Do you need to install a new vinyl fence or replace an existing one? If your fence posts are going to rest directly in soil, you need to figure out the best way to install them. There are a few ways that you can set a solid fence post into soil ground. This article compares using concrete footing to installing a post directly into the ground without using any footing.

Setting your post within concrete footing is usually the most durable solution. But, it does depend on how deep you can dig your hole and the consistency of your soil. For instance, if you have really hard soil with a bunch of rocks that you can't dig past, you are obviously going to need to dig deeper if you are going to set your post directly in the soil. If not enough of the post is under ground, then it could be flimsy.

When it comes to setting post into the soil without using any concrete, you want to make sure that your underground post length is about half that of the overall post height. So, if you need a 4' tall post, you probably need a 2' deep hole. Obviously, this becomes problematic when you are installing 6' or 8' tall fences, particularly when the soil is hard to dig through. A fence post that is set in concrete footing can usually be about half as deep. So, a 4' tall post might only need a single foot of post set within the concrete footing. And 8' tall post would need about 2'. Once again, there are no set rules, so it is usually best to be safe and dig as deep as possible.

Even when you are using concrete footing, the consistency of your soil can affect it. If you have extremely loose soil and you don't properly prepare it when you dig the hole, the concrete footing can become loose within the hole, and then you will just have a flimsy post. Obviously, the weight of the concrete can help a bit, but you also need to make sure that the concrete is set firm within the soil, so it doesn't move around. 

All in all, the setting of your fence post is probably the most vital part of the entire installation process. You need to make sure your post are solid, or else your entire fence could be structurally weak and unreliable. For more information, contact a local fencing company or visit sites like