Do Fence Post Spikes (Or Anchors) Work?

Fencing post spikes or anchors are a popular alternative to concrete when it comes to setting up fence posts. But do they really work? We’ve researched and here’s what we learned:

Fence posts anchored in fence post spikes are as stable and durable as concrete-set posts. Not to mention the improved fence posts' longevity, as it keeps moisture out of the wood. 

Below, we’ll discuss what exactly are fence post spikes, how they work, how to install them, and if there are alternatives. So read more!

Small wooden fence at a small ranch, Do Fence Post Spikes (Or Anchors) Work?

What Are Fence Spikes/Anchors And How Do They Work?

Fence post spikes are galvanized or powder-coated, steel that come with boxes at the top, This enables easy placement of the fence posts once they’ve been driven in and leveled properly on the ground. Thus, eliminating the hassle of having to dig large holes or use concrete. The most common fence post spikes used is the 24” which can support 4 feet high fences.

A small wooden fence with an orange ribbon

Types Of Fence Post Spikes

Drive-In Post Spikes

Drive-in fence post spikes are heavy gauge steel anchors that come with built-in bolts and or a combination of interior metal teeth and screws that are used to fix and secure the posts. They are available in different sizes and last a long time.

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Concrete-In Post Spikes

Concrete-in post spikes are used on the soil where drive-in fence post spikes are unsuitable. The "shoe" is set into an 18-inch cube of concrete for the base plate to sit evenly. You have to make sure though that its spirit is leveled before you allow the concrete to cure.

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How To Use Fence Post Spikes?

To use fence post anchors, place them where you want your fence to be, then drive them into the ground with driving tools and a sledgehammer. Using a spirit level, check if they are vertically aligned, you can then insert the fence posts and secure them.

Do Fence Post Spikes Really Work?

A long line of wooden fence posts with barb wires

Yes, fence post spikes work great in setting up a good foundation for fencing. They stabilize the fence panels, preventing leaning or sagging. As we’ve mentioned before, they also protect the timber post from rotting early. So if you are looking for an easy fencing solution that is as structurally sound as posts set on concrete, go for fence post spikes!

What Types Of Fence Are Post Spikes Used For

Fence post spikes are specifically designed for timber or wooden posts which will likely be required for different types of fencing such as ranch style, picket, wood panels, close board, and trellis.

How To Install Fence Post Spikes

The fence post spikes installation is relatively simple. But before you get started, prepare the following tools:

  • Sledgehammer

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  • Spirit level

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  • Offcut of the fence post/ post-driving tool

  1. Put the post-driving tool into the fence post spike to prevent the anchor from getting damaged as you hammer it into the ground. Cut both ends square to get a level surface. Then drive the fence posts spikes into the soil with a sledgehammer.
  2. Make sure to check the vertical alignment from time to time with a spirit level because it will be harder to fix as the fence post spike goes deeper into the ground. Use the post-driving tool to reposition the spikes if necessary.
  3. Once the top box is just 1 cm above the ground, place your fence post and secure it with built-in bolts or internal gripping teeth. 

TIP: A sledgehammer can cause the fence post spikes to twist due to the off-center force, so turn the spike an eighth clockwise before you drive it in if you are right-handed and vice versa if you are left-handed to avoid twisting.

Pros And Cons Of Fence Post Spikes

See the main advantages and disadvantages of using fence post spikes:

Pros

  • Easy to install: Normally, when erecting a fence post, you have to dig holes, fill the gap with rocks, and seal it with concrete. But with fence post spikes, you need not go through all that. As mentioned, you just need to sledgehammer the spikes into the ground, saving you time and effort!
  • Inhibits wood decay: Fence post spikes keep the fence posts above the ground, keeping them from dirt and moisture that cause rot.
  • Quick to remove: It’s easy to get it out of the ground when the time comes that you have to replace it or the fence posts,

Cons

  • Incompatible with other types of fences: Fence post spikes are ill-suited with chain links and commercial fence posts.
  • Limited height: Generally, fence post spikes can only hold and support up to 60” fences, otherwise; they might warp. 
  • Expensive: Fence post spikes are more costly than concrete, the price starts at $25 each.
  • Difficult to level: Since they are sledge-hammered into the ground, it’s hard to get them leveled.

How Long Do Fence Post Spikes Last?

A small stockpile of sharp fence posts

Made of heavy-duty steel, fence post spikes can last for up to 50 years! It can outlast your fence, so you can use them to rebuild your fence. They’re undoubtedly cost-effective.

Can You Use Use Fence Post Spikes With Concrete Post?

No, they are only made for timber or wooden post. If you plan to use concrete posts, you need to set and stabilize them with concrete or cement. Here’s how to install concrete posts.

Can You Use Fence Post Spikes For Pergola?

Yes, you can use bolt-down fence post shoes or concrete-in post spikes to build pergola posts. You can fix them on existing walls or concrete, so you need not worry about messing up or destroying your yard. They are also a perfect choice for patios.

Are There Better Alternatives To Fence Post Spikes?

Installing metal brackets for a fence post

You may use postcrete. It’s a ready-to-use cement consisting of aggregates, sand, and additives that require no mixing. This one is suitable for wood, metal, and concrete fencing. One bag is enough for one fence post.

You just need to dig at least a 2 feet hole in the ground, with the lower half-rounded like a ball for a steady fixing. It can last longer than fence post spikes. Here’s how to use postcrete or post-mix.

In terms of fencing, there’s no one size that fits all. To say the least, postcrete is the go-to if you want to set up a permanent fence. But if you plan to put up a fence that you can replace, revamp, and remove, go for fence post spikes.

Conclusion

Small wooden fence at a small ranch

Fence post spikes work great. Fence posts anchored with them are no different from fence posts set on concrete in terms of stability. In addition, they are quick and easy to install. They are also almost effortless to get off the ground in case you plan to replace and remove them later.  

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