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Would you like to know how to break concrete off a fence post base? Well, we have researched this topic and have the answers for you. It's vital to understand how to properly break concrete off a fence post to avoid injury and recover the post.
To break concrete off a fence post base, first, remove it from the ground. Next, while wearing safety glasses, take a sledgehammer and repeatedly hit the concrete until it's removed from the fence post.
In this article, we will learn how to break concrete off a fence post base. We will also learn the answers to other interesting related questions, such as how do you mix concrete for a fence post, and how do you set a fence post in concrete? Keep reading to learn more.
How To Break Concrete Off Fence Post Base
Breaking concrete off a fence post base is best done when the fence post is out of the ground. This means that breaking concrete off a fence post base involves two steps—removing the post from the ground and breaking off the concrete. Let's look at these steps and learn how to execute them properly.
Removing The Post From The Ground
When removing a post with a concrete base from the ground, it's vital to have the proper tools. You will need a digging bar to break dirt apart and a spade shovel to remove loose soil.
It's also crucial to have the proper protective equipment to avoid injury. Safety glasses and gloves should be adequate to protect you while you work.
Start by taking your digging bar and breaking apart the dirt 6 to 10 inches around the post's concrete base. You should remove loose dirt with the spade shovel every 6 inches of depth. Keep repeating the process until you can see the bottom of the post's concrete base.
Now that most of the dirt has been removed around the post's base, you should be able to rock the concrete base back and forth using the post as leverage. Rocking the concrete base will help to weaken its bonds with the ground. After rocking the post, use your spade shovel to remove any additional loose dirt.
Now the concrete base should be pretty loose from its hole. Take a good grip on the base of the post just above the concrete and lift the post straight up. You may need some additional help if the concrete is particularly heavy.
If you have adequately loosened the post's concrete base, it should come straight out of the ground. If it's still stubborn, try using the digging bar to widen the hole and a spade shovel to remove excess loose dirt. Even a tiny amount of loose soil can hold the post in place.
Breaking Off The Concrete
Now that the post is out of the ground, you can begin breaking off the concrete. During this step, you must wear safety glasses since pieces of concrete can fly up and hit your eyes.
Take a sledgehammer and begin hitting the post's concrete base. It would be best only to hit the post as hard as you need to break off the concrete to avoid excess damage to the post. Avoiding damaging the post is vital if you plan to reuse it.
It's best to start breaking apart the concrete on either the top or the bottom of the post and use each previous impact to aid the following impact. Breaking off the concrete in this manner can be very labor intensive, so drink plenty of water and take breaks when your body tells you to.
Consider breaking off the concrete as a marathon instead of a race. You will be able to get more work done if you don't overexert yourself. Before you know it, you will have finished breaking the concrete off the fence post base.
How Do You Mix Concrete For A Fence Post?
You will need a bag or concrete mix and water to mix concrete for a fence post. There is a method of mixing the concrete with a cement mixer and one without. Let's learn how to mix concrete with a cement mixer and how to mix it without one.
With A Cement Mixer
To mix concrete with a cement mixer, add a bag of concrete mix into your cement mixer. Now, read the label on your particular bag of concrete mix for how much water to add.
You must carefully measure the correct amount of water for your concrete since different brands of concrete mixes require different amounts. The ratio of concrete to water dramatically affects how the concrete cures.
After adding the water to your cement mixer, turn it on and allow the concrete to mix with the water thoroughly. You will want your concrete to be a firm yet workable consistency.
The recommended amount of water specified on the concrete packaging usually underestimates the water you'll need. While you can always add more water to your concrete, you can't remove it, so add additional water slowly until you have the desired consistency.
Your cement should hold its shape when pressed together, like wet sand. If your concrete loses shape quickly and is runny, you've added too much water.
You will need to add more cement mix to remedy the situation if you've added too much water.
Without A Cement Mixer
If you don't have a cement mixer, you can still mix excellent cement, and all you need is a shovel and a wheelbarrow.
Pour your cement mix into your wheelbarrow and follow the steps to obtain the correct cement-to-water ratio. Mix the cement with the shovel by scooping up the cement mix and turning it over until it's evenly mixed.
Just like with the cement mixer, slowly add additional water until you have obtained the correct consistency, and then you are ready to set your fence post in concrete.
How Do You Set A Fence Post In Concrete?
To set a fence post in concrete, you need to dig an adequately sized hole for the fence post you are setting. The recommended depth of the hole is 1/3 the length of the post. This means if you are placing a 6-foot post, you need a 2-foot hole.
Dig a hole with a diameter that leaves 4 to 6 inches of space on each side of the post. A 6-inch wide post needs a 14- to 18-inch wide hole.
A narrow-headed shovel is best for digging fence post holes. If you want a shovel that makes digging fence post holes easier, here are two of the best on Amazon.
Corona General Purpose Trench Shovel
Ashman Drain Spade Shovel
Once you have the correct size hole for your post, place your post in the hole and add 6 inches of gravel. While nearly any gravel will work, many concrete brands sell bags of gravel specifically for setting fence posts in concrete.
Next, take a length of 2-by-4 just shorter than the width of your hole, and screw it horizontally to the side of your fence post about one foot underground. This will help to brace your fence post while the concrete cures.
Mix a batch of concrete and shovel it into your fence post's hole until it's about 6 inches below the surface. Before the concrete hardens, take a level and make any last-minute adjustments to ensure your post is level.
Depending on the concrete you used, it can take a few hours to days for your fence post to be ready to support any weight. Once the concrete is fully cured, you will have successfully set your fence post in concrete.
How Do You Set A Fence Post Without Mixing Concrete?
Some types of concrete don't require mixing. If you opt the use one of these types of concrete, then all the steps for setting your fence post are the same except when it comes time to mix.
Instead of mixing the concrete with water before pouring it into your fence's hole, add the concrete mix directly to the hole. Next, add the recommended amount of water to the hole and allow the concrete to harden.
Using non-mixing concrete can save time and effort, especially if you don't own a cement mixer.
This article covered the proper way to break concrete off a fence post base. We also discussed how to mix concrete with and without a cement mixer.
Remember, if you want to avoid mixing concrete, make sure you use non-mixing concrete because if you use a standard concrete mix, it won't set properly and will make a big mess.
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