The use of concrete for fence posts dates back to the early twentieth century, and has since been one of the most used materials for erecting fences due to its strength and durability.
But is concrete still a good choice for fencing in 2021? What are the pros and cons of using concrete fence posts? And are there better alternatives available? Read on as we explore all you need to know in this article.
The pros of concrete fence posts
Due to its almost impermeable surface, concrete can be easily maintained. This means that liquids, mould, and rot cannot easily penetrate the concrete and will remain on the outside of the posts.
To keep concrete posts looking brand new through, you’ll want to give them a thorough clean every few months, preferably with a pressure washer. Their tough surface will hold a lot of grime, and this can build up relatively quickly.
Unlike timber fence posts, concrete is not a degradable material and cannot be attacked by insects. This makes for a highly durable solution that can last for around 20 years.
One of the main advantages to using concrete as a fencing material is its strength. Concrete posts can withstand high wind speeds, and are particularly strong in coastal areas where seawater spray would otherwise harm timber posts.
Concrete posts aren’t fully protected by salt spray though. The steel rebar within the post will eventually be attacked, which weakens the integrity of the post.
The cons of concrete fence posts
While at first, concrete posts look like a good option for your fence, exploring the material in further detail underlines several drawbacks – drawbacks that will likely push you towards another option. So, what exactly are the cons of using concrete for your fence posts?
Installation difficulty and costs
Concrete fence posts typically weigh over 40kg, and corner posts up to 90kg! which doesn’t make for a smooth installation. They often require multiple people to carry, transport, and ensure safety during installation. This increases the installation time as well as labour costs involved.
Labelled ‘the most destructive material on earth’ by The Guardian, concrete has an enormous impact on the health of our planet. In fact, it’s said to be responsible for 4-8% of the worlds CO2.
So, if sustainability is something you value, concrete fence posts aren’t for you.
Although concrete is strong and durable in many ways, it’s not invincible. Concrete posts are susceptible to chips and cracks, which can cause problems for your fencing.
When a small chip or crack appears on the surface, water can travel deep into the post. The water can then freeze in cold conditions (usually overnight), causing the chip or crack to worsen overtime. This reveals the metal reinforcements, which are now unprotected with the possibility of rust – frequently responsible for weakening the integral structure of a fence.
Lack of style
Choosing a fence based on looks comes down to personal preference, but we can all agree that concrete isn’t the easiest on the eye – especially for your home. It’s bulky, industrial-looking, and very limited in terms of style options.