Installing a fence is no easy project. It’s definitely not any easier when Mother Nature decides it’s about time for another downpour. But never fear, a little rain doesn’t have to mean putting the project on hold.
It is possible to install a fence even when it’s raining. But if you’re expecting heavy, torrential rain for a few days, don’t plan on it. If you are carrying on this project despite the weather, there are some precautions you should take care of and other things to know.
This article centers the process mostly on wood fences, but the process is quite similar for all other types of fences as well. Some extra obstacles can come from working on this project in wet weather. Below, I’ve laid out a simple process for you as you go about installing your fence even when it’s raining.
Starting Your Project
After you’ve geared up against the weather with gloves, a raincoat, and some sturdy shoes, gather your tools and materials for a building adventure out in the weather. And don’t forget to check if you need any sort of building permit before you begin actually building your fence.
Some tools you will need:
- Shovel or something to make your holes with
- Measuring device (for checking the accuracy of your posts)
- Power drill or fastening tool
- Proper tools for mixing and pouring concrete
Now you’re ready to begin!
Digging Your Holes
As always, be sure to mark where you want your holes to be and double-check that they are aligned the way you wish before you actually start digging.
On the plus side, since the ground is probably at least a little damp from the rain, it will be a bit easier to dig! Because of the weather conditions, dig your holes a little deeper than usual for your posts (about 3-5 extra inches). Standard holes can be anywhere between 20 inches deep and enough to bury up to half of the fence posts, but it might vary depending on what your local building codes and guidelines are.
The width of the hole should also be at least 3 times the width of your post to allow proper room for pouring concrete and aligning your fence posts.
Once you have your holes all dug out, be sure to check them periodically throughout the rest of the process to make sure they aren’t collapsing or filling up with too much water.
Putting In Your Posts
One common suggestion for putting in fence posts while it’s raining is to layer the bottom of your holes with just a couple inches of gravel to keep the posts from sinking into the ground and help create more sturdiness. This can be useful because it will help protect the bottom of your posts from the damp ground as well.
It’s also strongly suggested that treated wood be used to help prevent rot. Treated wood is wood that has been treated with appropriate chemicals to help prolong it’s functionality longer than untreated wood would.
Concrete can hold moisture against wooden posts which can also play a part in developing rot more rapidly, so that is another thing to be cautious about when putting in fence posts while it is raining.
Time For Concrete
The foundation is the most important part of a fence’s strength and durability. If you are setting and pouring concrete in wet weather it can be especially difficult to get it just the way it needs to be. If concrete isn’t set right, your fence posts won’t last as long and can even develop air pockets under the surface if the post shifts while the concrete is still drying.
At this point in the building process, you are ready to prepare and use your concrete. Dry mix concrete is most useful for building fences when it’s raining. When preparing to put in your concrete, make sure it isn’t too watery, especially because of the additional rain element, otherwise it will take too long to set and the structure of your fence won’t be as sturdy.
If you have a wheelbarrow, it would be helpful to pour and mix the concrete in that since you can easily take it out to where your new fence will be.
Adding calcium chloride to your concrete mix can be a good solution to faster drying concrete if it’s done correctly. Calcium chloride will only work if the temperature is cold enough; the weather should be 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below for the conditions to be right and for it to work the way it should. So take some time to consider if calcium chloride is actually needed for your situation; if you do decide to use it, make sure it’s under the right conditions.
The faster your concrete sets, the more supported your fence will be. Even in the rain, concrete should set in about 24 hours. It might set even faster depending on if you choose to use calcium chloride or not.
After you’ve set your posts in the ground and put them in the concrete, work quickly to make sure they’re secure, and then adjust them as needed so that they’re straight and even. Then you’re pretty much done, and all you have to do now is wait for the concrete to set and then go back out and check on your handiwork!
If you know that you’ll be installing your fence while it’s raining, seriously take some time for planning and preparation. And just because you might feel capable of completing this project no matter what, please don’t think that no matter the amount of rain you can still get the project done.
A little rain is okay, but if you are expecting heavier rains or downpours, and if there might be any possibility of flash floods where you live, please wait to work on this project until there is better weather to work under. Nice weather is always preferable so just take the necessary precautions if you do decide to work on building a fence in the rain.