Installing & Maintaining Silt Fencing for Erosion Control

silt fencing

Are you looking for a comprehensive guide to silt fencing? You have come to the right place! In this guide, we will cover everything from the basics of silt fencing to its installation and maintenance.

Welcome to our article on silt fencing! This guide aims to provide an overview of silt fences, including what they are, where to purchase them, the benefits of using them for erosion control, guidelines for installing them, and tips for maintenance and repair.

Silt fences have been effectively used in erosion control for many years. They form an important part of the construction industry since they help maintain soil and sediment on the construction site and prevent it from entering nearby waterways. Silt fences are easy to install and cost-effective, making them a great choice for controlling erosion and sediment runoff.

In this article, we will discuss what silt fencing is and how it works, where you can buy it, the benefits of using it for controlling erosion, installation guidelines, and maintenance and repair tips. By the end of this guide, you should have a solid understanding of silt fencing and how it can benefit your construction project.

What is Silt Fencing?

Silt fences, also known as sediment barriers or sediment controls, are temporary barriers that are designed to filter and control sediment run-off from construction sites. They are commonly used on construction sites in the United States to prevent soil erosion during civil engineering projects.

The design of silt fencing includes a permeable fabric that is placed along the contour of the land, and held in place by stakes every 8 feet. The bottom of the fence should be buried at least 6 inches deep, so that runoff water can be filtered before entering nearby waterways.

The components of a silt fence include:

  • Fence fabric – A porous material made of natural or synthetic fibers that allows water to flow through while trapping sediment.
  • Stakes – Hardwood stakes are used to support the fencing panels.
  • Fasteners – Wire ties are often used to secure the fencing to the posts.

When installing a silt fence, the placement of the fence and the depth of the stakes are extremely important factors. If a silt fence is not installed properly, it will not be effective in controlling sediments.

    Fence placement is key to its effectiveness. It should be installed along the contour of the land with the bottom of the fence buried at least 6 inches deep. The amount of fencing needed depends on the length of the slope, the steepness of the slope, and the soil type.

    The materials used for constructing silt fences include wire mesh, chain link fence, and different types of porous fabrics and posts. It is important to use the appropriate materials for constructing a durable and long lasting silt fence.

    Explanation of Components of a Silt Fence

    A silt fence is composed of three key components, which are designed to work together to retain soil and sediment on construction sites. These components include the fence fabric, the stakes, and the metal wires that attach them together.

    The fence fabric is made from an open mesh material, usually polypropylene or plastic. It has a wide variety of pores, with different sizes to allow water to pass through, yet small enough to catch the sediment. The fabric also helps anchor the fence and protect the stakes from erosion or breakage.

    The stakes are mainly made from hardwood, but are sometimes galvanized steel. They are generally spaced 8 feet apart and up to 6 feet deep into the ground. This ensures the fence anchoring and prevents it from being washed away.

    The metal wires are used to attached the stakes and the fence fabric together. The wires are usually made of non-galvanized steel, although other materials may be used. The wires should be placed at intervals of one to two feet and be securely fastened to both the fence fabric and stakes.

    How To Install a Silt Fence

    Installing a silt fence is a relatively simple process. To begin, you will need to place hardwood stakes every 8 feet along the proposed fence line. After that, you can attach the silt fence fabric to these stakes using wire ties.

    The fence should be installed so that it runs along the contour of the land, and the bottom of the fence should be buried at least 6 inches deep. It’s also important to ensure that the fence is properly secured with enough tension in order to be effective.

    In addition, you should check the fence regularly for damage or wear and tear. If any repairs or replacements are needed, they should be done immediately to ensure effectiveness of the silt fence. For example, Sod Staples or Rocks may be used to hold the fence in place.

    Finally, you should also inspect the fence after rain or runoff events to make sure it has not become dislodged or filled with sediment. Regular maintenance and repair is essential for ensuring your silt fence is able to fulfill its purpose.

    Where Can You Find Silt Fencing?

    Silt fences are widely used for sediment control on construction sites in the United States. There are many reliable sources for purchasing your silt fencing. Home improvement stores like Home Depot and online retailers like Amazon offer a variety of types of silt fencing.

    The types of silt fencing available on the market range from regular silt fence to reinforced silt fence, which is sometimes called a “super” or enhanced silt fence. The super silt fence has filter fabric that is reinforced with a wire mesh or chain link fence, which gives it more strength and durability.

    silt fencing

    Tips to Consider when Procuring a Silt Fence

    When choosing silt fences, there are different types available on the market including plastic, metal, metal-reinforced fabric, chain-link and more. Each type has its own benefits, as well as cost and installation needs.

    It is important to understand the purpose of each type before making a purchase. Plastic silt fencing is generally more affordable but not as durable; metal-reinforced fabric silt fencing is the most expensive but provides the most durability.

    Another important factor to consider is the weight and width of the fabric used in the fencing. The heavier the fabric, the less likely it is to be blown away or dislodged in strong winds.

    Some online retailers offer additional accessories for silt fencing, like ground stakes and tension wires, which can help make installation easier.

    Types of Silt Fencing

    When shopping for silt fencing, you’ll come across a variety of materials that can be used to construct the fence. The traditional silt fence is typically made of woven, galvanized wire mesh with a high UV protection coating. However, there are many types of silt fence available in the market today, each of which is designed to meet specific needs.

    The most common types of silt fencing include:

    1. Woven Geotextile Silt Fence: This type of silt fence is made of woven synthetic fabric, such as polypropylene or polyester. It has a strong and durable construction that can withstand moderate to high flow rates. The woven design allows water to pass through while capturing sediment particles.
    2. Non-Woven Geotextile Silt Fence: Non-woven geotextile silt fences are made of synthetic fibers that are bonded together. This type of fabric has a felt-like texture and provides good filtration capabilities. It is effective in controlling sediment runoff in areas with low to moderate flow rates.
    3. Wire Backed Silt Fence: Wire backed silt fences consist of a geotextile fabric attached to a wire mesh or chain-link fence. The wire backing provides additional structural support to the fence, making it suitable for areas with higher flow rates or where more stability is required.
    4. Composite Silt Fence: Composite silt fences combine the features of a geotextile fabric and a mesh backing. They typically have a non-woven geotextile fabric attached to a wire mesh. The combination of materials enhances the strength and filtration capabilities of the fence.
    5. Straw or Wood Excelsior Silt Fence: These types of silt fences are made of straw or wood excelsior (wood fibers). They are often used in temporary or less demanding situations. The fibers provide sediment control while allowing water to flow through.

    It’s worth noting that the specific type of silt fence used may vary based on the project requirements, site conditions, and local regulations. The selection of the appropriate silt fence type depends on factors such as expected flow rates, soil characteristics, and the level of sediment control needed for the specific site.

      Each type of silt fencing has its own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to consider which type is most appropriate for your particular project before making a purchase. It’s also important to note that not all types of silt fencing are available in every area, so be sure to check with local retailers to find the best option for your situation.

      Characteristic of Silt Fencing

      Silt fencing is a cost-effective and reliable form of sediment control in construction sites, offering several key benefits. Silt fence can provide effective erosion control by helping to reduce the amount of soil being lost in runoff. By containing sediment, silt fence helps to increase soil retention, ensuring that vegetation has a better chance of taking root, reducing the need for reseeding or re-leveling. From an environmental perspective, silt fences are beneficial for preventing sediment runoff from contaminating nearby waterways, which helps protect water quality.

      From an economical viewpoint, silt fencing prevents runoff from clogging streams, reducing sediment deposition in lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water. This ultimately reduces pollution and the government’s need for expensive remediation efforts. Additionally, silt fencing reduces labor costs as it requires less maintenance than other sediment control methods, such as rock dams, sand bag barricades, and hay bales.

      In addition to being cost-effective, silt fencing is relatively simple to install. It can be installed by a single person and doesn’t require any specialized equipment. The installation process involves placing stakes along the proposed fence line and attaching the silt fence fabric to the stakes with wire ties. The fence should be installed along the contour of the land, and the bottom should be buried at least 6 inches deep.

      Furthermore, silt fencing is quite durable, typically lasting up to six months or more, depending on climate and soil type. Regular maintenance is important, as silt fences should be inspected routinely and after severe weather events to identify any damage or clogging. Fences that are damaged or clogged with sediment should be repaired or replaced as needed.

      Overall, silt fencing is an effective and economical form of sediment control on construction sites, offering several benefits for both the environment and the economy. By increasing soil retention and preventing sediment runoff, silt fencing help protect water quality, reduce sediment buildup, and save on labor costs. Additionally, silt fencing is easy to install and relatively low-maintenance, making it an attractive option for erosion control.

      How Silt Fencing Increases Soil Retention on Construction Sites

      Soil erosion is a major issue on construction sites, and silt fencing is one of the primary means of controlling it. Installing a silt fence helps to keep soil in place, ensuring that it ends up in the right place and is not swept away by wind or water.

      Silt fencing is typically composed of porous fabric and is hung from wooden posts that are driven into the ground. The material is designed to keep sediment particles within the fencing while allowing rain or runoff to pass through. This keeps the soil in place, helping with the overall soil retention process at a construction site.

      The placement of a silt fence is critical and should be done according to the contour of the land. This helps to keep sediment-filled runoff from flowing around or through the fencing. The bottom of the fence should also be buried six inches below the ground to prevent runoff from slipping underneath the fence.

      Installing a silt fence requires carefully following the correct installation process. This involves covering the entire affected area with silt fencing, making sure it is securely fastened to posts, and ensuring that the fence extends far enough away from the property line to properly contain all of the sediment.

      Additionally, the fence should be inspected regularly for any signs of damage or degradation. If damage is found, it should be repaired as soon as possible to ensure that the silt fence is still functioning properly. Regular maintenance and inspection is essential for proper soil retention.

      silt fencing

      The Economic and Environmental Benefits of Silt Fencing

      Silt fencing is an excellent option when it comes to controlling sediment on construction sites. It is a cost-effective way to protect nearby water sources from eroding soils, silt, and sediment. The installation process is relatively straightforward and can be done quickly and without much disruption.

      In addition to being a cost-efficient choice for erosion control, using silt fencing during construction projects also has environmental benefits. By preventing the movement of sediment into water sources, silt fencing helps preserve local ecosystems. This helps prevent clogging of nearby streams, rivers, lakes, and oceans that would otherwise occur when construction debris and sediment are allowed to flow into them.

      The economic benefits of silt fencing extend beyond just the installation process. It is well-suited for any construction project, no matter the size, and can last at least six months or longer, making it a long-term investment. Furthermore, when properly installed, silt fences can help reduce the need for costly restorative work that can result from soil erosion.

      Because of its flexibility in design, silt fencing is also beneficial from an aesthetic perspective. While it does allow for the protection of nearby water sources, it can also blend into the surrounding environment, allowing for a pleasant visual experience for those in the area.

      Steps for Installing a Silt Fence

      Installing a silt fence is a crucial step in protecting water quality and preventing soil erosion from construction sites. To ensure that your silt fence functions correctly and effectively, it’s important to follow the proper guidelines for installation. Here are the definitive steps for installing a silt fence on a construction site:

      Step #1: Choose Appropriate Materials

      The first step in installing a silt fence is to choose the appropriate materials. Make sure to select the right type of fabric and stakes for the job. Commonly used materials include chain link fencing, plastic mesh fencing, porous geotextiles, metal posts or wooden stakes.

      Step #2: Map Out Fence Line

      Once you have your materials, map out the fence line on the ground using stakes, flags or string. Make sure to plot the fence along the contour of the slope, rather than across the slope. The fence should be installed before any earth-moving or excavating activities take place.

      Step #3: Install Wooden Stakes

      Next, you’ll need to install wooden stakes every 8 feet along the plotted fence line. Make sure to drive the posts into the ground at least 6 inches deep. This will help ensure your fence has ample support.

      Step #4: Attach Silt Fence Fabric

      Once the posts are in place, attach the silt fence fabric to the posts with wire ties or string. Start at one end of the fence and work your way around so that the fabric remains taut. Make sure that the bottom of the silt fence is buried at least 6 inches into the ground for maximum effectiveness.

      Step #5: Reinforce as Needed

      In some cases, you may need to reinforce the silt fence with a second layer of material, such as chain link or plastic mesh fencing. This is especially important if the construction site is located in an area with heavy rains or high winds.

      Step #6: Inspect Periodically

      Once installation is complete, it’s important to inspect the fence periodically to make sure it is functioning correctly and remains in good condition. Check after rainfall events or other disturbances that could affect the integrity of the fence. Make any necessary repairs promptly.

      By following these steps, you can ensure that your silt fence is properly installed and able to effectively trap sediment and protect water quality in the surrounding area.

      Guidelines for Installing a Silt Fence

      Successfully installing a silt fence is key to maintaining the effectiveness of erosion control. There are a few definitive steps for installing a silt fence that, when followed, will ensure that your silt fence is properly installed.

      The first step is to mark the area where the silt fence is to be installed. You should use stakes and string to clearly define the area. You’ll need to make sure that the fence is placed along the contours of the land. This will ensure proper water flow and minimizes pooling.

      Once you’ve marked the area of installation, it’s time to dig the post holes. Hardwood stakes should be used and should be placed 8 feet apart. The depth of the holes should take into account the depth of the soil, so they should be a minimum of two feet in depth. Make sure you set the posts squarely in the holes and fill the remainder of the hole with soil.

      After the posts have been set, it is time to lay out the silt fabric. Unroll the silt fence and attach it to the post with straps or clips. These straps should hold the fabric 6 to 12 inches above the ground. The silt fence should be taut to ensure proper contouring and sediment control.

      Finally, using wire ties, attach the fabric securely to the posts. It is important to ensure that the wire ties pass through the fabric and around the posts, to guarantee that the fence will remain secure throughout its life in the elements.

      By following these steps, you can successfully install a silt fence that will effectively help protect local waterways from sediment loss during construction projects. With proper installation, your silt fence can last up to six months or more.

      The Importance of Placement and Depth When Installing a Silt Fence

      When installing a silt fence, one of the most important aspects to consider is the placement and depth of the fence. It’s essential that the fence be placed along the contour of the land and be buried at least 6 inches deep, as this will maximize its effectiveness for erosion control. Proper placement of the silt fence can prevent soil erosion from entering nearby waterways – such as rivers, lakes, and seas – and protects water quality from sediment-laden storm water runoff.

      Pay attention to the contours of the landscape when placing the silt fence. Make sure to check if there are any obstructions – such as large rocks or tree roots – that may impede the flow of water beneath the fence. For example, if the fence is placed in an uphill direction, water may cascade down the slope and eventually find its way under the silt fence, thereby reducing its effectiveness.

      The amount of fencing needed can vary depending on the length of the slope, the steepness of the slope, and the type of soil. Generally, the more fencing needed, the greater the cost. However, it’s important to note that the savings derived from installing less silt fence can be significantly offset by potential damage that can occur to nearby waterways and ecosystems due to sediment-laden storm water runoff.

      Identifying the Appropriate Materials for Constructing Silt Fences

      When installing a silt fence, it’s important to choose the right materials in order to ensure the fence is effective and long lasting. The three main materials used for constructing silt fences are polypropylene or polyethylene fabric, hardwood posts, and wire ties.

      The fabric used for silt fences is typically polypropylene or polyethylene and is designed to be porous so that water can flow through while trapping sediment. This fabric comes in various sizes and strengths, so it’s important to select the appropriate one for your needs.

      The posts used to support the silt fence are typically hardwood, such as cedar, as they are strong and durable and can last for years. For larger construction sites, metal posts may also be used.

      Metal or plastic-coated wire ties are used to attach the fabric to the posts. These ties should be rust-resistant and able to withstand extreme weather conditions.

      By selecting the correct material for your silt fencing, you will be ensuring its efficacy and effectiveness in your erosion control efforts.

      silt fencing

      Maintenance & Repair of Silt Fences

      Silt fences are an important part of keeping our waterways clean and protected from construction debris and sediment. To ensure their efficacy, these fences should be inspected routinely and after runoff events, to determine whether they need maintenance or repair. In order to understand how best to repair and maintain a silt fence, let’s start with a look at what causes them to fail.

      The most common reasons for silt fence failure are: fullness due to debris and sediment accumulating in the fabric, damage caused by construction equipment, or shifts in the soil that lead to sagging. If a silt fence is full and no longer trapping sediments, it needs to be emptied out. This can be done by simply removing the trapped sediments, usually with a shovel, tarp, or rake. If the silt fence has been damaged due to construction equipment, it typically needs to be replaced with a new one. On the other hand, if the silt fence has sagged due to a shift in the soil, it can often be repaired quickly and inexpensively.

      To do this, locate the spot where the fence has shifted and corner posts have come off the ground. These posts can usually be placed back in the ground and tamped down for extra stability, or re-staked if needed. Once the posts are secure, the fence fabric should be stretched and staked again, ensuring it is taught and secure.

      Finally, once the silt fence is back in place, it should be inspected regularly to check for any additional damage or faulty installation, as a silt fence that is installed incorrectly may still fail, compromising its effectiveness.

      It is critical to inspect silt fencing regularly, as this helps ensure that it is functioning properly and that nearby streams, rivers, lakes, and seas are not being polluted by sediment in storm water runoff. Inspecting silt fencing helps to identify any problems with the fence, as well as storms or other events that may have caused damage or erosion. By frequently checking your silt fencing, you can be sure to maintain its integrity and effectiveness.

      Inspections should take place at least once a week, or after any runoff events. During inspections, look for any signs of damage such as tears, rips, or holes in the silt fence fabric. You should also check to see if posts and stakes have been pushed out of the ground, as this may indicate that the silt fence is not securely installed. Additionally, inspect for any clogging or blockages, as this could point to an issue with the quality of the filtering fabric. If any damage or issues are noticed, repairs should be made as soon as possible.

      When a silt fence has been damaged, it is important to make any necessary repairs as soon as possible. If left unrepaired, the effectiveness of the fence will be severely reduced. Typical repairs may include replacing stakes, fabric, or tension wires, and burying any exposed edges of the silt fence.

      It is also important to check for any signs of deterioration in the fabric, wire mesh, or chain link fencing material due to age or weathering. If there is significant damage, the entire silt fence should be replaced with a new one.

      If the silt fence is near a body of water, it is important to observe your local regulations, as some jurisdictions may require more frequent inspections and repairs.

      In order to repair the silt fence, all that is needed is a few basic tools, such as a pair of pliers, a hammer, and a stapler. First, remove the damaged sections and replace them with new materials. Make sure to firmly secure the fabric, mesh, or chain link with ties and/or staples.

      Finally, check the tension of the tension wires along the length of the fence. A tension wire is necessary to keep the silt fence taut, and if the tension is not correct, the fence will not perform as designed.

      When the silt fence is repaired, it is important to monitor the fence periodically to ensure it remains in good condition. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs are critical to the effectiveness of silt fencing.

      Sometimes, a silt fence will need to be replaced before its expected life span. This can happen when the fence is damaged beyond repair or if the construction site changes and the fence needs to be relocated. Additionally, if significant rainfall occurs and the silt fence is not capable of containing the excess sediment and water, it may need to be replaced in order to remain effective. In these cases, it is important to inspect the silt fence for damages, such as tears or holes, to ensure that an effective barrier remains in place.

      When it comes to long-term protection, regular inspection and maintenance of your silt fence is essential. Inspections should include checking for general damage, rips and tears, as well as any soil buildup resulting from runoff events. If necessary, repairs should be made and the fence should be replaced as needed.

      When done right, silt fencing can provide great benefits when it comes to erosion control and sediment control. By taking the time to properly install and inspect the silt fence, you can rest assured that your construction site will remain protected.


      Silt fencing is a temporary sediment control device used on construction sites to prevent water pollution. It is made of permeable fabric and is designed to retain the soil on disturbed land until the activities disturbing the land are complete. Its design is critical to its effectiveness, with proper placement, adequate amount, and appropriate materials being the three principal aspects of silt fence design.

      Silt fencing is a cost-effective and easy way to help protect local waterways from disturbing sediments caused by construction projects. Its installation process is relatively simple and involves placing hardwood stakes every 8 feet along the proposed fence line, attaching the silt fence fabric to the stakes with wire ties, and burying the bottom of the fence at least 6 inches deep. When properly maintained, silt fencing can last at least six months or more and should be checked regularly for damage and repaired as needed. Silt fences are available for purchase from home improvement stores and online retailers, making them an accessible and reliable option for any construction project.

      Silt fencing is a must-have for many construction sites, as it can provide invaluable benefits when it comes to erosion control and sediment control. It allows water to flow through while trapping sediment and preventing movement of construction debris and sediment. The design of the silt fence is critical to its effectiveness, and proper placement, adequate amount, and appropriate materials are the three principal aspects of silt fence design.

      Not only is silt fencing an economical and durable solution for water and sediment control, it’s relatively simple to install. With hardwood stakes placed every 8 feet, you can securely attach the fabric to the stakes using wire ties. You’ll also want to be sure to bury the bottom of the fence at least 6 inches deep, and to follow the contour of the land to ensure maximum efficiency.