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We have used Metpost items in our garden for a few different projects. You can buy different kinds of Metpost, Some are with a spike on the end which you hammer into the soil and then put a post inside this. The other kind is that you bolt onto a concrete floor and then fix a post in. You also have a choice of how you want to fix the post into the hole in the Metpost. Some of them you just knock the post into the fixing and it has grippers on the inside to stop the post coming back out again. Another way is to slot the post in then tighten up some bolts on the side. Then there is a third way that you push the post into the hole and then screw in from each side through the metal.
The first job we need to use some of these on was we wanted to put up a fence around part of our garden to keep the dogs off it so we bought some of the kind that you bang into the soil and then just knock the post in to the hole at the top. We bought them from B&Q and they cost us about £7 each. They were the middle size ones that they sold and measure 75mm square at the top and they are 600mm deep. To get these in the ground you need to hit it in with something heavy like a sledge hammer but you must make sure you are not hitting the actual metal of the Metpost or you will probably bend it and then the wooden post will not fit in so you need to either get yourself a special tool to use or use a large piece of wood you can hold over the top. We were lucky and my brother already had bought one of the tools which also come from Metpost (they cost about £10) so we borrowed that as we only needed to fit in 4 posts.
You need to make sure you are banging the Metpost into the soil at the correct angle so its a good thing to have one of those long spirit levels with you to make sure it is going in straight at all times as once it has gone into the hard part of the ground you will not be able to adjust the angle. The tool fits over top of the Metpost and has metal handle things sticking out both sides of it and it protects the Metpost while you are hitting it in.
Once the Metpost is in place you then need to knock the post into the hole in the top. Again you don't want to damage the top of your wooden post so you either use a tool to knock them in or place a piece of wood over the top of the post and hit this in. Once they are in place they will not come out again and you need to make sure they are going in straight.
The other job we did using Metposts was to put up a shelter over our patio. We bought some of the other kind that you bolt to the floor. You can buy the bolts in B&Q to fix it to the floor, they are also made by Metpost. You need to mark where you want the finished post to sit and then mark through the holes in the bottom on the Metpost onto the concrete. Then you need a hammer drill and a large drill bit and you drill a hole in the floor to the depth of the bolt you are using. Then once you have the four holes drilled you put the Metpost in place and drop the bolts through the holes and tighten them up. They expand in the holes as you turn them gripping the sides of the concrete and holding the Metpost in place. Once you have it fixed in then you place your post into the hole in the top and knock it in. We used the ones where you screw through from each side once the post is fully in. The ones we bought were about £7 each and the bolts for the floor were about £6 for a pack of four.
All our posts have been in place now for over 5 years and none of them have gone wobbly or anything. The Metposts on the concrete have got a bit rusty in places over the years but we usually give them a coat of paint each spring to match the rest of the paintwork in the garden.
I would really recommend these products if you are wanting to fit posts into your garden.
We've recently had to renew a bit of our fence and had our first experience of Met Posts! We only had 2 to put in but it was one of the most frustrating jobs we have tackled in our garden so far.
What is a Met Post?
A Met post isn't really a post at all its a support for fence posts. There are 2 types of met post, a grip system and a twin bolt system. Being totally ignorant about these things and never really noticing what our other fence panels were put up with we decided on the twin bolt system. Also we thought if we had to remove any fence posts this type would hopefully make it a bit easier. The grip system grips the post as its banged in so it would be a hard job to remove it. We got ours from a local garden centre, it cost £7.00. They are available from most DIY shops and garden centres.
Met posts are made from heavy gauge steel and have been painted with a red oxide coating. The met post can be painted should you wish to match it to a colour scheme but personally we just left ours. Met posts have a long spike on them made from 4 pieces, the spike on ours was approximately 20 inches but they do come in different sizes. On top of the spike you have the square hole that the fence post sits in. The spike being this long will give any garden structure more stability in windy weather.
Putting the Met Post in the ground.
To get the spike into the ground requires a sledge hammer and muscles! Its not an easy job and the further down you get the harder it becomes. You really need something on the post to take the whacks from the hammer. A block of wood would do or you can buy a proper little kit designed for the job called a met post driving tool. Luckily my dad has one of these so we borrowed that.
Once you have your met post in place it is simply a case of hitting it into the ground, I say simple... but we found it anything but. I should add at this point that it is quite important to make sure you have your met post straight and in the right place because once its in the ground it would be a job and a half to get it out, and if its slightly twisted your post wont sit flush to the panel.
Once in place in the ground you need to put the fence post in the top of the met post and as we chose the twin bolt system you need to bolt your post in really tightly, a spanner is needed for this. Tightening the bolts proved to be another challenge. With the bolts being so close to the fence it was hard to get a good turn going on them.
Met posts, in my opinion, really are the best way to go when putting up a fence or any garden structure. They will give stability and hopefully stop your fence going down in the first strong wind we get. They wont rust and will keep your fence post above the ground helping to preserve it and prevent rotting. Once in the ground there's little chance of removing it without a lot of digging.
Met posts are not just for fences they can be used for play houses that are on stilts, arbours and many other things. They are hard work to put in and impossible to correct should you get it twisted but they do mean you don't have to use concrete to set your posts in and they will help to keep your fence stable.
When we first moved to our current property, the garden areas were really open and bare and we set about introducing some features into the garden which would allow us to separate areas and train plants to climb up and across them.
Having drawn up a plan, I investigated the options for fencing off a patio area. This would only need about 5 fence posts -I planned to hang diagonal trellis on them. It's all done, now, but not with Metposts.
I hadn't previously used Metposts so bought just 1 to try it out before I went and bought the other 4 I would need. I am pleased I didn't buy all 5 at once because I still have the single Metpost remaining and it's not in the ground.
As a product, it seems robust enough to do the job, but before deciding on this method of securing your fence posts, I would urge all fence erectors to consider the nature of the ground and sub-soil into which they propose to drive these posts before making their purchase.
If, as I found was the case with our garden, you have a lot of stone in the subsoil, then it proves really difficult to drive these things home. I had bought a bigger size as I wanted to use 6' posts. I'm not a weedy bloke but with hard compacted stony ground and much huffing and puffing ans sledehammering until blistered, I couldn't get the damned thing fully into the ground.
I also found it really hard to get the Metpost level and by adjusting it when in place, it just loosened the base. I was getting really cross and eventually gave up on the job.
I would emphasise that this is a good solid item and in the right circumstances and ground conditions would work well I think. Because of the fact that the post fits snugly into the Metpost and is then secured, you will not suffer the same extent of rotting as you might if you cemented your post straight into the ground.
Also, in theory at least, you can dig up your Metposts and take them and your fence with you if you leave your property or elect to redesign your hard landscaping.
That said, I prefer the old method using a concrete mix and rubble and providing you treat your posts first with a good few coats of preservative or use tannalised timber, you should get many years use out of them.
Post spikes are fantastic things for making the job of putting fence posts in your garden a whole lot easier. The traditional method for this involves digging a hole about three feet deep, and then setting the post inside it using concrete and hard core. The posts would stay in, but for a five foot post you had to buy an eight foot length, and putting each one in would take a sizeable amount of time.
A post spike is a substantial construction made from steel, and usually painted green, or brown or rust red, to blend in with your garden. The spike part is 18 inches to 30 inches long, on top of which is a cage that encloses and grips on to the bottom six inches or so of the post. In the case of the Metpost, the grip is provided in one of two ways - either by inner ridges that grip the wooden post as it is pressed into the cage, of by two tightening bolts.
To get post spikes in the ground, you need a sledge hammer - try a few for size and feel, and choose the heaviest that you can control well. If it is too light, you will take too long over putting a spike in, and if too heavy you will possibly either get too tired or have an injury by not being in control. So find that middle ground.
You don't hit the Metpost directly. You either buy the Metpost Driving Tool, which is a cuboid of resin with a useful metal arrangement at the top, or you use a lump of wood. The Driving Tool, which costs about a tenner, lasts for ages - I have put in about 150 post spikes at home, and it is still going strong. The metal at the top helps you align the spike correctly as it is going down.
You also need a spirit level, to check the vertical alignment of the spike in two planes. Other more general things you will need are measuring devices, and a good saw for the wood - I use an electric one, a Bosch, which I shall review in due course.
Having planned where the posts are to go, you apply yourself with the sledgehammer. To start with, the posts go in quickly, because it's the thin end of the spike that goes in first. You have to be careful not to be too enthusiastic in your post bashing, because there comes a point at which it becomes noticeably harder to adjust the alignment. Once it's in about halfway, I check alignment adjust, and then give it for or five more sledgehammer strokes before checking again. After a certain point further on, the alignment gets petty well fixed so you have to have got it right by then. When the spike is fully in, with the bottom of the cage resting on the ground, you insert the post. Usually this has to be tapped down with the sledgehammer, although if it is a tight fit, you will want to protect the top of the post. It's a good idea to check the alignment after the post is in. If it's a little bit out, then there's enough give in wood for that not to matter. More than a centimetre out of true and you might want to pack the joint of post and any horizontal piece of wood with a little bit of scrap wood (always keep offcuts!). Worse than this, well you should have noticed earlier - and you might want to take the post out and start again. If you rock the post from side to side, the whole thing will usually come out with the spike attached. You can than reinsert the combined post and spike into a new place, taking care to get your alignment right this time.
Metposts cost between £5 and £9 so if you have a lot of posts you are going to spend quite a bit. But they do make the whole job a great deal easier. You can do as much or as little as you want in a day, and don't have the bother of mixing up cement and having to use it before it goes off.
There are Metpost spikes for three basic sizes of square section post - 50mm, 75mm or 100mm - 2, 3, or 4 inches in old money. The 50 mm Metpost has a 450 mm spike. That for a 75mm post comes with either a 600 or 750 mm spike, and the 100 mm Metpost is also 750 mm long.
Other useful products, which I have seen but not used are the following:
· The Metpost Repair Spur, which you can use if a post has broken off or rotted away and it is set in sound concrete.
· The Metpost Post Extender, which can be used to join two lengths of post together.
· The Metpost Concrete-In, which is used if you have no choice but have to set the posts into concrete.
· The Metpost Bolt-Down, which fixes to a hard surface.
So, if you are planning a fencing project, take a good look at Metposts. There are a few competitor items on the market, so you could check out those too. But our Metposts have no been in the ground for twelve years and have shown no problems, so I would certainly trust them again.
Britain's leading brand of fence post supports and fencing accessories. Find Metpost products at most DIY stores and garden centres