Removing an old fence post can be a pain in the ass – especially if the post has rotted and fallen off. That’s because fence posts are set in a concrete footing that is usually at least two feet deep in the ground.
You could dig it out, but that takes too long. Have you ever dug 2′ deep hole before? If you have hard-packed or rocky soil, even digging down 6″ challenges most people.
But, luckily for you, you aren’t the first person to come across such a challenge.
Maybe you are looking to replace the fence post with a new one (most common). If so, then consider using this method to simply repair the broken post.
Or, maybe you are just looking to get rid of a fence all together. Either way, the process to remove that old post and concrete footing is exactly the same – and in this post, I’ll show you exactly how to do it the easy way.
The following method is my favorite because it:
- requires very little digging
- doesn’t require super expensive tools
- works everywhere, and in any type of soil.
Let’s Start With The Tools You’ll Need
- 48″ High-Lift Jack
- Steel Chain (3′-6′ in length) (Get at local hardware store)
- Slip hook (for the chain) (Get at local hardware store)
- Grab hook (also for the chain) (Get at local hardware store)
- Steel digging bar (only needed if you have hard packed or rocky soil)
Step #1 – Dig around the post until 3-4″ of the concrete footing are exposed
Start out by digging a whole about 3′ in diameter around the post. Often, you’ll find the wider the hole you make the easier the rest of the process will be – even the digging will be easier.
You don’t need to dig down far, just enough so you can wrap a chain around the concrete footing. Usually that’s about 6″ deep.
Step #2 – Wrap a chain around the concrete footing of the fence post
Now, take your steel chain and wrap it around the concrete, using the slip hook to connect the chain. You’ll also want to pull the chain so it sits snug around the concrete.
You should now have a “tail” on the end of the chain of about 12″ in length with the grab hook on the end of it. If not, you either need a longer chain, or you need to adjust the length of the one you have by moving the slip hook to another link.
Step #3 – Connect the chain to the High-Lift Jack
Now, wrap the tail of the chain around the nose of the high lift jack. Then, use the grab hook to latch the chain to itself and lock it around the high-lift jack.
You’ll want to push the chain as close to the base of the jack as possible so it doesn’t pull the jack forward or slip off once you start jacking it up.
Step #4 – Crank the lever on the high-lift jack to lift the concrete out of the ground
Use one hand to keep the jack upright and stable, and the other hand to operate the lever. As you start to put tension on the chain, you’ll notice the jack wanting to lean forward toward the post. That’s ok, but you’ll want to try and limit this as much as possible. If it leans to0 far forward, you might need to reset it, adjust your jack a bit, and try again – potentially from a different angle.
In most cases the post will pop right out. If you’re in very hard or rocky soil, then consider using a hose to get the soil wet. This will allow the post to be extracted quite a bit easier. Wet soil can make digging easier as well.
And that’s it!
I’ve personally used this method to remove at least 30 different fence posts in my area where we have extremely rocky and hard packed soil. It’s always nice to know I have a fail proof method that works with little digging and basic tools.
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