Wood and metal seem like polar opposites and trying to attach the two sounds like a difficult job, however, it is in fact very easy to do. It takes only a little know-how.
You can attach wood fence panels to metal posts. One can attach wood to metal through the use of brackets and screws. Using metal posts to support wood panels ensures the wood’s longevity when properly applied and is commonly used for that reason.
Attaching Wood And Metal
Attaching wood fence panels to metal posts can seem a little challenging. I assure you it is not. This is an easy thing to do that will greatly increase the life span of your fence panels. The question here is “how?”. How can you get wood and metal to stick together?
The first thing you need to determine is the kind of metal post you are using. There are three basic types of metal posts:
- Round Posts
- Square Posts
- T Posts (For this we are assuming T posts and U posts are similar enough to be the same thing)
The posts serve different functions, range in cost, and ultimately provide different strengths and weaknesses. For this though we will focus solely on how to attach wood panels to them. In short, you will use the same two options to attach for all-metal posts: brackets and screws.
Brackets And Screws
At its simplest, you attach wood panels to metal posts with brackets and screws. The kind of bracket you use depends on the type of post you have.
Round Post Attaching
When using a round post you have a couple of options to choose from. The easiest is something called a pipe rail tie. This wraps around the round metal post, allowing you to screw it into the wood panels on both sides of the post.
Some pipe rail ties have a bolt or screw that allows for the tightening of the bracket around the round post. This is for added security. The less the post wobbles the stronger it will be.
You can also use the wood-to-metal screws for round post attachments. I personally advise against this because it is difficult to get the hole started in the metal. After all, drilling on round objects is slippery but it is possible.
Square Post Attaching
The square post is much the same as the round post. Use either a bracket or a wood-to-metal screw. With the square post it is easiest to use a wood-to-metal screw, also known as self-drilling screws, and bypass the bracket altogether.
If you choose to use the bracket you have tons of options, ranging from a lightweight corner brace to the heavy-duty deck tie (which is the equivalent to the pipe rail tie).
I would advise using a corner brace about as much as I advise using a self-drilling screw on a round post. It’s possible and can be plenty effective, and sometimes the constraints of cost require as much, but it isn’t a good option.
To use these screws all you do is drill a pilot hole in your wood, then use the self-drilling screw to attach it to the metal post. Here is a short video explaining how these screws work.
The normal t-post will be either studded or just metal with no holes. This means to use a t-post will require you to do some things. There are basically two options; use metal screws and drill holes in your t post, or use a t-post bracket.
To screw into a t-post will be like screwing into a square or round post.
To use a bracket will be a lot like using a pipe rail tie. Though these are noticeably more expensive. Tractor Supply Co prices them at $4.49 each. Source
A thing to note with t-posts (and u-posts for that matter). They aren’t normally used permanently. This doesn’t mean they can’t be, they just normally aren’t.
Honestly, my personal opinion is don’t use a t-post for this kind of thing. It’s doable and if you’re on a budget then it might be the right option for you. However, they just aren’t made for this kind of thing. A square post with holes in it would be infinitely better than a t-post would be.
Methods Of Securing
How you attach will greatly influence how much stability your fence panels get from the metal post. How you secure your fence post will also attribute to the stability of your fence panels.
Depending on your needs there are really two ways of securing your metal posts. Pounding your post into the ground is an excellent way of doing things for short term problems. For long-term jobs, you will want to use concrete to secure your posts.
To pound the metal posts in, insert the post in a hole about two feet deep, pound it down using a post driver, and fill the hole in while packing the dirt down to help ensure a tight fit that your post won’t wiggle out of.
If you want your post to be permanent, all that needs to be done is instead of filling the hole with dirt, fill it with concrete.
After your post is secured to your desired level of security all that needs to happen is the installation of your wood to metal posts. We’ve gone over the different options that are available.
Though there are a few good options above, these are generalizations. Meaning they are an excellent starting place. Your situation will likely be different in one way or another.
Here is another video showcasing the whole project. Videos are great at teaching people how to do a project in a way that cannot be communicated through words. They are especially beneficial when learning how to do different construction projects. It is only a couple of minutes long and worth the watch. This video shows a pipe rail tie in use, the application will be essentially the same for all the posts though.