes is relatively straightforward. You will need a post rammer or sledge hammer, spirit level, and a short offcut of fencing post or post driving tool.  Simply put the offcut of fence post into the spike to protect the metal from damage during installation. Make sure that the offcut has been cut square on each end to give a level surface. Then drive the spike into the ground with the post rammer or sledge hammer, checking the vertical alignment with the spirit level frequently.

A key tip if you are planning to use a sledge hammer, the force being applied is can be off centre and may cause the spike to twist slightly as it is driven into the ground. To rectify this turn your spike an eighth turn clockwise if you’re right handed, or if you are left handed; the opposite way.  This will allow for any twisting. The further the spike is into the ground the harder it will be to realign, so check the level more frequently as you go deeper. The post offcut will give you more leverage or a side surface to hammer making repositioning easier.

Once the box at the top of the spike is about one centimetre above the ground, tap your fence post into the spike and secure with the bolts or screws.

View the full range from Birkdale at Worcester Timber Products.  If you need more advise please do contact us.  We even offer an installation service.