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The Fence Post

The Frost Line and Your Fence Post

December 24, 2019 | by Joe Morrell

Considering Frost Heaves

Frost heaves are caused by water that is drawn up through deep unfrozen soil to the varying depths of frozen soil beneath ground level. A horizontal ice lens grows particularly in clay type soil and collects below the frozen soil and creates what is known as an ice lens that then expands as it freezes and slowly pushes soil and whatever rocks and debris upwards.

graphic drawing about frost heaves science

                                                                                                                               Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

The stability of your fence is dependent on what lurks below. 

Certain types of soils are not a concern. Gravel and sandy soil are not susceptible to the exchange of moisture that create frost heaves. Very thick clay soil is also immune. Also, where frost only penetrates the soil an inch or two there is no need to be concerned about frost heaves, such as on the west coast and the southern most parts of the U.S. 

However, where freezing goes deeply into soil, your fence posts (and the footings of your deck) are subject to this upward pressure. The concrete in the fence post's base is an excellent conductor of heat and attracts moisture which can form an ice lens around the concrete base, rendering it susceptible to movement. A pressure treated wooden post is not a good conductor of heat, particularly when wrapped with plastic or coated with tar; this helps prevent the up and down movement of the post. 

Some General Guidelines

Most likely, setting a post a couple of feet up to 5 feet are required to offset this issue. Your local town building inspector probably has guidelines for the best depths for fence posts in your particular area. If you dig a hole that's wider at the top in a V shape, you'll have a problem. The smaller bottom of the hole will provide little resistance for the upward pressure of the moisture and what follows it. A hole dug in the shape of a bell (wider at the bottom) is better, filled with concrete, gravel or gravel with masonry sand for good compaction, and then tamped down every six inches. Bring the concrete or fill within a few inches of ground level and fill the rest of the way up with tamped-down dirt. Concrete footers are the best bet for offsetting the pressure that works on the fence above the frost line. Some experts recommend an insulating pad of styrofoam about 2 inches thick beneath the footer. A chat with a trusted local building contractor may be helpful as circumstances vary so much according to soil types and the depths of freeze in your area. 

Frost heaves can also push up plants and expose roots to damaging wind and cold, not to mention poorly prepared roads and sidewalks.

Here's a thorough going-over of the process with a variety of scenarios:  

 

Do you have expertise in your area on the subject of frost heaves? Please share your insights or recommendations below.

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Topics: concrete fence posts, wood post & rail fence, how to, posts, Fencing Tips

What Wire Gauges Are Used In Welded & Woven Wire Mesh & Fence?

February 6, 2017 | by Debbie Page

Wire Gauge Basics

Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary defines wire gauge as any of various systems consisting of a series of standard sizes used in describing the diameter of wire. It all starts with heavy coils of large diameter wire called rod made in a rolling mill. The rod is then shipped to a wire manufacturing mill. To make the wire used in wire fence and mesh, single strands are "drawn" through a series of increasingly smaller dies or plates and reduced to a specific gauge/diameter. The gauge is determined by the wire's final use - single strand wire, welded wire mesh or woven wire fence. Heating of the wire is not required in the drawing process.

In this article we will answer the following questions:

  • What is wire gauge?

  • What does it mean?

  • How is it used to describe wire?

micrometer

Wire Gauges Past and Present

There have been several different gauge designations since the process outlined in the introduction was innovated.

Numbers have been used to designate wire diameter since 1735. They originally referred to the number of draws used in the process. The first draw was called 1 gauge, the second 2 gauge, the third 3 gauge, on down to the final draw of the thinnest wire being made.

The amount of "draws" required in the process determines why thick wires have a lower gauge number compared to thin wires. 9 gauge wire is thicker than 14 gauge because it requires fewer "draws" than 14 gauge.

The Birmingham Wire Gauge, also known as the Stubs Iron Wire Gauge, was originally developed in early 19th-century England as a means of standardizing gauge sizes. It has been used in a medical setting (needles) since the early 20th century. In 1855, Brown and Sharpe established a formula-based progression of 39 steps - from 1 gauge through 40 gauge. This is now known as the American Wire Gauge and is used extensively in the United States.     

 

The Most Common Wire Gauges 

The following values show in inches the most common gauges of wires used in welded and woven wire mesh and fence:

  • 8.5 gauge - 0.155 inch

  • 9 gauge - 0.1483 inch

  • 10.5 gauge - 0.128 inch

  • 11 gauge - 0.1205 inch

  • 12.5 gauge - 0.099 inch

  • 14 gauge - 0.080 inch

  • 16 gauge - 0.0625 inch

  • 18 gauge - 0.0475 inch

  • 20 gauge - 0.0348 inch

  • 21 gauge - 0.0317 inch

  • 23 gauge - 0.0258 inch

  • 27 gauge - 0.0173 inch

There are many different combinations of wire gauge and mesh size manufactured. You can select the right product for the requirements of your project.

 

We offer expert advice on fencing free of charge for all of your fencing projects. Please call us at 800-225-0508 or you can request a free quote by clicking the button. If you aren't ready to talk fencing quite yet, please download our free catalog.

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Topics: wire fence, welded wire fence, how to, wire gauges

How To Splice Woven Wire Fencing Material

June 20, 2013 | by Debbie Page

Splicing Strategies

Do you have a woven wire fence that needs repair? Has this ever happened to you?

  • You have two rolls of fence you need to splice together.
  • You need to cut out a damaged section of your fence and splice in a new section to replace it.
  • Some strands of your fencing material have broken and are in need of repair.
  • You're unsure of how to repair these problems so that your fence can function as intended.

 Watch this video and learn a couple of different ways you can splice a woven wire fence.

Have you discovered other helpful techniques for mending and splicing woven wire fences you'd like to share?

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Topics: woven wire, how to

How Many Different Ways Can You Use Duckbill Anchors?

May 4, 2013 | by Rick Hoffman


Environmentally Safe and Sound

Don't worry, we believe in freedom of movement for all ducks and no ducks are ever harmed using DUCKBILL® EARTH anchors! So, you may ask, “What are DUCKBILL anchors and what are they used for?” Glad you asked!    

The anchors work very much like toggle bolts in soil. They are driven into the ground with no holes, no digging, and minimal soil disturbance creating a safe and environmentally sensitive installation. The anchor body is driven into the soil with a re-usable drive steel (drive rod). Once the anchor body is placed to the proper depth the drive rod is removed. With an upward pull, the anchor tendon rotates the DUCKBILL into a perpendicular “anchor lock” position in undisturbed soil resulting in superior holding capacities. Plus, there are no potentially hazardous metal eye bolts or hooks above ground to trip over or for the lawn mower to hit.

DUCKBILL Earth Anchors are used in a wide variety of applications.

An Excellent Theft Deterrent

duckbill earth anchor theft deterrent

There are reported losses of millions of dollars per year due to theft. DUCKBILL anchors reduce theft and unwanted movement of objects like:

    • Tables
    • Benches
    • Grills
    • Trash cans
    • Bicycles
    • Signs

Helping with Horticulture

duckbill root ball anchor

DUCKBILL Tree Guy Systems are perfect for keeping trees vertical and limiting motion, letting the roots establish themselves for quicker, healthier growth. It protects trees from being blown over and killed by the wind. Easy, safe installation means more trees anchored per hour and a more professional appearance. When the guy systems are not possible or desirable, such as in playgrounds, parks, or where sidewalk plantings are required, use the Root Ball Kit. It is specifically designed to hold the tree’s root ball firmly in place, with only the tree protruding above the ground. Each kit comes with three anchors with D-ring and one strap with hand ratchet.

    • Tree guy support system
    • Root ball stabilization kit

 

Very Multi-Purpose

duckbill anchor fence support

DUCKBILL Earth Anchors are used worldwide to secure any object that can be stolen, moved or blown down like:

    • Fences
    • Vineyards
    • Sheds
    • Tents
    • Mobile Homes
    • Airplanes
    • Towers
    • Signs
    • Antennas
    • Scaffolding
    • Playground Equipment
    • Structures
    • Turf Reinforcement/Erosion control

300 to 5,000 Pounds of Holding Capacity

Anchors are available in 4 Aluminum alloy models and 3 Galvanized ductile iron models (for very hard soils). The anchors range in holding capacities in normal soil from 300 to 5,000 pounds. The anchors are designed to function in the total range of soils. Normally, wherever you can drive a stake or drill a hole, you can use a DUCKBILL.

The next time you need to secure something to the ground, consider using a DUCKBILL earth anchor. They are safe, strong and easy to install, and are designed to work in a multitude of applications. Can you think of any additional ways DUCKBILL anchors can help you feel more secure?

Download the installation guide! 

Rick signature  Rick VP sales Louis E. Page, Inc.

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Topics: duckbill earth anchor, how to

How to Tighten a Fence with Nothing but Pliers

April 17, 2013 | by Duncan Page

Pliers and a Little Elbow Grease                                        

You've worked hard to put up your fence. Everything looks great. The wire mesh is tight and straight. But over time, something may happen that causes the tension in the wire to slacken. Do not despair! What can you do fix the problem? Watch this video and learn how to tighten up your fence using a pair of pliers.

 

You can use this simple technique to tighten many types of fencing materials: welded wire fence mesh, woven wire fence, lawn and garden fence, single strand wire, field fence, etc. Keep your fence looking tight and secure!

Do you know of any other different ways to tighten a fence?

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Topics: fence, how to

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