There are plenty of reasons to get rid of an old fence. Maybe it’s leaning with age or missing panels after a storm. Perhaps you got a new puppy and need a fence with pickets closer together. Whatever the reason, tearing down a fence is a fairly straightforward project.
This guide will walk you through everything you need to know to remove a wooden fence. Luckily, if your fence is vinyl the steps are fairly similar and we’ll note any differences you need to know.
PROJECT DIFFICULTY RATING: Intermediate
Fence Removal Steps
On the surface, removing a fence can feel like a huge undertaking, particularly if the fence wraps around a large property with a lot of posts separating the panels. However, it really isn’t too hard of a task to accomplish if you have the time to devote to it.
Our guide will walk you through it step-by-step so you can tear down your fence with confidence.
It’s time to start your project, but there are a couple things to do before you start the physical work. From who to call and what tools to grab, here’s everything you need to know to get the project started on the right foot.
Before you power up your saw and start making a mess, there are a few calls you need to make. By making these calls, you’ll ensure that you won’t run into any serious issues or project delays.
While there are tools you can rent from a home improvement store, you really can tackle fence removal with the supplies found in your basic toolbox.
Fence Removal Tool and Supply List
* These supplies are optional based on the fence post removal method you select.
Before you get much further, it’s worth spending a few moments considering how you want to get rid of the old fence materials. Most bulk curbside collection companies will only accept a specific amount of waste at one time. Plus, they often have restrictions on how large the pieces of wood can be.
To get rid of the old fence quickly, consider renting a roll off dumpster. With a range of sizes, you can find one that fits comfortably in your driveway, making it easy to toss everything as you work.
It’s time to get to work. The best place to start is with the gates.
Once you have removed all the gates, it’s time to tackle the panels. If you don’t care about keeping the fence panels intact, you can simply cut them off by the posts.
Vinyl Fence Tip: Do not use the saw method with vinyl fences because there may be metal underneath the panels. Instead, unscrew the brackets from the posts and lift the panels away.
If you’re hoping to reuse or repurpose the wood, you’ll want to remove the fence panel-by-panel. While a bit more time-consuming and labor-intensive than the saw option, the damage-free option is still quite easy to accomplish. Grab your pry bar, hammer and screwdriver to get started.
With just the posts remaining, you’ve gotten a bulk of the project out of the way. However, this is where the hardest work comes into play. Fence posts are typically cemented into the ground. It’s great, because it gives them lasting sturdiness and durability. However, this can be problematic when you need to remove the posts. There are a number of ways to accomplish this step, and they all depend on how hard you’re willing to work.
If you’re fortunate, your posts will not be cemented into the ground. You can find this out simply enough.
If the post is not cemented, it should easily come out. If it stays in, you’ll need to try one of the following methods.
There are a lot of methods to tear out fence posts with concrete, but it really comes down to what tools you have available to get the job done. Read through our top-three methods to see which option sounds the most appealing to you.
Pro Tip: It’s more than possible to remove your fence posts without spending any money. However, there are plenty of post removal tools — such as a t-post puller — available for rent at your local home improvement store that will make the job easier.
For this method, you’ll need to get your shovel, a chain and high-lift car jack.
If you don’t have a car jack, creating a lever is another simple concrete post removal method that can be done with some spare 2x4s and a couple cinder blocks.
You’ll have to do a lot of manual labor for this method, but it’s a great way to remove cemented posts if you don’t have a car jack or the materials needed to create a lever.
Cement Disposal Tip: Be sure to check if concrete is allowed in your dumpster. If it is, keep in mind that the weight of cement adds up fast.
DIY fence removal can be as expensive as getting a permit from your local government. However, if you choose to have a professional take care of the job, expect to pay $1-2 per foot of fence.
Renting a dumpster is an ideal way to dispose of your fence once you’ve pulled it out of the ground. Just toss all the panels, gates and posts in and let us haul it away. Plus, most municipal curbside collection services will not accept construction materials or may require the wood to be cut to certain lengths.
The fence is gone, but what’s next? If you’re hoping to replace the fence, you still have a footprint ready to guide your project. Are your fence days over? Be sure to fill in the post holes with a bit of dirt and plant some new grass. Either way, a new adventure awaits in your own back yard.