Plastic Fence posts vs. Steel Fence Posts: Best fence post for my property
When it comes to installing a fence, choosing the right materials is crucial for durability, security, and aesthetics. One of the most significant decisions you’ll face is selecting the appropriate type of fence posts.
Among the different options of fence posts available, plastic and steel fence posts have emerged as popular choices. If you’re seeking in-depth information to make an informed decision, this article is for you.
At Stock & Noble, we take pride in providing top-quality fencing materials to properties across Australia and New Zealand. We understand the importance of selecting the right fencing materials for your specific needs. While we offer the Hogan Plastic Fence Post as part of our product range, we aim to equip you with comprehensive, fact-based knowledge about the available solutions, enabling you to make the best decision for your project.
Traditionally, steel and timber fence posts have been the go-to choice for their looks, strength and longevity. However, plastic fence posts have gained popularity in recent years due to their affordability, versatility, and low maintenance requirements.
In this blog post, we will delve into the debate between steel fence posts and plastic fence posts, comparing their features, usage, quality, longevity, performance, installation and cost. By understanding the unique properties of each option, you’ll be empowered to make an informed decision that aligns with your specific needs and preferences.
Whether you’re a homeowner looking to secure your property, a rancher seeking reliable livestock enclosures, or a contractor aiming to provide the best fencing solutions for your clients, this comprehensive comparison will serve as a valuable resource in your decision-making process.
Please note while there are different types of plastic fence posts available today, for ease of comprehension we will only take Hogan, which is a Hollow Plastic Post to set up the comparison.
So, let’s dive into the world of steel fence posts and plastic fence posts, and discover which material is the perfect fit for your next fencing project.
Plastic Fence Posts vs. Steel Fence Posts: Product Comparison
Plastic Fence Post: Product Specifications
Crafted from durable, recyclable polyethylene, our 120mm round hollow plastic fence posts have an 8mm wall thickness.
We understand that every fencing project is unique, which is why we offer customisable lengths for our plastic posts. While you have the flexibility to select the length that best suits your needs, our 2.1 and 2.4-metre posts are commonly chosen options.
The posts are initially available in black, exuding a sleek and timeless aesthetic apperance. However, if you prefer a different colour to complement your surroundings, we can provide plastic posts in white or other colours upon your preference.
These plastic fence posts provide robust support for various fencing applications.
Steel Fence Posts: Product Specifications
The recommended type of steel fence post is the galvanised round steel pipe. Steel fence post sizes vary from 80-110mm in diameter.
However, our steel fence posts have a 100NB measurement, resulting in an approximate outside diameter of about 110 mm. This larger diameter provides added stability and structural integrity for your fence.
We use medium galvanised steel with a 4.5 mm wall thickness.
It’s worth noting that some other companies may opt for steel posts with a thinner wall thickness, typically around 3 mm or even slightly lower. While this may reduce the cost, it can compromise the overall strength and integrity of the fence.
Steel posts come in 3 typical sizes, 2.1, 2.4 and 3m lengths.
Plastic Fence Posts vs. Steel Fence Posts: Usage Comparison
Plastic Fence Posts: Usage and Suitability
Plastic fence posts are primarily utilised for intermediate positions within a fence structure.
Plastic fence posts are not ideal for:
Due to the hollow nature of Hogan posts, they lack the necessary strength for end assemblies. Additionally, their plastic composition makes them unsuitable for attaching any structural fixtures or fixtures that will be under pressure. For example the Flexible rail attaching buckle, attaching of post insulators or similar fittings to hold the fence wire in position is perfectly suitable.
Front Facing Post and Rail Fences
For front-facing posts and rail fences, plastic posts are not recommended. The hollow nature of the Hogan post, for instance, makes it challenging to attach rails securely.
Properties seeking rigid and secure fence posts
Plastic fence posts can create a seamless, durable and beautiful fencing line, however, if you’re seeking robust fence with extremely strong fence posts, then the Hogan plastic post is not a suitable option.
Plastic fence posts are perfect for:
The ideal usage of Plastic fence posts is with flexible rail fencings like Horserail or Legacy Rail. Since the brackets can be easily attached to the plastic posts and add extra flexibility to the entire fencing.
It complements electric fencing well as plastic isn’t a conductor and is suitable for all kinds of electric braids, and electric wires like hotcote.
Horse sighter wire
Hogan Plastic post is suitable for sighter wire, as you can run the wire through the middle of post by drilling a slightly over sized hole in the post or by attaching a fitting to front of post.
Properties seeking horse-safe and aesthetically pleasing fencing
Plastic fence posts are a perfect match for property owners who want to create. aesthetically pleasing fence lines and want to ensure the safety of their horses.
These hollow plastic posts aren’t attractive enough for horses to chew and discourage cribbing. Also, they have enough give or flexibility against a spirited horse running at full speed.
Steel Fence Posts: Usage and Suitability
Similar to Timber, Steel fence posts offer the versatility to be used as both intermediate and end posts. They provide strength, and stability to the fencing line and ensure proper tensioning of the fencing.
Steel Posts aren’t ideal for:
You can use steel for the end assemblies of Horserail but we don’t recommend them for intermediate posts. The challenge when using steel is you need to weld bolts to post so you can attach fixtures or use specialized screws to drill and attach fixtures. This process can be time consuming
Horse sighter wire
Sighter wire can be used with steel posts, but you should be aware of the potential risks. Holes will take longer to drill and once holes are drilled, they can leave sharp edges which over time can lead to cutting through nylon-based sighter wires.
Steel is a highly conductive material, which poses challenges for electric fencing. When an electric current passes a steel post, if it is not insulated correctly, it can result in energy loss and inefficiency. This can impact the overall effectiveness of the electric fence system and require additional power to maintain adequate voltage levels.
While Steel fence posts are good for containing cattle, they are too rigid to be used for horse fencing. They don’t have enough flexibility to give way to a speeding horse and the strength of hard steel might lead to a horse injury.
If you want the strength of steel posts and rail, along with horse safety consider an engineered fencing system like Buckley Steel Post and Rail Fencing.
Steel fence posts are perfect for:
End assemblies or strainer posts
Steel fence posts have the required strength and stability to carry the fencing line on their shoulders at the beginning and end of a fence line, keeping the fencing well-tensioned and straight.
Front-facing post and rail fence
If you want to build a front-facing fence and require a post and rail look, steel fence posts are strong enough to hold the rails in place.
Secure strong fencing
At properties where livestock is supposed to be kept in a small containment area ,steel fence posts can be used successfully and effectively.
When it comes to versatility, steel posts take the lead, as they can be used for various applications, including both intermediate and end positions. However Plastic fence posts are ideal to create a safe horse fencing line for horses.
If you require a robust fence for livestock, such as cattle or sheep, where safety is not the primary concern, steel posts are a more suitable choice. However, if you prioritize aesthetic appeal and low maintenance, opting for the Hogan post or other plastic alternatives would be a preferable option.
Plastic Fence Posts vs. Steel Fence Posts: Performance Comparison
Plastic Fence Posts: Quality and longevity
Hogan Plastic Fence posts have a warranty of 20 years. They do not rot, warp, or corrode, however, they might bend under extreme heat or pressure from heavy fencing.
The materials and construction of Hogan posts ensure that they are less likely to cause injuries to horses if they come into contact with the posts. Additionally, Hogan posts offer a higher level of certainty in terms of their performance and lifespan, as they are engineered to meet specific standards and requirements.
Steel Fence Posts: Quality and longevity
Steel fence posts provide robust support and structural integrity, making them an excellent choice for applications that require high strength and stability.
With regular maintenance, galvanised steel fence posts can last for over 30 years, providing reliable performance over an extended period.
Steel fence posts are renowned for their longevity, thanks to their robust construction. They can withstand various weather conditions however, it’s worth noting that the performance of steel posts can be influenced by factors such as the quality of the materials used, maintenance practices, and exposure to corrosive elements. They are susceptible to rust and corrosion which can affect their performance as well as lifespan.
Overall, when it comes to performance, steel fence posts exhibit superior strength compared to their plastic counterparts, which tend to bend under pressure. In terms of longevity, both galvanized steel fence posts and Hogan Plastic posts are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions.
While steel posts are generally known for their durability, it’s crucial to acknowledge the variability in their performance. On the other hand, plastic fence posts, such as the Hogan posts, offer a safer environment for horses and provide a higher level of certainty in terms of performance and longevity.
Plastic Fence Posts vs. Steel Fence Posts: Maintenance Comparison
Plastic Fence Posts: Maintenance Requirements
Plastic fence posts generally require minimal maintenance, which can be a significant advantage for many property owners. Unlike steel posts, plastic posts do not need to be painted. They are resistant to rust, corrosion, and weathering, eliminating the need for regular inspections and treatments.
Plastic fence posts are also immune to insect damage, further reducing the maintenance effort required. In most cases, occasional cleaning to remove dirt or debris is all that is needed to keep plastic posts in good condition.
This low-maintenance characteristic makes plastic posts an attractive choice for those seeking a hassle-free fencing solution.
Steel Fence Posts: Maintenance Requirements
Steel fence posts require more maintenance compared to their plastic counterparts due to their susceptibility to rust and corrosion. To ensure their longevity and performance, regular inspections are necessary to identify and manage any signs of rust or damage. Promptly addressing rust spots by sanding and applying rust-resistant coatings can help prevent further deterioration.
Additionally, maintaining a protective barrier, such as paint or galvanization, on the steel posts can significantly extend their lifespan and preserve their structural integrity. Ongoing maintenance efforts are essential for steel posts to mitigate the risks associated with rust and corrosion.
Plastic fence posts have the advantage of minimal maintenance requirements due to their inherent resistance to rust, corrosion, and insect damage. On the other hand, steel fence posts demand more attention and care to prevent rust formation and ensure their long-term durability. Assessing your maintenance capabilities and preferences will help you determine which type of post is more suitable for your specific needs and the level of upkeep you are willing to undertake.
Plastic Fence Posts vs. Steel Fence Posts: Installation Comparison
Plastic Fence Posts: Installation Process
Installing plastic fence posts is a two-step installation process. The thinner profile of plastic posts makes them unsuitable to be directly rammed into the ground. First a slightly undersized hole is drilled in the ground where post is going, followed by the insertion of the post.
However, one advantage of plastic posts is the ease of attaching brackets or fixtures to them. The softer nature of plastic makes it easier to work with and modify as needed. In contrast, steel posts require drilling holes, welding, and other additional steps, which can add to the time and cost of installation.
Steel Fence Posts: Installation Process
Steel fence posts are generally easier to install compared to plastic posts. With steel, you can simply ram the post straight into the ground, making it a one-step installation process. This straightforward installation method contributes to the ease of working with steel posts.
It is recommended to use stronger steel posts, as they are less likely to deform when rammed into the ground, especially if they encounter obstacles like rocks during installation.
In summary, steel fence posts offer a simpler one-step installation method, but may require additional drilling and welding. It’s important to note that the installation of Hogan posts, being a two-step process, can be slightly more expensive compared to steel posts.
Both steel and plastic fence posts can be installed as a DIY project, it may depend on personal expertise and comfort level. Fencing contractors are generally more familiar with the installation of steel fence posts than hollow plastic ones.
Plastic Fence Posts vs. Steel Fence Posts: Cost Comparison
Plastic fence posts: Cost
Hogan plastic fence post costs $38.5, including GST.
Steel fence posts: Cost
100NB (Nominal Bore) Steel Fence Post costs anywhere from $70 to $120.
The cost of a steel post depends on the length of the steel post you get. Steel post length range from 1.8m to 3m. The diameter stays the same.
Plastic Fence Posts vs. Steel Fence Posts: Which fence post is right for my property?
When it comes to choosing between plastic and steel fence posts, several factors need to be considered to make an informed decision.
If low maintenance and aesthetics are top priorities, Hogan posts offer a preferred option. With pre-painted surfaces, these posts seamlessly blend into the surroundings without the need for additional painting or maintenance. This makes them an attractive choice for those seeking a hassle-free and visually appealing fencing solution.
On the other hand, steel posts provide strength, longevity and versatility. You can opt for the classic steel grey or choose to paint them in a different colour to match your preferences or existing structures. However, it’s important to note that painting steel posts will require additional expenses and ongoing maintenance to keep them looking pristine.
Plastic posts are a suitable choice for those prioritising affordability, low maintenance, and horse safety, while steel posts offer superior strength and versatility for various applications.
Ultimately, the choice between plastic and steel fence posts depends on various factors such as the specific application, desired style of fencing, budget constraints, and personal preferences. By carefully considering these aspects, you can make the best decision that aligns with your needs and ensures a durable and visually pleasing fencing solution for your property.
Considering your fencing style and specific goals is also crucial before making a final decision. It’s important to understand the best combination of fence posts and rails that will suit your needs and achieve the desired outcome. Taking the time to research and gather information on various options will ensure that you make an informed decision that aligns with your fencing style and objectives.
If you still have questions regarding the selection of fence posts for your property, installation techniques, cost considerations, or availability of materials, our team of fencing experts is here to assist you. Book a personalised consultation to discuss your specific requirements and get all your queries addressed. We will support you at every step of the way, helping you create a safe and beautiful property that matches your vision.