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Author Topic: Longevity of cedar posts  (Read 33471 times)

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Offline REGULAR GUY

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Longevity of cedar posts
« on: March 04, 2010, 03:02:29 PM »
I know that settin cedar posts in the ground that has a good portion of sapwood in it won't last long, but  APPROX. how long do ya'll think 4" by 4"  cedar posts with sapwood would last  without earth contact (embedded in concrete), realizing that the concrete would still retain water around the posts? Don't know what the soil is like, the home owner lives a piece away (in the city) and wants to get by "for a while", but I'd prefer to give him at least a "guesstimate" even tho I'll probably never see him again.  I'd like him to know  what he's gettin into, and if they ain't gonna last  at all, I'll tell him to get P/T posts and I'll cut the boards and stringers. Thanks All.

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Offline DR_Buck

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2010, 05:15:56 PM »
I stuck 6" diameter cedar post in the ground 9 years ago for the corner and gate post on my pasture fences. They were about 50% sapwood.   They're still holding.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2010, 09:16:36 PM »
I put some 12"-14" poles in concrete 9 years ago and there is nothing left but the heart.  Very loose.
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Offline bill m

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2010, 09:29:16 PM »
What are these posts a fence or building? If it is a building do not use cedar. For ground contact it depends on the type of soil you have. Posts set in a heavy clay soil will not last as long as in a well draining soil like gravel. For a fence I would not use concrete, a lot of extra work for something that will not last to long ( 10  - 15 years maybe).
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Offline CLL

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2010, 11:20:10 PM »
From what I've seen sapwood rots quickly, we have put cedar, no sap wood, in the ground 20 years ago and their still solid.
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Offline steveforest

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2010, 11:42:32 PM »
I set some red cedar 4x4 in concrete 16 years ago. several have broken. Next time I will set in gravel or set a steel anchor in concrete and bolt the post to the anchor. I set some barked posts that I made myself in the garden. They last about 10 years.
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Offline steveforest

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2010, 08:50:22 PM »
There is a thread on Timber Frame with more info.
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Offline Dodgy Loner

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2010, 09:46:10 AM »
Just to confirm, are you talking about eastern red cedar? In my experience, ERC lasts longer in the ground that any other cedar. I have seen western red cedar posts from Lowe's rot completely in 4 year, but I have seen ERC heartwood that has been in the ground 25 years and still solid.
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Offline DR_Buck

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2010, 07:16:36 PM »
Just to confirm, are you talking about eastern red cedar? In my experience, ERC lasts longer in the ground that any other cedar. I have seen western red cedar posts from Lowe's rot completely in 4 year, but I have seen ERC heartwood that has been in the ground 25 years and still solid.

I was talking about ERC.   That's what we have lots of here in VA.
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Offline steveforest

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2010, 02:27:03 AM »
I'm not arguing for the sake of arguing mind you, but searching for the full story. There is a big difference in longevity of cedar depending on the annual rings per inch. Slow grown trees are much more rot resistant. Heartwood is more resistant than sapwood. Not that long ago 70 million years? the forest existed from coast to coast. That is why a western Buckeye, or Oak or Maple is a little different than an Eastern species, but not a lot. I would think the other factors more important than Eastern or Western Red Cedar.
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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #10 on: March 15, 2010, 01:39:41 PM »
Eastern Red Cedar is a totally different species than Western Red Cedar.  Soil conditions go a long way in determining durability.  ERC squared to 4x4 will have most of the sapwood removed except for a little at the corners on the bottom half  of the post.  I personally know of ERC that are still in the ground in central Indiana for 90 years.  They are showing some pretty good wear though.  I grew up with that fence.  A good 4x4 post should last 40 years or more.

Why concrete?  Pea gravel will hold nicely and not bad to replace if they get broke off.
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Offline sjfarkas

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #11 on: March 15, 2010, 10:56:19 PM »
I've seen 40 year old posts as solid as can be and then I've seen 2 year posts rot.  I don't know what variety of cedar, but the old posts were solid heartwood pretty stuff.
Always try it twice, the first time could've been a fluke.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2010, 05:11:18 AM »
There are white cedar rail fences still in existence that where laid done on lines in the 1800's. I've come across old farms where the rail fence is still there and mature timber took over the farm after WW1 when someone never made it back home. Fence posts and telephone poles of white cedar last for decades up here. Old flooded white cedar will stand as snags for longer than I'll be here. ;D
Move'n on.

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2010, 07:19:44 AM »
I have white cedar posts on my farm that are at least 100 years old, that are still pretty solid. Its amazing that they have lasted this long.

Offline Papa1stuff

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2010, 12:21:46 PM »
Chev , did you have a gas  post hole digger or did you did them in by hand? ;D
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Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2010, 07:33:49 PM »
My guess is they were put in with a shovel and lots of back breaking hours of digging.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Longevity of cedar posts
« Reply #16 on: March 19, 2010, 03:59:36 AM »
I remember watching one guy put white cedar posts down through rock wall fence. :D Now talk about some work. ;D  I think the idea was to keep trees from growing up over the fence. If you think about it, how many trees grow on bare rock piles. :D :D
Move'n on.


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