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Old 07-05-2012, 10:39 AM
kebwi's Avatar
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Default How to make a wooden post relatively removable from concrete

Sorry to be posting multiple threads. I prefer one thread per specific topic instead of broad discussions that explore an idea from multiple directions.

That said...

So, the 'ol pressure-treated wooden post in a concrete footing. It's a classic. I'm curious if I can make the post slide in an out of the hole with just enough give to be removable, but tight enough to minimize looseness and sway (to ease pole replacement as the wood wears out every several years). My current idea is to wrap the pole in plastic before pouring the concrete and perhaps giving it a touch of occasional vertical motion while the concrete is setting so it doesn't stick (lift it up a smidge and let it drop back down).

Two questions:

Is this a royally bad idea (the response I expect to get to this thread I suppose)?

What other or additional steps might assist this goal? Should I coat the plastic with something slick (e.g I've heard you can coat the plywood form of a concrete fill with motor oil to make the wood easier to remove). Should I coat the inside (wood) the outside (concrete) or both sides of the plastic (or perhaps between multiple layers of plastic)? Would a slipping agent of this sort make any difference many years later? I'm rather doubtful on this point which obviates any purpose to adding a slipping agent (oil) in the first place.

I was kind of thinking of inserting something thin next to the pole during the pour (masonite or a comparably thick sheet of metal) and then removing it after setting to make a tiny gap so the pole has some room...but the masonite or piece of metal itself could get locked in tight during setting and be too tight to remove after the fact, which would negate the purpose of such an approach.

I know I throw a lot of crazy ideas out on this forum. Any thoughts are, as always, appreciated.

Cheers!
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:24 AM
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Default Re: How to make a wooden post relatively removable from concrete

Wrapping the wood in plastic just ensures that it will retain moisture, and rot faster. Even wolmanized will rot like that. It just takes longer

Are you talking about a 4x4 post? Maybe you could get a steel 4x4 post that is slightly larger and then mount the steel in the concrete with a few feet sticking out. Then just slide in the wooden post in to ground level. Fill in the metal tube so its level (inside) with the ground and have a few weepholes at ground level so it does not retain water.

Basically the steel gets inserted 3-4 feet deep in the ground and has the same amount above ground, so the steel acts as a sleeve. Should be pretty strong depending on what gauge steel you use.
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:26 AM
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Default Re: How to make a wooden post relatively removable from concrete

Wrap the pole with multiple layers of plastic, you want 1/8" to a 1/4" of slack. You can shim the post after you put it back in. Underneath the pole you will want some gravel for drainage as well.
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: How to make a wooden post relatively removable from concrete

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaronimo View Post
Wrapping the wood in plastic just ensures that it will retain moisture, and rot faster. Even wolmanized will rot like that. It just takes longer
I could just use the plastic while pouring the concrete to prevent the wood from sticking to the concrete. Once set, I could remove the pole, take off the plastic, and reinsert the pole. Point taken however.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaronimo View Post
Are you talking about a 4x4 post? Maybe you could get a steel 4x4 post that is slightly larger and then mount the steel in the concrete with a few feet sticking out. Then just slide in the wooden post in to ground level. Fill in the metal tube so its level (inside) with the ground and have a few weepholes at ground level so it does not retain water.
Not a bad idea, except for potential expense (I see similar things done with PVC, but I can' reconcile the shapes (round hole, square/rectangular peg, you know the deal)).
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Old 07-05-2012, 12:25 PM
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Default Re: How to make a wooden post relatively removable from concrete

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tscarborough View Post
Wrap the pole with multiple layers of plastic, you want 1/8" to a 1/4" of slack. You can shim the post after you put it back in. Underneath the pole you will want some gravel for drainage as well.
I had a similar thought. My only concern was that the plastic -- being somewhat compressable -- might tighten up against the pole during pouring/setting so hard that I can' get the pole out...but that was basically the idea I was converging on.
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:10 PM
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Default Re: How to make a wooden post relatively removable from concrete

Let the pole sit on a bucket of water before. So It'll be swollen before getting wet from the concrete. Then just proceed as Tscarborough suggested. Idea being that it'll shrink once the concrete has dried and will be easier to remove even if the plastic has been compressed too much.

Other way might be to put one layer of bubble wrap and then normal plastic. That way you should be able to wriggle the pole out.
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Old 07-05-2012, 01:24 PM
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Default Re: How to make a wooden post relatively removable from concrete

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Originally Posted by Laku View Post
Let the pole sit on a bucket of water before. So It'll be swollen before getting wet from the concrete. Then just proceed as Tscarborough suggested. Idea being that it'll shrink once the concrete has dried and will be easier to remove even if the plastic has been compressed too much.

Other way might be to put one layer of bubble wrap and then normal plastic. That way you should be able to wriggle the pole out.
Nifty. I think the soaking idea occurred to me and then I completely forgot about it...of course, it may never dry out embedded in a tight three foot hole, but it's still a good idea.
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Old 07-05-2012, 04:53 PM
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Default Re: How to make a wooden post relatively removable from concrete

That is all great advice.
I have just a couple of other suggestions. Buy ground contact rated pressure treated posts. Whether or not you put them in a sleeve, do bring the concrete above ground level a few inches. Slope the concrete away from the post and once you have wedged or stabilized the post to your satisfaction, seal the gap with some form of paintable caulk. I am sure that you will want to stain, paint, or seal your post from the weather. You want have to replace that post "every several years". Let your grand kids do that .
Edit: Let me add exterior to that paintable caulk. We use tar down here but we ain't all that particular .
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Last edited by Gulf; 07-05-2012 at 05:26 PM.
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Old 07-05-2012, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: How to make a wooden post relatively removable from concrete

Dont you guys have these over there?



https://www.google.com.au/search?hl=...D4q6iQfuh9THBg
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Old 07-06-2012, 02:12 AM
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Default Re: How to make a wooden post relatively removable from concrete

Hi Al,
Yep, we have those! I was going to suggest using those as well.

The sleeve idea mentioned earlier might work with this product:
Shop Severe Weather 4-in x 4-in x 100-in White Deck Post Sleeve at Lowes.com

When I built the arbor over my patio I used these things:
Shop Simpson Strong-Tie 6 x 6 Standoff Post Base Z-Max at Lowes.com
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