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timber fence with steel posts

How and Why To Build A Timber Fence With Steel Posts

Fences do more than establish your boundary line and offer protection; they also accentuate your property’s exterior and enhance privacy. If you’re looking for a combination of durability and natural aesthetics, consider building a timber fence with steel posts. 

Timber fences with steel posts blend aesthetic appeal and durability, offering the best of both worlds for homeowners. Steel posts provide strength and resilience against weathering and naturally occurring wear-and-tear, while timber panels give an attractive finish that complements most landscapes. You’ll have a beautiful fence that will stand up to the test of time.

Why Choose Galvanised Steel Posts Instead of Wood?

The process of galvanising steel involves coating it with a layer of zinc, protecting the surface from corrosion. This protective layer also helps reduce the chances of rust forming, making it an ideal choice for outdoor applications such as fences and gates. Galvanised steel handily withstands exposure to high temperatures, making it particularly ideal for Australian territories that experience extreme weather conditions.

As far as maintenance goes, Galvanised steel fences are unsurpassed, requiring only occasional cleaning with a mild detergent and water. This helps ensure that your fence remains just as attractive many years after its installation.  

Timber fence posts, while exuding a rustic charm many homeowners love, require more upkeep and maintenance than galvanised steel fences. They are more prone to rot and decay and require frequent staining and sealing to protect them against the elements. Additionally, the posts need to be replaced more often than with a galvanised steel fence due to weathering and insect damage. 

Meanwhile, here’s a comparison between timber and concrete retaining walls.

How to Build a Wooden Fence with Steel Posts 

  1. Measure the installation area and determine your fence’s length and height. You’ll then know how many steel posts and wooden boards you need.
  2. Purchase your steel posts, wooden boards, post-hole digger, concrete mix, and nails/screws. Alternatively, you can hire a construction crew to dig your holes and pour cement for you. 
  3. Mark the location of each steel post along the fence line, and attach a string between both ends to ensure a straight and even fence line.
  4. Dig a hole for each steel post using a post-hole digger. Your steel post’s diameter and length should determine the hole’s depth and width. This information will be based on your fence’s height.
  5. Sink your steel posts into their respective holes and pour your cement mix to secure them. Wait 24 hours before affixing anything to the post.
  6. Attach wooden boards to the steel posts using nails or screws. Based on your fence’s design, boards can be attached vertically or horizontally. 
  7. Use a spirit level to ensure each panel is straight and even. 
  8. Attach all wooden boards to each steel post until your fence is complete.
  9. Stain, paint or treat the wood for further protection against rot, decay and pest damage. 

Read more about building retaining walls here.

Are Galvanised Steel Posts More Expensive than Wooden Posts?

Upfront costs for galvanised steel posts are higher than wooden posts, but notice we only said upfront. Over the long run, galvanised steel posts are more cost-effective due to their superior durability and low upkeep.  

Galvanised steel posts are more resistant to insects, rot, and fire. If you live in an area prone to bushfires, then galvanised steel posts may be worth the higher initial cost. They’re more resistant to extreme weather conditions and require no painting or staining. 

Planning on painting your galvanised steel? Read this guide.

How Long Do Your Fence Posts Need to Be?

Most fences range from 4 to 8 feet in height. As such, you’ll need to purchase steel posts 1.5 times longer than your fence. For example, a 6 feet long fence should have steel posts 9 feet long – with 3 feet of the post sunk into the ground for stability. 

Ensure your steel posts are long enough to support your fence’s weight and pressure, as well as any external factors such as wind or heavy precipitation. If you need clarification on the specific length of steel posts needed for your wall, it’s always best to consult a professional fencing contractor or supplier.

Other Considerations When Building a Timber Fence with Steel Posts

Service Cables

Before digging holes to insert galvanised metal posts, always check for service cables underground. To accomplish this, you can rent or purchase cable avoidance tools from local suppliers or pay a professional to do it for. These tools detect underground cables by the loaded cable’s flow of electricity.

Your digging and installation efforts will be severely hindered if cables are present. At worst, cables can be damaged, leading to dangerous situations like electrocution or fire. Therefore, always ensure extra precautions, as it’s always better to be safe than sorry. 

Neighbour and Council Approval

If your fence exceeds a certain height, you may need permission from your local council before construction begins. Height restrictions vary from territory to territory and depend on the type of fence you have in mind. 

In rarer cases, you’ll need a permit from other relevant authorities, such as heritage or conservation organisations, especially if your property is in a designated conservation area. Your fence must be built under a specific area’s heritage or conservation guidelines, meaning you’ll have fewer options for its design and materials.


While we’ve mentioned that galvanised steel posts can practically last forever, your timber boards just aren’t as tough. Whether it’d be splintered boards, decay, pest damage or general wear and tear, regular maintenance is required to keep them in tip-top shape. 

Maintain a regular cleaning routine and repainting or staining to maintain their functionality and appearance. This requires routine inspections to identify any rot, cracking, and fading due to weather exposure. You’ll also want to see other signs of damage, such as splintered or warped boards, and replace them promptly to prevent further damage.

Steel posts should also be inspected for rust or corrosion, which can compromise the fence’s stability over time. Remove rust or corrosion immediately using a wire brush and vinegar, and apply a rust-resistant coating to protect the post.

Need Galvanised Steel Posts for Your Timber Fence? Browse Our Online Store!

RWS provides homeowners and businesses with top-quality galvanised steel posts in Sydney, varying from the standard 100 steel series to premium and robust options like the 150UC23 and the 200PFC among many others, to use with their timber fences. Our extensive range ensures you’ll find products that exceed your requirements. We offer both light- and heavy-duty posts in various sizes, making the searching process straightforward and efficient.

Check our online store today or contact us directly! Our experts can help you select suitable steel posts based on your timber fence’s unique specifications. Call us today for more information! Our services are also available in BrisbaneGold Coast, and Sunshine Coast.

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