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Home » How to Remove Old or Broken Fence Posts Set in Concrete?

How to Remove Old or Broken Fence Posts Set in Concrete?

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Setting a fence post in concrete is an effective way of getting a strong fence that wouldn’t bend with pressure. When concrete sets, it becomes so difficult to break or shift, and this is why setting posts in concrete is one of the ways to get a rigid fence.

This rigidity can quickly become a problem when the fence post becomes old, rotten, or breaks. The rigidity even causes the post to break easily since it cannot shift to adjust when a lot of pressure is applied. To remove this damaged fence post from concrete is no easy task.

You’ll need to exercise patience and tact. There are several ways you can use to remove a damaged fence post set in concrete, and we’ll be looking at them in this guide.

Some of the reasons for removing a fence post set in concrete include completely removing the fence, replacing a broken fence post, replacing a rotten post, and so much more. When faced with any of these challenges, follow this guide on how to remove fence post concrete.

Guide to Removing Fence Post Set in Concrete

Guide to Removing Fence Post Set in Concrete
Image Credit: https://homeimprovementscout.com

Even though removing fence posts set in concrete is stressful, it is doable, and with the right guidance, you can reduce that stress and make it easier.

1. Digging the Post Out by Hand

Digging the Post Out by Hand
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You can dig out the post around the concrete by hand to remove a damaged fence post. This method is stressful and time-consuming but does not require a lot of extra money.

Tools Needed

  • Shovel
  • Digger

Steps

Here are steps to follow:

  • Clear the area: Remove anything that may be covering the top. This will give you access to the base of the fence post.
  • Dig around the post: First, you need to use the shovel to remove the topsoil on the post and then use a digger to remove the soil around the post.
  • Remove the soil as you dig to create room for more digging. You want to dig till you’ve gotten to the bottom of the post, where it sits on the ground.
  • Pull the post from side to side: Pulling the post from side to side will weaken the base of the concrete and make it possible to be removed without stress.

Grab the post from the top and pull the post towards the ground to one side. Do this for different sides to weaken their hold on the ground. This will be possible if the concrete is small and the post remaining is long enough and strong; otherwise, you may need to try other methods.

  • Raise the post with the concrete block: At this point, the concrete must have been detached from the ground and can be removed with some physical strength. Raise the post and the concrete block and remove them from the ground.

Also Read: 5 Smart Ways to Set Long-Lasting Fence Post Without Concrete

2. Break up the Concrete

Break up the Concrete
Image Credit: https://www.thisoldhouse.com/

Instead of trying to diplomatically remove the concrete post, you can go gung ho on it by breaking it up. Before you roll your eyes, while tools requiring physical energy are the norm here, you can get mechanised tools and save yourself the stress.

Tools Needed

  • Shovel
  • Digger bar/excavator/powered demolition hammer

Steps

Follow these steps to break up the concrete.

  • Remove the topsoil: Use your shovel to remove the topsoil and expose the concrete block. You should also dig around the base of the block to create a little room and make the concrete shape visible.
  • Remove the wood from the concrete: Removing the post from the concrete will make it easier to break up the concrete. Do this by chopping off the long part and striking the center of the concrete bar with the digger or using your mechanized tool. This will divide the concrete into two and allow you to remove the post.
  • Break the concrete to bits: Here, you can use the digger and do it the old-fashioned way or use more mechanized tools and save energy. Break up the concrete to bits and remove all the concrete in the hole

3. Eye Bolt Removal

Eye Bolt Removal
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The eye bolt removal method involves the use of an eye bolt, chain, or rope to pull the concrete and the post out in one piece. Unlike the previous method, where a lot of destruction was involved, here, everything is more measured.

This method will only work if the wood in the concrete is still in good condition. The eye bolt removal method does not involve digging and is one of the least stressful methods to employ.

Tools Needed

  • Drill
  • Drill bit
  • Heavy-duty eye bolt
  • A long chain or rope

Steps

Using the eye bolt method is a stress-free process when compared to many other methods. Here’s how to do it:

  • Drill a hole into the post: This method is effective when the post is not rotten as it’ll need to hold firm to resist the pressure it’ll undergo. Attach a drill bit to the drill and create a pilot hole.

Choose a drill bit that is narrower than the eye bolt, so that it is firm when you insert it. Drill the hole in the area of the wood that is not rotten or damaged.

  • Insert the eye bolt: put the eye bolt inside the hole and screw it in place. Thread the eye bolt through the hole and ensure it is firm.
  • Secure one end of a chain/rope in the eye of the eye bolt: knot the tope and lock the chain tightly through the eye severally to ensure it wouldn’t come off under pressure.
  • Pull the rope/chain till the concrete comes off: you may connect this to a truck and slowly drive away to pull the concrete from the ground. Do this till the footing of the concrete loosens, and the concrete comes off.

You can also connect the rope/chain to a lever and work it to raise the concrete out of the ground. Do not attempt to do this manually, as it can be backbreaking. Since there was no digging involved, the concrete is still firmly in the ground and will not move when pulled by hand.

Precautions to Take While Removing Concrete Posts

Precautions to Take While Removing Concrete Posts
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Concrete posts are firm and will usually require extreme force, heavy machinery or both to remove them from the ground. This kind of task can be dangerous if not done right and this is why you need to take precautions when removing the concrete.

  • Never use a weak or faulty tool: Tools that are weak, faulty, rotten, or slightly damaged should not be used when removing post set in concrete. Not only will it be undergoing a lot of pressure and will need to hold firm to remove the concrete, but you can also injure yourself if it snaps during the process.
  • Wear protective materials: Protective materials like gloves, goggles, and boots are essential when doing these projects to protect yourself. Some methods like breaking off the concrete can have bits of concrete flying around, which can hit your eyes without the necessary protection.
  • Watch out for your back: This is a physical task that requires a lot of energy; however, you should know your limit, so you do not strain your back in the process. Tasks like pulling should be left for levers and other machinery to handle. If you must pull, you should do that with several helping hands and not alone. This will reduce the strain on your body.

Read More: What is a Rip Fence, and Do You Know How to Use it?

Summary

Removing damaged fence posts set in concrete can be a challenging process because of the firm nature of concrete. However, it is not impossible, and there are several ways to accomplish this. Some of the methods are easier than others. You’ll also find that some require heavy machinery while others can be done with little. Typically the more the machinery needed, the easier the process.