Fixing fence posts into concrete is the most common way to erect fencing, but drive-in metal post spikes provide a sturdy alternative that is suitable for many domestic fencing applications.
The main advantages of post spikes are:
- simple to install
- provide protection to the base of the fence post from water
- make replacing a broken fence post simple
Why use fence post spikes?
The main advantage of metal fence spikes for post support is their ease of installation, using only simple tools with no need for digging or concrete.
Even high-quality treated timber posts will decay to some degree over time when sitting in concrete. Since fence post spikes are topped with a box that secures the base of the fence post just above the ground, you instantly cut the odds of having rot problems.
If a fence post does fail it is easily removed and replaced. Simply unbolt or unscrew the broken post at the base and remove, rather than having to dig up its concrete foundation.
Concreted-in fence posts can occasionally twist out of line when weather causes the ground to shift. This won't happen with drive in post spikes. In addition there is no need to bury a third of your post underground, hence the cost of your posts is reduced.
Fence spikes are also useful for many other jobs in the garden, for example erecting the posts for a clothes line or installing a free-standing decorative fence panel to create garden screening.
The main application where fence spikes are not suitable is when the fence posts are under any kind of lateral force. For example, chain link fencing relies on taught wires between the posts which would put too much pressure on spikes.
Which type of fence spike should I use?
Drive-in post spikes are made of heavy gauge steel, and are designed to last for years. They are available in various sizes to accommodate different sizes of post, and the post is fixed into the spike with either built-in bolts or a combination of screws and internal gripping teeth.
We recommend a post spike with bolts for the sturdiest fixing method, which also makes the fence post easier to remove if damaged. If you are using a fence spike where the post is fixed with screws, ensure that you use screws that are suitable for outdoor use.
How to install a fence spike
The process of installing drive-in posts spikes is relatively straightforward. You will need:
Insert the offcut of fence post into the spike to protect the metal from damage during installation. Make sure that the offcut has been cut square on each end to give a level surface. Then drive the spike into the ground with the post rammer or sledge hammer, checking the vertical alignment with the spirit level frequently.
Top tip - if you are using a sledge hammer, the force being applied is slightly off centre and may cause the spike to twist slightly as it is driven into the ground. To rectify this turn your spike an eighth turn clockwise if you're right handed (the opposite way if you're left handed) at the start to allow for any twisting.
The further the spike is into the ground the harder it will be to realign, so check the level more frequently as you go deeper. The post offcut will give you more leverage or a side surface to hammer making repositioning easier.
Once the box at the top of the spike is about one centimetre above the ground, tap your fence post into the spike and secure with the bolts or screws.
Ask the fencing experts
For further advice about your fencing project don’t hesitate to speak to our fencing experts at your local AVS Fencing & Landscaping Supplies branch. Our ranges of post spikes and fencing materials are all available either to click and collect from your local AVS Branch or for home delivery within our AVS Branch delivery area.