There are a lot of different ways to set fence posts. Of those, fence post anchor spikes almost seem too good to be true! Do fence post anchors actually work?
Fence post anchor spikes work well by allowing one to place and remove fence posts without having to dig large holes. A fence that uses fence post anchor spikes is just as stable as a fence with posts set in concrete, with the added benefit of minimizing the rotting of the fence posts.
Though they may make setting your fence posts straightforward and simple, something that is normally quite difficult and time consuming, that does not mean that fence post anchor spikes are without their own set of challenges.
What is a Fence Post Anchor?
A fence post anchor is a spike normally made of galvanized (and sometimes powder-coated) steel. This spike has a box at the top of it to fit your fence post into. The box enables you to easily place the fence post into the anchor, once the anchor has been properly set and leveled in the ground.
Due to their steel construction, the fence post anchor spikes will last for years and years (some even lasting for up to 50 years!).
Even though your posts may not last quite that long, you won’t need to dig a hole again, reset concrete, or anything like that. You just place the post in the bracket and secure it!
Why Would I Want a Fence Post Anchor?
One of the biggest benefits of using a fence post anchor spike is ease and simplicity of setting and removing fence posts.
Normally, when you set fence posts, you have to dig a deep hole, fill it with rocks or a concrete mixture, and then place the post in and let it set. It’s quite the process.
However, after you pound the fence post anchor spike level into the ground, you can simply slot in the fence post and it is all ready to go!
So long as you have a sledgehammer (either two handed or one handed) and either a cut off stub of a fence post or something to place on top to facilitate pounding the spike into the ground, you can set a fence post anchor spike. It’s really that simple!
Additionally, fence post anchor spikes are very stable. Fences with posts set in anchor spikes are just as stable as fences with posts set in concrete.
However, with concrete, your posts can and will rot over time as water seeps into the tiny gap caused by the wooden post expanding and contracting with the changes in temperature through the year.
Because of this, you have to replace your posts more often than you might like (although let’s be real, no one wants to have to replace their fence posts).
With the fence post anchor spikes, the wood is protected by the steel. The post isn’t even actually in the ground! The steel spike is what is in the soil, protecting the wood from the moisture of the soil and insects.
Are Fence Post Anchors Worth the Added Cost?
One of the downsides to fence post anchor spikes is the additional cost. Fence post anchor spikes are traditionally more expensive than using concrete.
However, even though the initial cost may be slightly more expensive, the fence post anchor spikes will keep your wooden fence posts safe from heavy damage and rot.
This alone could easily justify the extra upfront cost within 5 to 10 years.
Fence posts also make setting your posts easier. The time and energy alone it could save to not have to dig a hole and set concrete would be worth it.
How to Set Fence Posts With Fence Post Anchors
Fortunately, the hardest part of setting fence posts when you use fence post anchor spikes is the setting of the anchor spikes themselves. Even still, it’s a fairly simple task.
You won’t need many tools for this job just:
- Sledgehammer (one-handed or two-handed) or a hard rubber mallet
- Fence post anchor spikes
- Fence post
- Cut-off piece of a fence post, or similarly sized piece of wood
- Something to mark where the anchor spike should go, like chalk or string
Start by marking out with chalk or spray paint on the ground where your fence posts should be, using a piece of string to make sure that your fence will be straight.
Then, after that, you can begin installing the fence spikes into the ground!
The video below is a tutorial by Mountain Fencing, Home and Garden on YouTube about how to install fence post anchor spikes into the ground:
After making sure the anchor spike is level, just put the fence posts in the brackets and secure the fence posts. Depending on the anchor spike, there may be additional hardware that you need to secure the post with.
Continue building your fence as normal!
What to Be Aware of When Installing Fence Post Anchors
One of the complications and downsides of using fence post anchor spikes is that they can be tricky to keep level while you are setting them.
While setting the fence post anchor spikes, continually check that they are level. If you aren’t careful, even a single swing of your sledgehammer or mallet could push the spike out of alignment. The last thing you want to have to do is remove the spike because it ended up not being level at the end.
Something else to be aware of if you are installing the anchor spikes in a non-level area is that you may have to bury some of the anchor spikes deeper than others to compensate for the differences in altitude.
Finally, always make sure to not encroach on your neighbor’s territory.
If you are replacing a pre-existing fence, put the anchors right where they were. If you are putting in a fence that wasn’t there before, be explicitly sure that you are on your own property.
Best of luck in your fencing endeavors!