How to Remove an Old Fence and Posts

Here's what you need to know before digging up and pulling up old fence posts:

Make Sure the Fence is Yours

If you didn’t install the fence yourself, it may actually be on your neighbor’s property. You should always check with your neighbor if you have any doubt, and if they don't know, a licensed property survey might be needed.

It’s also possible that the fence was built without city permits, so checking with your neighbors to make sure that the fence actually belongs to you and is on your property is very important. The last thing you want is to start removing a fence and posts that actually belong to your neighbor, which could create problems between you and them.

Determine If the Fence is Worth Saving or Repairing

Once you’ve established that the fence is on your property, you need to decide if it’s actually worth removing or if you can simply repair it. Often, removing an old fence is more work than it’s worth, especially if the fence is made of quality materials that can be reused. If you do decide to remove the fence, you need to take a few things into consideration:

  • The type of fence
  • The condition of the fence
  • The size of the fence
  • Whether or not the fence is attached to a structure
  • The type of soil around the fence
  • The climate in your area

When it comes to removing fence posts, all of these factors will play a role in how difficult it will be. If you’re not sure if you can handle removing the fence yourself, it’s always best to consult with a professional fence contractor.

Check with Your Local Utility Companies

You should always check with your local utility companies before you start any demolition project, especially if it includes digging up and pulling up old fence posts. Fence posts are usually installed a couple of feet into the ground, and there’s no telling what utility lines may have been installed around them over the years.

You could have to pay for expensive repairs if you break any underground lines in your neighborhood. Be cautious when removing fence posts located near power lines, gas lines, water mains, or sewer lines. An inspection of your fence perimeter by a licensed line locator will determine the locations of any public underground utility lines.  Calling “811” is the free service that marks public utilities but, remember any private lines are the responsibility of the owner if damaged and are not marked by any agency as they are considered “private”.

Plans are Necessary

It’s really important to have a solid plan before starting an old fence removal. There is a lot of work involved. Removing old fence posts that were properly installed using concrete and gravel takes know-how. If you are unfamiliar with how to remove the fence posts, you should definitely call a professional fence contractor to avoid getting hurt and possible property damage.  

Oftentimes old wood fence posts will rot off at the ground and you are able to break the post off, just below grade leaving the concrete footing buried below.  Doing this is far easier but make sure that the old post footing left in the ground won’t be in your way for any new fence or projects in the future.
If you aren’t too sure about where to begin when removing fence posts, All American Fence Erectors can answer your questions. We can safely help you remove your old fence, so give us a call for a free estimate.

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