One of the biggest challenges of installing a new vinyl fence in Dallas is removing your old fence first. Fence removal is labor-intensive work, and it’s even harder when your fence posts are set in concrete. However, there are a few strategies you can use to get concrete-set fence posts out of the ground easily.
Strategies for Fence Post Removal
Dig the Post Out by Hand
The most common way to get stubborn fence posts out of the ground is simply to dig the earth out from around the concrete base. It is possible to do this with nothing more than a standard shovel or spade and plenty of time. However, Texas’s rocky, clay-rich soil also makes this method the hardest and most labor-intensive way of removing fence posts.
There are a few ways to make this task a little easier. One of the best methods for digging out fence posts by hand is to only remove the dirt around one “face” of the fence post. By digging slightly deeper than the base of the concrete, you can then tip the post into the hole and lift it out.
Use a Jack to Remove the Post
A much easier, but more complicated, method for post removal is to use a jack to “pull” the post directly out of the ground. This method does require investment in more tools and materials, but it also can save lots of time and make a big job much easier.
The key to this method is to use a tall bumper or farm jack with a long lever to provide lots of leverage. Don’t use a floor jack – the smaller wheels and flayed base can make it very difficult to lift a post out of the ground.
Once you have the right jack, you’ll need to connect it to the fence post in a way that allows you to lift it out of the ground. There are several methods you can use here, such as:
- Connecting a 2×4 or 4×4 to the post with heavy-duty bolts, then placing the jack underneath the bolted-on section and lifting it.
- Wrapping a chain or tow strap around the post and connecting it to the jack, then using it to pull the post out of the ground.
- Connecting the jack to the post with ratchet straps or some other removable connector.
When the jack is securely connected or positioned under the post, simply operate the jack the same way you would to lift a car or other heavy object. The jack should loosen the concrete base of the post enough to either pull it out directly or position a pry bar underneath it to finish the job.
If you’re having trouble, it can help to soften the ground first by soaking it with water an hour or two before attempting to remove the posts. You can also position the base of the jack on top of another 2×4 in order to spread the load evenly over the ground.
Use Heavy Machinery to Pull Posts
The easiest way to remove stubborn fence posts is to pull them out with machinery like a digger or loader. However, this is also the most expensive method, and it’s not possible for every homeowner.
The biggest advantage of using machinery to pull posts is speed and ease. A digger can easily lift most posts straight out of the ground, and if you do need to dig any out it saves the labor of removing dirt as well.
However, machinery can also be expensive to rent on your own, and it can leave unsightly tracks in your yard or damage your grass if you aren’t careful. Plus, in some cases it’s simply impossible for a digger or loader to access a lot, such as when houses are close together or when there are trees or bushes in the way.
If you do choose to rent your own machinery to do the job, make sure you pull the posts gently. Concrete is very strong when compressed, but when it is pulled it is actually relatively fragile. Tugging it out of the ground with too much force could lead to broken or fractured post footings. These in turn will be a big obstacle when it comes to placing new fence posts.
Removing Broken Fence Posts
One of the biggest challenges to removing fence posts set in concrete is when the post itself breaks off close to ground level. The above methods can work for broken posts, but it’s not always easy to make them work.
If you plan on lifting the concrete base of the post out of the ground with a jack or machinery, you will need to securely attach a strap or chain to the concrete first. There are a few ways you can do this, such as:
- Drilling holes in the concrete and installing concrete lag bolts in the holes. Note this will require you to use a carbide-tipped drill bit and a hammer drill to properly drill the holes.
- Wrapping metal wire around the base of the concrete and attaching the wire to the jack or digger. This will require you to dig out around the top of the concrete footer on all sides of the post.
- Digging out one side of the footing (such as in the first method described above) and tipping it into the hole, then wrapping a strap or chain around it to lift it out.
In some cases it is also possible to lift the concrete footing out of the ground by attaching bolts to the broken post. Unfortunately, many wood fence posts break because they are rotten at the base. If this is the case with your fence, you will need to either lift the concrete out directly or dig the post footings out.
Can a Contractor Remove Fence Posts Set in Concrete?
When it comes time to get a new fence, most people have old fence posts and panels they need to remove first. At Future Outdoors, we offer fence removal services alongside new fence installations. With our fence removal, you get a new fence installed as fast as possible, and you get to rest easy knowing all the work was performed by professionally-trained fence contractors.
If you’re ready to install a new fence around your property, Future Outdoors is ready to help. Call (972) 576-1600 today to schedule your estimate and learn about your options for getting a new fence in the DFW area, or visit our Facebook page for more tips and ideas for improving your property and home.