Picking the Right Fence Posts
Fence posts come in many shapes, sizes, and materials. The one that's right for your project depends on your needs. Farm Fence Solutions can recommend fence posts in Worthington, IN, based on the information you provide about your goals — just let us know what you have in mind. We'll suggest one of the materials below:
Steel T-Posts: Steel fence posts are popular thanks to their affordability, as well as the low equipment costs required with use. Unfortunately, the amount of steel in farm store T-posts has steadily decreased over the years, resulting in products that don't last as long as they used to. Heavy T-posts are still available but have become cost-prohibitive compared to the other options. In situations where equipment access is limited, and ground conditions are less than desirable, T-posts can be the best option.
Wood Posts: Fence posts can be made from several types of wood, but the most common are Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) in the south and Red Pine in the north. Of course, Hedge, Cedar, Sassafras, Locust, Lodgepole Pine, and many others are still used where they are available. For now, we'll stick with what's commercially available in the Midwest.
Southern Yellow Pine: Here at Farm Fence Solutions, we prefer SYP over Red Pine because SYP is usually stronger. It can be treated with several different chemicals by several different methods. The most common today is pressure-treated Chromated Copper Arsenate or CCA. The process starts with a post that is 18% to 20% moisture. Bundles of posts are loaded into a vacuum chamber, and as the chamber is pumped down to vacuum pressure, the cells of the SYP compress as the air is pulled from them. Once the vacuum is achieved, the treatment solution is introduced under pressure, and the rapid swelling of the cells draws in the CCA treatment. The rate of treatment with typical agricultural-use fence posts is .4 pounds of CCA per cubic foot of wood. Rates of up to .6 pounds per cubic foot are available, but only by special order.
Creosote is our favorite treatment for SYP posts. Contrary to popular belief, creosote coatings are still legal. The creosote pressure treatment process is similar to the CCA process but has a few minor differences. Heated coal tar creosote is introduced under pressure instead of CCA, and SYP generally takes 6 to 8 pounds per cubic foot of creosote. Creosote posts are quite a bit heavier than their CCA counterparts. Care should be taken when handling both CCA and creosote to avoid skin, eye, and lung contact. We recommend long sleeves, gloves, and eye protection when handling, as well as a face shield and mask when cutting or drilling.
Red Pine: Red Pine has concentric knots, which offer nice places for posts to snap. Unfortunately, knots and heartwood won't take any treatment, so they're fair game for rot and insects.
Steel Pipe: Steel pipe can be a good alternative to timber posts but can require cutting and welding to install, as well as painting to prevent rust in wetter areas. Used oilfield pipe and seconds or blemished new stock are readily available in many areas.