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Removing fence post

Damaged posts eventually cause decks to sag and perhaps even collapse if the load on top of them is heavy.

Lean and swaying fence posts undermine the stability of the entire fence. You can replace them, but start by removing the old post.

But fortunately for you, you’re not the first to encounter such a problem.

How to remove a fence post without excavation

If you have a fence that is in good condition except for a rotted or broken post, you don’t have to destroy the fence to remove and replace it. There is an easy way to get it out of the ground without wearing it down with a shovel, and it doesn’t involve tying a rope around the post, attaching it to your car’s bumper, and running your car in reverse. If it is a wooden or metal post, you can pry it with a long piece of two-by-four. This technique will work even if the post is concrete.

Things You Will Need:

  • Garden hose
  • Concrete block
  • 4, 3-inch wood screws
  • Drill
  • No. 2 Phillips drill bit
  • Two-by-four, wooden beam 8-foot lengths

Disconnect fencing from a fence post, if not already connected. Saturate the soil around the base of the post with water from a garden hose. Let the water soak until the ground is covered with mud.
Move the post back and forth to loosen it. Even if you don’t move it much, any amount of loosening of the soil around the base will make it easier to remove.
Place a concrete block on the ground about 6 inches from one face of the post. Make sure it is not on top of the concrete containing the post. If the post is wood, drive two or three 3-inch wood screws into the face from side to side, about 1/2 inch. They should be 2 inches higher than the top of the block. If the post is metal, set the lock on the front of the bracket holding the bottom rail.
Twist 8 feet wooden beam two by four at the edge, slide one end over the block and insert a wedge under the bolts or bracket. The other end should be glued at an angle.
Pull down on the other end of the two-by-four to pry the fence out of the ground. This can be a two-person job, depending on how deep the post is and how much concrete is attached to the base. When the post is deep enough, tilt the two-by-four and pull it out the rest of the way.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can substitute a metal digging rod or even a length of 3/4-inch metal pipe for the two-by-four if necessary. Do not use 1/2-inch pipe, as it will probably bend.
  • If you want to remove a concrete post, you may need a hydraulic fence-post puller.
  • Make sure the post is completely independent of the fencing, or you could damage the fence.
how to remove fence post

Removing wood from the posts

  • Evaluate the condition of the fence post. A wood post that is sunken into the surrounding soil will be relatively easy to remove, while one that is sunken into the concrete will require additional equipment. Any wood fence post that is badly deteriorated may also require additional tools to handle the removal.
  • Dig a trench around the post with a shovel. The trench does not have to be deeper than about 1 foot (0.3 m). Remove dirt directly on the post, or around the concrete plug that is holding the post in position.
  • Rock the post in place. Push back and forth several times to help loosen the post and plug as the hole enlarges slightly.
  • Drive four nails into each face of the post. Position the nails so that they are driven into the surface of the post approximately 1 foot (0.3 m) from ground level. Make sure the nails are driven at least halfway into the wood, creating a firm hold.
  • Secure a strong length of rope to the series of nails in the post. This can be accomplished by wrapping the rope around and under each of the exposed nails in the head in succession, finally tying the rope tightly around the body of the fence post.
  • Create a lever to assist in extracting the post. This can be accomplished by placing one to two layers of concrete blocks on one side of the trench and then placing a thick slab or board across the blocks.
  • Create a lever to assist in extracting the post. This can be accomplished by placing one to two layers of concrete blocks on one side of the trench and then placing a thick slab or board across the blocks.
  • Attach the string to the end of the joint closest to the post. Drive a couple of nails into the joint to create a means of securing the rope in position.
  • Drive a couple of nails into the joint to create a means of securing the rope in position.
  • Stand on the opposite end of the table. The effect will be something like a see-saw, as long as your end moves towards the floor, the tension of the rope increases and pulls the post up, slowly pulling the buried part of the post out.
  • Remove the post from the hole. Once the post is pulled up, release the rope and move the post away from the open hole.

You may need a jack to remove the fence post.

How to get a fence post out of the ground with a highlift jack – Video

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