5 Helpful Tips for Removing an Old, Wooden, Home Perimeter Fence

Removing an old wooden fence around the perimeter of your home is no easy undertaking, especially if you have no idea what you’re up against. But with a few tips and tricks you should be able to get the job done. Here are some guidelines that will help to make this home improvement project manageable for the average homeowner.

Check with your neighbors and the city. Are you sure the fence is yours? Do you know exactly where your property lines fall? Have you checked with city codes to make sure you can build a new fence once you’ve demolished the existing one? Is the fence the only thing separating your yard from the neighbors and their dogs? Are there utilities (power, water, gas, sewage, telephone, etc.) that have lines running near your fencing that could impact safe removal of posts?

These are all things to consider before you grab a mallet and start knocking out fencing. It’s important to make sure that the fence you’re demolishing is yours to destroy, that you can remove it safely, and that you are prepared for the future, which could include neighboring animals using your yard as a toilet, or the possibility of fees for permits or restrictions based on new building codes should you install new fencing.

Get the right tools. No matter what type of home improvement project you take on, you’ll find that having the right tools for the job will increase the speed and efficiency with which your tasks are completed. Removing your old, wooden fence could require several tools. First, you’ll probably want a mallet to remove slats. These can generally be knocked out fairly easily. Try to collect any nails that fall out during the process so that nobody steps on them.

Next you’ll need to address the posts. If you’re lucky, these have merely been sunk into the soil. Use a shovel to dig a hole around each post (about a foot deep), then rock the post to loosen it before attempting to pull it out. You may need some leverage to avoid breaking the post, so think about pounding heavy duty nails into the post at ground level, leaving about an inch exposed, then looping a sturdy rope around each nail before tying it around the post. If you can set up some kind of pulley system or rent a small backhoe, it will make your job easier. As for posts sunk in concrete, you may need a jackhammer to break up the cement before you can remove posts.

Use proper safety gear. A helmet, goggles, and gloves are the basic safety gear associated with any home improvement project. Depending on what you’re dealing with, though, you might also want some type of mask.

Look into salvage. If your wooden fence is still in good shape, you might be able to make some money selling it to a salvage yard for refurbishing and resale or recycling. This is a great way to make a few bucks to help pay for new fencing, and you’ll keep perfectly usable natural resources out of the landfill in the process.

Hire help. Removing any kind of perimeter fence is bound to be a complex undertaking that can tax even the most dedicated DIY homeowner. If you find that the job is just too much for you, consider hiring a contractor to remove and haul away your old fencing, after which you can find a reputable specialist like Ram Fence Company to install something new if need be. You get what you pay for when you do it yourself, so if you’re not confident in your ability to adequately or safely remove your old fence, don’t hesitate to hire professional help.

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