Concrete vs Wooden Posts
Imagine being an outcast on a desert island. All you can take are eight songs, a book and a luxury. Now the songs part is easy, the book simple, but the luxury? Hmmm, obviously (obviously!) it’s between a concrete or a wooden post. Now there’s a dilemma.
Concrete will weigh in heavier. A six-foot fence panel requires a heavy frame of concrete and they do need a couple of people to handle, manoeuvre and get in place. And once in place there is absolutely no tweaking or phrases like ‘don’t worry, the screws will bring it all together.’ Once in place that is the place. Forever. Wood, however, is slightly lighter, still heavy mind you, and - as with all posts and fencing - a helper is still a great idea. There is a bit of tweak-room with wood as it is a natural material and will be slightly more forgiving of a millimetre tolerance or two.
Concrete lasts for a long time. How about a lifetime? No need to worry about upkeep there. Wooden posts can carry a 15-year guarantee against rot so can be relied upon without the need for any maintenance. Just make sure you check before you buy.
Concrete is white. Of course, you can paint it but they usually flake after a few years. Algae will tone the colour down but fundamentally your posts will remain white. Some consider this a clean, modern look (it is!) or too brash for some gardens (again, it is!). I guess it depends on your style of garden. Wooden posts start either orangey brown or light green depending on the pressure treatment. But both quickly tone down to the colour of ash. They then blend into most garden designs. And you can easily paint or stain wooden posts using a rainbow of colours.
Concrete posts require little or no maintenance. A wash down with warm soapy water will dislodge algae and moss and a pressure washer will remove stubborn colonies. Wear safety goggles if doing this. And that’s it. Wooden posts will also benefit from a yearly check over, even with that guarantee, and preservative, stain or paint re-applied where necessary.
To get fixings into a concrete post you need a drill and fixing plugs along with screws and screwdriver. And eye protectors just in case shards of concrete go flying. Of course, the actual fence panels slide in easily but wires, hanging basket brackets and pot holders all need secure fixings. When fixing these same items to a wooden post, it’s as simple as a screw and screwdriver. For heavier items such as planting mangers you may need to plug holes, but tensioned wires for training fruit or climbers across fence panels are a doddle to sort.
Concrete or wooden posts? It’s a tricky call to make. Both are the right choice depending on your garden circumstances. But if I had to choose one as my desert island luxury I reckon I’d go for …wood. I can lift it on my own, and I can always fashion it into a flagpole to attract attention. Or maybe concrete? If I’m on the island for a long time it will provide support for whatever I build around it. It’s also bright and may attract attention. But I could burn the wood if it gets cold. Concrete could be used to start building a more permanent house, yet wood could be the beginnings of a boat. Oh, I don’t know. When do I go to this island anyway? I’ve got some garden fencing to finish putting up before I leave. (And don't forget, before you leave, have a browse through our superb range of fence posts.)