I am trying to find out what the manufacturer's recommended procedures for installing PVC Fence posts are. My Dad recently had some PVC fencing put in around his property for his horses. The person who installed it put dry concrete in each hole and told me that "when it rains the water will seep into the dry concrete and cure." I am somewhat skeptical and would like to know if this is a correct way to install this type of fencing.
You have a good question. Manufacturers’ recommendations may vary with each product line, and I'm not sure which brand your father purchased. But, I can tell you what we have found to work the best. Frost depths should be considered, and in cold weather states, posts should be at least 3 feet in the ground. All posts should be concreted.
We feel the best way is to use a wet-mix concrete (footer mix) and keep concrete below the frost line. This will help to keep posts from heaving. In some cases, it is just not possible to use a wet mix. With a dry mix, we suggest using water in the hole with the secrete. Be sure to push the mix around or "poke" the mix, making sure the water does come in contact with the mix. Additionally, this helps to remove pockets of air. Lastly, if you do live in an area that is damp or if you do get a good bit of rain, you can leave the mix dry around the posts. In some areas, water stands in the holes because water table levels are so high.
My personal opinion is that I would not want the horses to lean on the fence until any concrete has cured and set up. That can take up to a month depending on the weather. (It literally takes concrete a year to totally cure, but within a month it normally hardens enough for use.) We also recommend using electric with any PVC fencing that is used for animal containment.
This also brings me to a whole other topic, installation. It is so important for consumers to be sure they ask their installer how they install the fence before having it installed. Prices differ greatly due to this reason. When you see a finished product, you see the overall picture but do not see what is under ground (the most important part of the life of your fence). Many installers struggle with this issue. Due to customers wanting "the lowest price", installers may cut corners in order to get the job.
I always tell customers to be sure and see if they are comparing apples to apples when they get competitive pricing. Do not be too intimidated to get answers. Be specific and to the point. If you haven't already, ask your installer if he will come back to do repairs in the next year if any are needed.
I hope this will help you. If you have any further questions, please feel free to let me know.Debbie