Galvanised steel fence post systems provide a modern fencing alternative to traditional concrete. For any self-builder looking to undertake as much work themselves as possible – it is also an ideal option. Here, John Abernethie, Managing Director at Birkdale explains more.

There are a number of benefits associated with fencing systems, from enhancing home security to improving aesthetic appearance. For self-builders, it is important to consider the options available to help make the most of a project and add value to your home.

Concrete systems have long been a popular option, primarily due to their strength and weather-resistant performance capabilities. However, the material also poses a series of challenges, particularly for homeowners wishing to install a fence themselves. Let’s take a look at why this is the case, and why galvanised steel has emerged as a superior alternative.


Self-build projects often involve confident DIYers looking for areas of the build that they can carry out themselves, enabling them to use the labour costs for where it is most needed. As such, when selecting an appropriate fencing solution, the ease of install should be an essential consideration. 

Concrete is an extremely heavy material. For instance, a typical 8ft fence post can weigh approximately 50kg. Multiple installers are often required to ensure work can take place safely and efficiently. The sheer size and weight of concrete also has a negative impact on the material’s initial transportation. This will limit the number of posts that can be loaded into a van, potentially meaning numerous trips to the merchant yard. 

In contrast, galvanised steel fence posts are up to 80% lighter than concrete. An 8ft fence post weighs just 7kg in comparison. This means galvanised steel options are considerably easier, and safer to install for an individual. 

Furthermore, due to their light weight and slim line H-section profile, more posts can be stacked together, loaded into a van and transported at one time. With fewer trips between stockists and site, as well as a faster installation process – galvanised steel can a have a real, beneficial impact on a self-build project. 


Concrete systems are widely regarded as the more durable solution when compared to timber, which is a key reason for their popularity. However, concrete is still prone to chipping and hairline cracks, which can lead to water ingress and damage that will require maintenance. Concrete gravelboards are also particularly susceptible to snapping.

Once again, galvanised steel is the far superior material. It does not rot, split, warp, crack or chip and can match concrete’s durability thanks to a far greater strength-to-weight ratio. This was proven when the Building Research Establishment Ltd. (BRE) strength tested Birkdale’s own galvanised steel fence post system: DuraPost®. Tests found that DuraPost® could withstand wind speeds of up to 110mph, the equivalent of 625kg of force. 

In the case of DuraPost®, the manufacturing process has a fundamental role to play in its performance capability.  The galvanised steel is cut and cold rolled through a specially made die. This creates the unique, patented H-section profile, which reinforces the strength of the material even further.


In addition to practical functionality, the aesthetics of a fencing system is a key consideration. While this does ultimately come down to personal preference, concrete fence posts are largely perceived as an unappealing choice. Often ‘bulky’ with very limited colour options, concrete systems can disrupt the look of a natural,  outdoor space.

However, galvanised steel fence posts can be produced in much slimmer profiles whilst managing to retain the strength and durability required. These systems are also available in a range of colours, including Anthracite Grey, Olive Grey and Sepia Brown, to offer design flexibility that can fit in and enhance the aesthetic of any exterior scheme – from the traditional to the contemporary.


We have all become far more concerned with environmental issues and people are now more aware of the eco credentials of the products they purchase. Fencing and landscaping products are no different; so it is important to understand the difference between concrete and galvanised steel from an environmental perspective.

Made from cement, concrete has been labelled the most destructive material on Earth. According to Chatham House, cement production accounts for 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 – approximately four to eight per cent of total carbon emissions. What’s more, once it has been made and used, concrete cannot be recycled. This means that it is often sent to landfill where it can take up to 50 years to decompose.

On the other hand, galvanised steel provides a more sustainable option. Its production avoids energy intensive and carbon heavy processes, significantly reducing its carbon footprint in comparison with concrete systems. Made from up to 50% recycled material, it is also infinitely recyclable at the end of its functional life. 

There are also opportunities to opt for fence panels that are environmentally friendly too. For example, the highly durable Vento fence panel is the latest addition to the DuraPost® range and is made from a combination of recycled plastic and waste rice husks.

Lifetime costs

Although some concrete systems can be cheaper at the point of purchase, their vulnerability to wear and tear will often lead to a higher overall lifetime cost due to regular maintenance or even system replacement in more severe cases. However, galvanised steel gives you real long-term value, as it will continue to perform with minimal upkeep.

Furthermore, un-coated galvanised steel systems are available at a price point to rival traditional concrete. While this aesthetic might not suit all landscapes, it is worthwhile considering and can complement existing concrete features very well.

When you start to compare the two – galvanised steel fence posts outperform concrete options in every single way. The initial installation process is quicker, easier and long-term durability is ensured, all while adding significant aesthetic value to any outdoor space. There are even galvanised steel solutions available that come with a 25-year guarantee as standard, such as Birkdale’s DuraPost®, to give self-builders ultimate peace of mind about the quality of fencing system that they are investing in.