How To Install A Permanent Clothesline. Metal vs Wood.
My husband recently gave me the best gift ever.
No, not the dozen white roses he had waiting for me in the kitchen last week.
No, not the pack of my favorite chocolates he slipped into my hand when he got home from work.
All super sweet, by the way.
The gift I’m talking about is the metal clothesline he put up for me a few weeks ago. A brand new, five line, permanent clothesline.
I’m totally thrilled.
If you remember, almost one full year ago my wooden-post clothesline collapsed under the weight of a heavy load of wet laundry. Termites had eaten the posts until they no longer could bear the burden of their existence.
Termites aren’t supposed to like pressure-treated lumber.
I rewashed all of the clothes, and tied two of the clotheslines together so that they were long enough to stretch to the closest tree at the edge of the woods where I secured it with a clamp. For the past eleven months I’ve been hanging all of our laundry on that one make-shift line from the post to the tree.
It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t nearly enough line for the amount of laundry I need to do each week, but we managed.
Finally, I decided it was time to invest in a proper clothesline setup. Having already experienced the downsides of using wood for a clothesline post, I knew I wanted to go with metal this time around. I plan on hanging my laundry out for many, many more years, so I need something that will last and won’t have to be replaced anytime soon.
After reading tons of reviews, I settled on a set of White Powder Coated Steel T-Posts. The pair set us back $100, which was hard to swallow but I figured it would be worth it over time.
Other materials we had to buy were:
- three bags of Quikrete concrete mix
- (10) 3/16 Inch Stainless Steel Cable Clamps
- (5) 1/4″ Stainless Steel Hook and Eye Turnbuckles
- 150′ coated clothesline wire (more or less depending on how long you want your lines)
You’ll also need the following tools:
- a level
- a shovel or Post Hole Digger
- needle nose pliers
How To Install A Permanent Clothesline
1. Determine the best placement.
Ideally, the best place to install a clothesline is on the south side of your property where it will get the most sun. Position the clothesline running north to south, so that the sun will cross the clothesline from east to west to maximize exposure. This will allow your laundry to dry more quickly. If there is no place to install a clothesline on the south side of your home, find the sunniest spot in your yard to place it. Partial sun is okay, it will just take your laundry longer to dry.
Install your clothesline on a sunny day, with no chance of rain for a couple days, in order to give the concrete time to properly set up.
2. Dig the holes.
Using a post hole digger, dig two holes- one for each post, 18-24″ deep. We spaced ours 25 feet apart to give me 125 feet of line total. I wouldn’t go any farther apart than that, otherwise the line might start sagging in the middle under weight.
Dump the dirt in a wheelbarrow to keep your yard tidy during the installation process.
3. Place the pole in the hole.
Drop the end pole into the hole somewhere near the center. It’s best to install the posts one at a time.
4. Level it up.
Use a level to make sure the pole isn’t leaning. You definitely want them as straight as an arrow.
You can use rocks or bricks to help hold the pole level while you pour the concrete.
5. Pour concrete into hole.
Fill each hole flush with dry concrete mix. You’ll need 1 1/2 to 2 bags of quick setting concrete per hole.
Pour the dry concrete into the hole doing your best to keep it somewhat even all the way around. You should probably wear a mask during this process so you don’t breathe in the dust.
6. Add water to the concrete mix.
Next, pour 1/2 gallon of water into the hole over the powdered concrete mix. Follow the instructions on the bag of concrete as they may differ by brand. Typically you won’t need to do any mixing or stirring. Allow it to sit undisturbed until completely dry. This takes several hours.
Once the concrete sets up pretty firm you can let your kids write their names in it. Xia wrote “DADEY” instead of “daddy”. Cute. Maybe a hundred years from now somebody will unearth our scribbles and marvel over them.
When the concrete has set for 24 hours or so (depending on the type of concrete you used), and the poles are firm in place, attach the top of each post to the base and assemble the cross bars.
7. Install the clothesline.
Now it’s time to thread the wire from one side to the next. Definitely use coated wire for your clothesline. Cotton line will sag and break eventually, and uncoated wire will rust over time.
Measure out enough wire to run the length of your clothesline, adding about six inches or so extra to each side to allow for doubling over to clamp it in place.
Use stainless steel cable clamps so they don’t rust.
Thread the coated wire through the eye hook on one end of the clothesline post (eye-hooks should have come with your t-post kit). Double it over and clamp it together with a cable clamp, tightening the nuts with needle nose pliers.
It will look something like this on one end of the line. I need to have this clamp turned over… it looks upside down to me.
To attach the other end of the line you’ll need a hook and eye turnbuckle. One for each line.
Attach the hook end of the turnbuckle into the eye hook on the opposite t-post, then loop the clothesline wire through the eye end of the turnbuckle and attach it with another cable clamp. You can use this turnbuckle to tighten your line if it starts to sag over time. (Which it will a little.)
Repeat this process for all five lines (or however many you end up going with). Then step back and enjoy the beauty of your new clothesline.
Sigh. Isn’t it lovely?
Take that termites.
Ready to install your own clothesline? Get what you need for the project: