You have purchased a new Post and Panel Sign and now need instructions on how to properly install it into the ground. Whether it be metal. plastic, or wood, the type of Freestanding Sign does not really change the installation technique. This article will explain the Direct Burial Installation Method for signs up to 4′ H x 8′ L in size.
Before you start, you need to assemble the proper tools and materials. Here is a list:
1. Post Hole Digger
2. Metal Digging Bar or Spud Bar
3. Two Ground Stakes
4. Measuring Tape
5. 24″ or Longer Level
6. Sakrete or similar product. Usually 40 lbs Per Hole.
7. Five Gallon Bucket or Wheelbarrow
The first step is to assemble your sign and measure the distance from the center of the left post to the center of the right post. This will give you the centerpoints for the two holes that you will dig later.
Second, select the proper location for you sign and mark the centerpoint for each hole with a ground stake. If your sign is to be parallel to a sidewalk or street, you will also want to measure from the street or sidewalk to the center of your holes to insure proper orientation. If your sign is to be perpendicular to the sidewalk or street, mark the center of your holes with ground stakes and then use your line of sight to see if your holes are oriented properly. Adjust as necessary. Note that most cities and towns have sign ordinances that specify the setback distance for signs from the right-of-way, so be sure to check on this beforehand.
Third, use your digging bar and post hole digger to dig your holes to a depth of 24″ to 36″. Smaller signs up to 2′ x 3′ in size will usually only require a 24″ depth hole since they don’t take much of a wind load. Larger signs up to 4′ H x 8″ L should have deeper holes of 30″ to 36″ in depth depending on soil conditions. Softer ground requires a deeper hole to keep your sign from moving in the future. If you are on an incline, the hole further up the hill will need to be dug deeper to keep the sign level.
Fourth, insert your sign into your holes and place your level across the top or bottom of your sign panel. If your sign is not level, lift one post and add a little dirt below it and check with your level again. Add more dirt if necessary. If you are having to add too much dirt, you may want to dig the opposite hole a little deeper to correct the problem.
Fifth, mix your concrete with water in your bucket or wheelbarrow to the proper consistancy. You may want to mix just 20 lbs at a time to make your job a little easier. If you are not close to a water supply, you might consider a collapsible water jug, like those used for camping, and fill it beforehand to take with you to the job site. Once your concrete is ready, have someone place the level vertically on the front or back of one post and tilt the post forward or backwards until the level indicates that it is perpendicular with the ground. Now add your concrete to the hole making sure that the post does not move and stays perpendicular. Repeat this process with the other hole.
Last, fill the rest of each hole with dirt and pack it down with the round end of your metal digging bar. Then load up the excess dirt in your bucket or wheelbarrow, clean up your sign, and admire your finished sign project!