Building a T-post fence is an excellent way to keep your property safe and secure. It’s also a great way to add value to your property because it provides privacy, security, and it looks good too! However, if you’re not careful when building this type of fence then you might end up with problems that are difficult or expensive to fix. If you want the job done right the first time around then read these instructions carefully before starting construction on your new T-post fence.
T-posts are steel posts that expose a “T” shape in cross-section in their construction. On the flat side of the post are pins that allow you to attach the fence wire, using clips or insulators to hold the electrified wire in place. T-posts are used in low voltage fence applications. This article explains how to create a fence section.
The purpose of your fence will determine how it is assembled: Will you be fencing to keep animals inside the fenced area, or is the fence to keep animals outside the fenced area? Are you using electric or non-electric wire? Do you need a gate or is this a barrier fence?
Preparation: take a hammer and put out a grade or marker at the corners of your fence line. Call your utility company and have them mark any underground cables that may be near your fence. Assemble your tools and materials at the job site.
Corners provide the strength that your T-posts do not. No matter how long your fence is, T-posts don’t make good corner posts. It’s better to use wooden corner posts and brackets. Even for a low-tension fence, you need sturdy corners to pull the fence wire tight. Dig the appropriate hole for each corner post, deep enough for the post to rest below the freeze line for your area. Place your wooden corner post in the hole. Stand the post up vertically and pack about half full of dirt into the hole around the post. Tamp the soil firmly with your tamping bar, checking periodically to make sure the post is still plumb. Fill the rest of the hole with dirt and tamp firmly again, checking the plumb of the post. Avenge some more loose soil around the bottom of the post to allow it to settle. If you are using square posts like 4 x 4 treated lumber, align the face on the second corner post relatively flush with the first. Set your second corner post and tie your marking string from one to the other. Make sure it touches the same side of the fence. Complete your corner installation by placing another wooden post along the fence line about six feet from each corner. Now you have two wooden posts close together at each end of your fence line. Attach a wooden brace of the correct length from the top of the second post to the end of the corner post at each end. You may want to brace horizontally between the two posts. Hammer long nails or screws long enough into the brace and posts to hold the brace in place. Gates are suspended using the same combination of wooden posts.
Setting your T-posts
T-posts are used to support the fence wire along with the distance between the wooden corners. Use a sledgehammer or post driver to drive a T-post into the ground every 10 to 25 feet along the fence line from one end.
T-posts have a welded or riveted metal plate attached near the bottom of the post. Drive each post so that this plate is completely below ground level by a few inches. Check frequently to make sure your T-posts are straight and plumb.
Align the metal pins of each T-post with the side of the fence where you will attach the wire. The wire should be on the animal side of the fence.
Stretch your wire based on your fence design
Electric Fence: Remove your fence line. Attach an end insulator into each wooden post at each height point where you want to stretch the wire. The height of each wire will be determined by the requirements of your fence charger and its ability to provide electricity that will compensate for grass/weed growth and limit animals. Attach a plastic insulator to each T-post at any desired height. It may be helpful to use a marked measuring card to ensure even spacing. Attach your wire to one end insulator and stretch it to the other end post. A helper could pull and hold it taut, or you could temporarily wrap it around the end post. Hook the wire to each insulator between the end posts. Make a final wire tie on the last end post insulator and wire your system according to your fence charger instructions.
Non-electric fence: remove your fence line. Wrap your wire directly around the first end post. Twist the end of the wire around it. Secure it with wire staples. Hammer the staples so they don’t crush the wire. Stretch your wire between the end posts and attach it to the second end post at the desired height. Hook one end of a wire clip over the wire at each T-post, bring the clip around the “T” and back over the wire. Grab the clip with your pliers and twist it to hold it in place. The wire will hang there through the clip and the metal stud. Repeat the process at each height.
Things you’ll need
- Wire staples or insulators (plastic or ceramic)
- Measuring board
- Tape measure
- Length of marking a string
- Note or marking posts
- Sled hammer or gas powered post drivers
- Wooden corner posts and staples
- Posthole digger
- Shovel Rake
- Tamping rod
- Plumb level
- Screwdriver (alternative)
- Nails Screws (alternative)
- Wire staples