What are the Advantages of Steel Fence Posts?
Perhaps the biggest advantage of steel fence posts is the cost savings over wood posts, but the price tag is not the only advantage to metal over wood or vinyl. They are easy to install, they last much longer than treated lumber, and they can be fixed relatively easily when bent. They are a versatile choice for chain link fencing, wood fencing, or other types of fences that need to be strong and long-lasting. Be sure to choose high quality steel fence posts, however, as steel is prone to rusting if not galvanized.
Steel fence posts are often used on chain link fences, but they can also be used for wooden fencing. The posts can be sunk in concrete like wooden posts, but for many types of fences, this is not necessary. The metal post can be sunk directly into the ground, provided it is sunk far enough down. Concrete only adds more support and strength, however, and for security fencing, concrete may be the best option. Fence posts made from steel are strong enough to support most fencing materials, especially for residential use, and while some may argue steel fence posts are not as attractive as wood, they can be easily concealed to keep the pleasing aesthetic of the fence.
Galvanized steel fence posts should be used on any fence. Galvanizing the posts essentially means the posts have been coated in another chemical or material to help prevent rusting. This ensures the posts last a long time and do not begin to rust when exposed to the elements. Galvanized steel posts will last exponentially longer than wood posts — even treated wood posts — which tend to rot, dry out, and break after years of exposure to the elements. Steel posts do not need to be treated after purchase, like wood posts often do.
The cost savings of steel posts have an added benefit: should a post bend or break beyond repair, a replacement can be purchased cheaply and installed easily. The initial purchase price of a steel fence post is less than that of a wood or vinyl post, and if the steel post should bend, it can often be bent back into place without necessitating a replacement. Thinner gauge steel posts can also be purchased for lighter weight fencing, such as garden fencing. These posts are lightweight, inexpensive, and easy to sink into the ground; with wire secured to them, these posts can help keep unwanted pests out of the garden with minimal effort and cost.
@lluviaporos: I can understand your points, and they have value, but at what cost? Ultimately it's a personal choice. I have spent the morning digging out a wood fence post set in concrete. It was time consuming and difficult labor that I want to avoid doing in five years.
Put bluntly (but not meant to be offensive), I'd rather use steel and enjoy its effectiveness and longevity and spend the time, energy and money (I now don't have to spend replacing my fence post every five to seven years) and do something with others or contribute to another worthwhile cause.
Yes, there is a cost to steel posts being made, but I can't control if a company isn't using responsible green practices. That is not to say I am not aware and mindful of green living, but I think it is silly to compromise priorities (time with my kids, serving others, spending time with my wife, work, further education, my health, etc) so I can "be green". That seems a bit out of order.
At any rate, I appreciate your perspective. For someone in a different circumstance other than my own, perhaps what you said is right for them.
Thanks. -- Joel N.
The proper steel fence post costs much more than wood.
What is the disadvantage? I can think of one. In my case, many of my steel posts get rusty on the bottom due to dogs peeing for many years. (15 years). When we replace the fence/posts entirely, we discovered many posts have rust on the bottom. A couple of them are actually cut off. I do not think these posts will be rust-free forever, especially not with dogs peeing on them. I am thinking about buying silver spray with rust proof to cover the bottom parts to be safe. What do you think?
@Iluviaporos - Well, wood fence posts are superior in my mind because they are ultimately sustainable. Metal is still relatively cheap, but supplies of it can't last forever.
I'd rather use a material that will be easily replaced in 40 years when it becomes necessary. And it's much easier to get wood posts that have been sourced sustainably. You just have to make sure the wood came from a plantation.
Whereas, unless the metal is recycled, it's probably from a mine that does environmental damage.
It's strange that even though it really seems like metal fence posts are superior in almost every way to wood, I would still prefer to use wood. It just seems like it would look nicer and generally be the better material even though I have no real reasons for that to be so.
Maybe I would rather not make something like a fence that would last for a hundred years anyway. I'd rather have something that blends into the landscape and eventually disappears into it.
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