If you own a home that isn’t fenced in, chances are you’ve thought about installing one.
Fences are a really fun DIY project to do when the weather is nice, but what about in the rain?
After all, for a fence to withstand the elements and keep out all the things you’d like to keep out, it needs to be sturdy. Does building it in the rain ruin the chances of that?
Read on to find out.
Can a Fence be Installed in the Rain?
A fence can be installed in the rain. Dig the post holes a few inches deeper than usual, backfill the bottom third of your holes with tamped gravel, and use dry mix concrete to get the best result.
Most people think that rain will drench the soil and prevent you from properly setting up your post holes or somehow weaken the strength of the concrete you plan on using. However, this is only true with a constant downpour. A regular rain (and certainly a mere drizzle) won’t negatively impact the strength of your fence whatsoever.
That said though, it would be a big mistake to install a fence during a downpour that you expect to last for several days. If you try to do so, all of the post holes will end up filling with water, making your life miserable, and the concrete will have a hard time setting even if you use a pretty dry mix.
Worth noting, in a torrential downpour like that, you won’t be able excavate the holes to get rid of the water. Even if you could, the foundation would be too weak to accept the fence in that kind of rain and the concrete won’t be able to firmly hold the posts.
In any other kind of rain though, you most certainly can install a durable fence that will stand firm for years and years.
Now that you know you can build a fence in the rain, let’s take a look at how to do it best.
How to Install a Fence in the Rain
In order to properly install a fence in the rain, don’t simply set your posts in concrete. Doing that could lead to rotting. Instead, for the best results, dig your post holes about 3-5 inches deeper than you usually would and put gravel at the bottom for the posts to rest on. If I were you, I would backfill the bottom third with tamped gravel.
For your concrete, use a dry mix. If you’re really worried about it setting properly in the rain, mix in a bit of calcium chloride in. Make sure you do it in a way that’s up to code though – it’s usually used in cold temperatures and might not be permissible in your specific situation. It’s sometimes hit or miss, but adding a handful of it can help speed up the time it takes for the concrete to set. The faster it sets, the less it can be negatively impacted by the rain and the happier you’ll be.
What You’ll Need
- Pressure-treated wood
- Post hole digger
First, dig your holes with a post hole digger. Each hole should be a bit over 20 inches in depth, and its width should be around 6 inches. The hole should penetrate below the frost line by a few inches. As I mentioned, make sure each hole is about 3-5 inches deeper than you normally would dig.
Second, fill the holes you dug with gravel using your trusty shovel. Make sure to backfill the bottom third of each hole with tamped gravel.
Next, prepare your concrete mix. Take your concrete and mix it with water. You can stir it with a large shovel in a wheelbarrow. Once you prepared your concrete, add it to each hole.
Then, take your pressure-treated wood and put it inside the hole that contains your concrete. Use whatever force you need to get it secure in the hole and make sure it gets all the way down there. The further down you get it in the hole, the stronger the fence will ultimately be. Do this for every post hole you made.
Lastly, level and balance out each post before your concrete sets. Check to make sure that each post properly lines up with one another and adjust as necessary. Feel free to add more concrete to get everything just right. If you did everything the way I said, the concrete should set – even in the rain – within 24 hours.
Can You Set Fence Posts in Wet Ground?
Yes, you can set fence posts in wet ground. Just follow the steps I outlined above, and don’t do it during a downpour or hard rain expected to last more than a day or two.
If you live in an area where the weather is mostly rainy and cloudy, the ground will likely be drenched already for digging and fencing. Installing a fence can be challenging in these areas because when the rain stops and the water dries, the soil will still not really be ideal for holding the concrete. And just when it starts drying, it begins raining again.
Nevertheless, you can still build an awesome fence in these locations too. Just use pressure-treated wood and keep an eye out for when you’ll have a 24-48 hour break without rain. You’ll be surprised just how many opportunities you’ll actually have to do it.
In places like these, you can try different methods to set your posts. You can set them on a bed of sturdy gravel instead of using concrete or encase the posts themselves in concrete. I always like back-filling gravel bedded posts with concrete.
However you plan to go about it, follow these quick tips for setting fence posts in the rain:
- Keep digging the ground as much as you can and pour out wet soil.
- Use pressure-treated posts (avoid redwood in the rain).
- Make sure to crown the top of the concrete base by setting more concrete near the post. Capping like this will allow water to escape from the post, and it won’t accumulate moisture or water that could cause your wood to rot.
The Final Note
Although there’s a lot of confusion surrounding whether or not you can build a fence in the rain, you can. Honestly, it’s done all the time, and the same goes for installing fence posts in the rain.
Obviously it’s better to install the fence in kinder weather if you can, but don’t be fooled or intimidated into pushing off a fence installation project because of a little rain and wet soil.
Remember not to go overboard though and use commonsense. Too many people stubbornly think that they can put up a fence during a three day downpour and end up wasting time and money only for their friends and spouses to say, “I told you so.” Don’t be that guy or gal. Believe me, it’s not fun.
You’ve always wanted to secure your castle with a great fence. Now is just a good a time as any – even if it’s raining.
Put on your raincoat, grab those gloves, get your gear together, and go install that fence today. Make it happen.
If you’re serious about installing a fence on your own, check out my post: Must-Have Tools of the Trade for Home Improvement DIYers.