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Fence Removal Made Simple

Whether it refers to a thrown baseball, a propelled rocket, or the old fence in your backyard, that old adage rings true once again: What goes up must come down. As much as we like to think our latest project will stand the test of time, inevitably, time always wins – we just get better at prolonging things. What you see in your backyard – that old fence that is now more of a lean-to—was someone else’s project, once upon a remodel.

Nevertheless, the fence must come down and be replaced by your newer, bolder, longer-lasting model. The problem is we don’t build fences with the idea of tearing them down. Fortunately, there is usually nothing too complicated about fence removal. Just get ready for some good ol’ fashioned sweat and digging.

Wood Fence

First, you need to strip your wood fence down to the posts. Do this as rough or as nice as you see fit. There may be some salvageable lumber in that old fence. So the bulldozer/sledgehammer approach may be a bit too aggressive. One way or the other, remove the fence boards and rails.

Always keep disposal in mind and plan ahead of time. You should NOT burn pressure-treated or painted lumber. Having a truck or dumpster ready for all the waste will save you the time and excess energy required to move the wood twice.

The posts might be a bit tougher, and this is where a shovel comes into play. Usually posts are buried with concrete. Sometimes, however, you may get lucky and only have tamped soil to deal with. Either way, you will need to dig down about a foot or so until you can shake the post loose from its moorings. Be careful trying to lift concrete out of the old post hole…the more hands, the merrier.

Chain Link Fence

Chain link fences are a bit different. When installed, these fences are unrolled from one end to the other with a series of clamps or strong wire that binds the fencing to the posts. Bring your pliers and tin snips to this party. Bend, break, or otherwise remove those ties so that the fencing will roll back up (Hint: Gloves are always a good idea when working around metal).

Typically, you will now have to remove a top rail, which often runs through specially-made post caps. There are a wide variety of chain link fence designs, but removal of the rails should be fairly self-explanatory. If all else fails, there is nothing that reciprocating saw (with a metal-cutting blade) cannot take care of.

When you’ve got it down to the posts, you’re ready to commence digging. Unfortunately, with chain link fencing you are nearly guaranteed to have concrete to battle with. Again, dig down a foot or two and try to jar the post loose. If you’ve got a lot of weight on your hands, a truck, a hitch and some rope would come in very handy if you can locate them.

Iron Fences

Because many ornamental iron fences are welded together, taking them apart can be quite difficult. Once again your best friend will be a reciprocating saw. The essentials of removal are the same regardless of the fence. However, there are ways to restore wrought iron fences that are likely cheaper than replacing them. Ornamental fencing (wrought iron and aluminum) is at the higher end of fencing materials and are often worth saving.

Should your fence removal project be just a bit too daunting or time consuming, have no fear. There are plenty of qualified fencing contractors who can tackle any aspect of your fencing needs, be it restoration, removal, or replacement. Get free estimates today!

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