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A fence post being lowered into a posthole marked out by string

Overview

When it comes to building a paling fence, it's important to set the posts correctly because they are a major supporting structure. Follow our step-by-step guide and we'll show you how to run a string line, how to set the posts out evenly and how to make them secure.

Steps

1Lay a string line

To run a string line, hammer a nail into the wall that is in line with where the fence will be built. Tie the string to the nail. Run the string out to another fixed point where you want the fence to finish. Tie the string off tightly
String being used to measure space between a hole in concrete and a brick wall

2Dial before you dig

Before you start digging the holes for your fence posts, check with relevant authorities to make sure there aren't any water, gas or electricity pipelines underground. Go to www.1100.com.au to check that it's safe
A hole cut into concrete and the earth below for a post to be set out

3Measure the length of the fence

Use the tape measure to measure the length of the fence. Work out where you will dig the holes for your posts so that they are evenly spaced and match the length of your timber rails.
A Bunnings team member marking out the position of a posthole using string and a tape measure

4Dig the post holes

After working out where your posts will be, dig the holes for them. It's important to make sure the posts are evenly spaced and the holes are deep enough so that the posts are stable. When measuring the distance between the posts, measure from the middle of the post hole and run the tape measure along the string line.
A Bunnings team member using a shovel to dig out a posthole through concrete, close to a PVC pipe

5Sink the posts

You will need someone to help you sink the posts. Put the post in the hole and use the spirit level to make sure it's centred, straight and flush with the string line.

A fence post being lowered into a posthole marked out by string

6Cement the posts in

Have someone hold the posts in the ground so that they're centred, straight and flush with the string line. Follow the instructions on the bag and pour the concrete into the hole, so that it's just below the surface of the soil. Add the water. Backfill the hole with soil and compress it.

A posthole being filled with concrete to set a fence post in place

7Cement the other posts

Repeat Steps 5 and 6 to sink and concrete the other fence posts into the ground.
Water being added to a posthole filled with dry concrete for the purpose of setting in place a new post

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More D.I.Y. Advice

Health & Safety

Asbestos, lead-based paints and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber are health hazards you need to look out for when renovating older homes. These substances can easily be disturbed when renovating and exposure to them can cause a range of life-threatening diseases and conditions including cancer. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page.

When following our advice in our D.I.Y. videos, make sure you use all equipment, including PPE, safely by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Check that the equipment is suitable for the task and that PPE fits properly. If you are unsure, hire an expert to do the job or talk to a Bunnings Team Member.