Friday, January 9, 2015

Premix concrete versus site mixed concrete for fence installation, which is better?

In the residential fence installation business there is always a discussion on comparing the use of premixed concrete products such as Sakrete versus site mixed concrete to install fence posts. Site mixed concrete at Sterling Fence Inc. means mixing sand, gravel,portland cement and water in certain proportions  in a cement mixer and pouring the footings with that mixture. We at Sterling Fence Inc. have been installing posts for 37 years and have found a place for both. The goal is to give the  customer a solid concrete footing that will keep there fence straight and solid over its lifetime,

It is generally accepted that a compression strength of 2500psi is acceptable with fence installations, according to building code C387 which is the building code specification for packaged, dry combined matter for concrete. Premixed concrete such as Sakrete have  7 day compression strength of 3000psi and a 28 day strength of 4200psi.  Site mixed concrete will yield similar results.

How do we at Sterling Fence Inc. decide when to  mix concrete and when to use a premixed product? It almost always comes down to which method will give us the greater efficiency which translates to a better value for our customers. At Sterling Fence Inc we pour concrete footings on every post with our residential fence installations. We dig an 8" diameter footing for our Western Red Cedar wood fence installations and a 6" diameter for our 4' tall chain link fence installations.  Many projects require 30 to 70 concrete footings to be poured. Using the premix products is not  as practical as site mix for us in terms of cost or efficiency although the resulting quality is the same.. On the other hand, in doing repairs where we may be replacing 4 or 5 posts, the premixed products work well.

In summary, premix concrete products and site mixed concrete both have there place at Sterling Fence Inc. The main focus is to do the installation correctly with the fence looking straight and good over its lifespan.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Mountain Split Rail Fence

Split Rail Fence is a type of fence that is constructed by splitting standard logs and using these rails to build fencing. Sterling Fence Inc. carries split rail in Cedar and Mountain Split Rail

Before barb wire became available in the late 1800's, one of the traditional fences constructed of rails split from logs which were rot resistant such as Chestnut or Yellow Locust. The rails were stacked in an alternate fashion, in a zig-zag pattern with an occasional post at the corners. As a variation of this style and a precursor to our modern style the rails were stacked in an alternate style in a straight line and sandwiched between posts in the line where they met the next rail.

Today, our Mountain Split Rail fence is usually a 3 rail style, using hardwood rails and a treated Southern Yellow Pine or Locust posts every 10' along the fence line. The fence measures 48" to the top rail and the rails themselves overlap each other within the post preventing rails from falling out as horses push against the fence. With these heavy hardwood rails, this makes it ideal for equestrian uses, pastures and paddocks. It is installed without nails so you don't encounter accidents that loose nails can cause. Sterling Fence Inc has sold and installed mountain split rail for close to 40 years with many installation still in great condition on horse farms around the country.