A‌ ‌Guide‌ ‌To‌ ‌Drilling‌ ‌Fence‌ ‌Post‌ ‌Holes‌

One of the essential aspects of fence construction is drilling fence post holes. Your fence will be aligned, sturdy, and secure with correctly excavated post holes. Your fence may easily fall apart if you don’t have them. 

Digging holes for poles using a spade or shovel the old-fashioned manner may be physically demanding and time-consuming. Augers are the finest equipment for quickly and easily digging narrow, deep holes for posts, so you can go back to work on your project and finish your fence, deck, or retaining wall in no time. Unless you’re digging holes regularly, you’re unlikely to require an auger, but you can simply rent one from a variety of options on the market.

When it comes to drilling holes in the ground for posts, a fence post hole auger is the best tool for the task. When choosing this machine to dig fence post holes, there are a few choices to think about. You’ll need a motorized auger for drilling holes in the ground for posts and many types are built to work with bigger powerheads that need two persons to operate. If you don’t have a buddy to assist you in using a bigger model, power planter’s post hole augers may be used with powered heads that have a 1-inch drill chuck in digging fence post holes in rocky ground too.

In This Article

Table of Contents

Post drilling process - Hammer Excavations

How An Auger Makes Post Hole Drilling Easier?

A surprising amount of equipment is required to dig a post hole the old-fashioned way; various shovels to make pilot holes and remove topsoil, a clamshell digger to deepen the hole, and a steel spud bar to dislodge rocks and dirt while digging.

Augers make the procedure easier. After you’ve excavated a pilot hole, all you have to do now is put the auger in position and let it operate. Simply remove the auger from the hole after drilling to the appropriate depth, and the work is done. Augers are a godsend for those who aren’t in top physical shape or prone to back aches from the prolonged effort. With an auger, the procedure is likewise considerably quicker. You’ll save a lot of time, making the work more efficient and lowering physical labor.

How To Use An Auger For Post Holes

Using a post hole auger may seem challenging at first, but it is straightforward once you get the hang of it.

Make careful to support yourself and stand with your knees slightly bent before starting the auger’s motor. If you’re using the two-person auger, make sure you and the other person are on opposite sides of the auger, gripping the corresponding side’s handles.

Turn on the fuel supply and power switch, then pull the starting cord to start the engine. Begin slowly, allowing the auger to drill into the earth until it reaches a depth of around 6 inches. Remove the drill from the hole and eliminate the soil to remove the extra weight after you’ve reached that depth.

After that, you may return the auger to the hole and repeat the process of digging and removing soil until you reach the desired depth.

Steps For Drilling Fence Post Holes

If you’re constructing a fence around your home or lifestyle block, or if you’re setting construction piles, you’ll almost certainly need to drill a few holes to keep the wood or concrete posts in place. With an adequately excavated post hole, you can be sure that your fence or deck’s posts will be solid, which will offer excellent support for the whole structure, ensuring that your fence will stand firm against everything that comes its way. On the other hand, creating these post holes may be time-consuming and challenging without the appropriate equipment and knowledge. 

There are four simple actions that you may follow to help you finish your job more quickly and efficiently.

Step1: Measurement And Tagging

Preparing a post hole begins with measuring and marking the area where you want the post to be placed. Locate a safe location and draw a line precisely where you want the posts to be installed. It’s important to remember that the hole should be twice as wide as the post while you measure out the hole, so make sure you leave enough space between each hole to accommodate the extra gap between holes. 

You should mark the auger with something temporary and removable (such as tape or chalk) at the depth at which you want to drill the hole so that you know where to stop while you’re drilling. This will ensure that you don’t drill too far into the ground and that the hole doesn’t become too deep. A string line or guide may be used to assist your posts in line and vertical while you are boring holes for a fence and following a straight line or line of sight.

By choosing a safe location for the hole to be dug, you can be confident that the post will be placed in the correct location and that you will not lose sight of it throughout the digging process, which can happen very quickly.

Step 2: Drilling and Clearing The Hole

You may begin excavating and cleaning the hole once you’ve marked the location. If the terrain is incredibly rocky or rugged, slicing the dirt at the top of the hole with a round-mouth shovel can release it. To do so, place the shovel’s blade vertically on the side of the hole while pointing the handle away from your body. Then, with two feet, leap directly on the spade’s blade to cut the hole’s walls. To hit each side of the hole, repeat this process four times. This step may not be required if the ground is soft.

After you’ve excavated the pilot hole, move to a one-person post hole auger if the hole is small or a two-person post hole auger with the assistance of a buddy if the hole is more extensive. This tool will make the task more straightforward than he shovels since it will produce level walls in the hole and shape it into a barrel form, ideal for a post hole. Don’t worry if you don’t have a post hole hammer and drill.

To prevent any accidents, ensure you have the proper safety equipment before using the post hole drill, such as eye protection, hearing protection, gloves, and safety shoes. Pull the cord to start the post-hole auger, and you’re ready to go from there.

If you’re using a two-person post hole auger, place one person on each side of the auger and grip the handles tightly to follow the below further steps:

  • Slowly increase the post hole auger’s throttle and let the machine begin digging into the hole.
  • The blades will slice through the gravel more readily if they are pushed into the ground. When operating the auger, make sure you have a firm hold on the handles with two hands at all times and maintain consistent pressure. You may see roots and other debris in the path of the post hole auger as you widen the hole.
  • Simply spin the blades to cut through them, and you’ll be able to finish digging the hole.
  • Bring the post hole auger back up and clean the dirt from the blade after you’ve gotten about 6 inches into the ground. This will allow the blade to clear the hole more quickly.
  • Place the soil in a pile next to the dirt to help to backfill the hole simpler later.

Step 3: Concreting The Posts In The Holes

After you’ve dug the holes for each post, you may start putting the post in place using concrete:

  • Begin by soaking the hole with water and allowing it to seep into the earth.
  • After that, you must layer gravel at the bottom of each hole to improve drainage, or otherwise, the wood of the posts would rot and the metal will rust.
  • Place the pole in the center of the hole, on top of the gravel, and make sure the pole is upright and the posts are aligned with your string guides. Support the posts with wood or clamps while pouring and setting concrete around them.
  • From here, make sure you’ve mixed your concrete well enough since a weaker concrete mix may lead the posts to become weak as well. Make sure your concrete is properly mixed and ready to use. Hire a concrete mixer for jobs that need numerous posts to be placed. This will ensure speeding up the process to save your time.
  • Reclaim the round-mouth shovel and begin putting your mixed concrete into the hole, filling it evenly below ground level and ensuring that the posts stay upright while the concrete sets.

Step 4: Leveling The Posts

To enhance the overall look of the posts, the last step is to trim them to an equal height. While this step can be completed before the concrete is poured, it is preferable to do so afterward to account for uneven terrain and unequal hole depths.

To accomplish this, you must:

  • Measure the height you want each post to be and mark it on each side, ensuring they’re all the same height. You may use a string line between the first and final posts to indicate the height of many posts in between, ensuring that all of your posts are at the same height.
  • Then, whether you’re using a reciprocating saw, circular saw, or any other cutting tool, get your cutting equipment out.  
  • Align your cutting tool with the marks you’ve made on each post, then pull the trigger and let the blade reach full speed.
  • With both hands, slowly push the blade through the post, using the marked line as a guide to cut cleanly through it.
  • Keep your finger away from the trigger when the saw isn’t in use to avoid accidentally activating the saw.

Auger Drilling Fence Post Holes - Some Incredible Tips

It’s exciting to simply power up the auger and go for a day of digging, but a little care and planning ahead of time may help you drill the proper holes for the task. Here are some suggestions to help you drill a flawless line of holes every time.

1. To begin, remove the upper surface of the ground (Sod)

It may surprise you to learn that augers may choke when drilling through a thick layer of sod, given how rapidly they drill through dirt—even heavy clay soil. Grass and plants may jam the auger’s end, staying in place and making it difficult for the blades to grasp the earth below, especially in rainy circumstances. Using a shovel to remove sod before drilling can save you time.

2. Make a plan

If you’re constructing a wooden fence, you’ll want to ensure your posts are in a straight, exact line. Driving temporary pegs from one place on the fence line to another and stretching a long rope between them is a simple method to accomplish this. This allows you to measure and indicate the position of each post simply and clearly.

However, your vigilance should not end there. Make sure the tip of the auger penetrates the dirt at the exact place you’ve indicated after you’ve appropriately noted the location of each post. If the auger slides and drills a little too far to the left or right, it may not seem like a huge problem, but if your posts are close enough (eight feet or less), you’ll see the resultant holes weaving in and out of line. Adjust the auger as needed to ensure that the posts are equally spaced throughout the whole fence line.

3. Direct Your Arrow Downward

Make sure the auger does not penetrate the ground at an angle. At best, you’ll end up with a difficult-to-backfill hole, and at worst, you’ll be dealing with a crooked fence post. When you’re seated on the tractor, it’s tough to see whether the auger is entering the ground straight, so enlist the aid of a friend to stand to the side and keep an eye on your auger’s location. If the auger begins to tilt, have them give you a warning wave.

4. Drill Large Holes

If you have the option to select the diameter of your auger, drill a hole that is considerably larger than your posts. A hole three times the diameter of the post isn’t excessive. You’ll have an easier job backfilling and locking posts in place if you drill large, roomy holes. In addition, if the hole is too small, packing the backfill may be problematic, resulting in insecure and unstable posts.

The Concluding Word

While aligning and securing a fence around your home or lifestyle block, drilling fence post holes is a straightforward process, provided you have the appropriate tools and know-how. You may be sure that your fence or deck’s posts will be sturdy, giving excellent support for the whole structure if you dig a correctly excavated post hole.

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