Step-by-Step Guide: Removing Concrete-Set Fence Posts Effectively

So you’ve got a fence post set in concrete that you need to remove. Maybe it’s damaged, or you’re looking to revamp your backyard. Whatever the reason, it’s not as daunting as it seems! With the right tools and a bit of elbow grease, you’ll have that post out in no time.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the situation at hand. Inspect the landscape, the fence post condition, the concrete footing, before you chalk out a removal plan. This helps minimize damage during the procedure.
  • Draw out a list of necessary equipment. This includes a shovel, a sledgehammer, heavy-duty gloves, an iron digging bar, a reciprocating saw or handsaw, bolt cutter, and a wheelbarrow or a heavy-duty garden cart.
  • Proceed carefully during the removal. Start by digging around the post with a shovel, cut off roots if necessary, and expose the concrete base. Subsequently, with the help of your tools, gradually loosen the post from the concrete footing.
  • To remove the post, make use of a reciprocating saw or handsaw to cut through roots. Leverage an iron digging bar under the concrete base to lift and loosen it. Continually reassess and adjust your approach until the post is entirely free to be removed.
  • After the post removal, check the hole for any remaining concrete or roots that might interfere with your next installation. Ensure a clean extraction for a smooth follow up.
  • Finalize the process with diligent clean up, concrete filling, and responsible waste disposal. Oversee proper recycling of the old fence post, and be prepared for the subsequent step of new fence post installation.

Removing concrete-set fence posts can be a challenging task, but with the right tools and techniques, it can be done efficiently. The Handyman Startup provides a detailed guide on using a high-lift jack to carefully extract the post and its concrete base without excessive digging or damage to the surrounding area. For those looking for a less labor-intensive method, wikiHow offers a step-by-step approach that includes using a jackhammer to break up the concrete footing, making the removal process smoother. Additionally, instructional videos on YouTube demonstrate various techniques to remove fence posts, accommodating different scenarios and equipment availability.

Assessing the Situation

Before you jump right in, it’s essential to do a thorough inspection of the fence post and its setting. The concrete footprint, the condition of the post, and the surrounding area will influence your strategy.

The type of concrete footing and its installation can drastically affect your removal approach. Older concrete footings may be easier to deal with, as years of weathering could have weakened the bond. However, modern concrete footings often have steel or iron rebar reinforcements, turning the removal process into a formidable task.

Regarding the condition of the post, observe whether it’s rotting, broken, or firm. A rotting or weakened post might require a gentler approach to prevent further damage if you plan to reuse it. On the flip side, a sturdy post can withstand more force during extraction.

Lastly, account for the environment around the post. Delicate landscaping, other structures, or utility lines can limit the techniques you choose. It’d be best if you were careful to avoid causing collateral damage or making the situation murkier.

It’s understandable that all these variables might make your job seem daunting, but remember, every problem has a solution. These observations merely shape your plan of attack, providing you an insightful guide to remove the fence post set in concrete. You’ll tailor your strategy based on the information gathered here.

In the following sections, you’ll see a step-by-step guide to tackle this task, considering all the variables discussed. You’ll grasp how to make the job manageable, ensuring a smooth removal process.

Gathering the Necessary Tools

Before embarking on your fence post removal journey, it’s critical to gather all the necessary tools. Equip yourself with the right arsenal can make the difference between a smooth, efficient process and a day filled with struggle.

Start with the basics: a shovel, a sledgehammer, and a pair of heavy-duty gloves. It’s common to find varying soil hardness around the fence post, making the shovel an essential tool. The sledgehammer will be indispensable when it comes to breaking up the concrete footing. And the gloves, well, they’re there to protect your hands during this hands-on task.

For those hard-to-reach posts or when dealing with tougher concrete, an iron digging bar may be your secret weapon. It’s especially beneficial when you’ve to dig around the fence post, and the shovel won’t quite cut it. The sharp, flat edge will help you break through those stubborn roots or compacted soil patches.

If you’re dealing with a rotten or severely damaged post, consider using a reciprocating saw or a handsaw. These will help you cut the post into manageable pieces, making your task a tad bit easier.

And let’s not forget the wheelbarrow or a heavy-duty garden cart. These will be lifesavers when you have to move the concrete chunks and the old fence post away from the site.

One more thing. In case you’re dealing with reinforced concrete that has metal bars in it, having a bolt cutter at your disposal can tackle that issue.

Now that we’ve covered your tool checklist, keep in mind that this is a fairly intensive task. It’s advised to keep some drinkable water nearby to stay hydrated during the process.

Loosening the Post

Now that you have all those necessary tools at your disposal, it’s time to get down to the real challenge: Loosening the fence post. This process can be meticulous, but exercising patience can help prevent damage to neighboring posts and make the work easier for you.

Your first step is to assess the situation about how deeply the fence post is embedded in the concrete. How deep is the post? The answer to that question can affect your approach. Should it be too deep, you might need to dig around it until more than half the post is exposed.

Start by digging around the fence post with a shovel. You’ll want to remove enough soil to expose the concrete footing, but be careful not to damage any utility lines or sprinkler systems that might be hidden underground. Create a workspace wide enough to maneuver your tools comfortably. This could mean going two feet out from the fence post, depending on the circumstances.

Sometimes, if the concrete footing is too large or there are too many roots intertwined, a reciprocating saw or a handsaw might come in handy. Aggressively remove the roots and cut them off using bolt cutters.

After exposing the concrete base, leverage your iron digging bar. Jam it under the concrete and push it down hard to loosen it. This will work best if the bar is pressed against something solid like a large rock or a heavy piece of wood to provide leverage. But remember, the more force you apply, the greater the risk to the fence post, so try to balance strength with due care.

During this process, keeping yourself hydrated is essential. Even though you’re working hard, don’t forget to take quick breaks every so often to drink water. Staying hydrated is as crucial as using the right tools for the task at hand.

Ultimately, careful, mindful work is key to loosening the fence post from its stubborn concrete base.

Removing the Post

Now that you’ve exposed the concrete footing of your fence post and loosened around it, it’s time for the next steps. Patience is key here so don’t rush.

A reciprocating saw or handsaw comes in handy at this juncture. You’ll utilize this tool to cut through the roots if they’re entwined with the concrete block. Remember to be careful not to damage the post.

Once the roots are all sorted out, it’s time to wrestle with the concrete. An iron digging bar proves useful for this task. Insert it beneath the concrete base. Use it as a lever to lift and loosen the concrete.

Be mindful that the concrete probably may not pop out in one go. You may have to reposition the bar multiple times around the footing to loosen it enough.

Repeat the levering process until the concrete footing begins to move. If it feels stuck, you might have to dig further to uncover more of the concrete buried beneath the ground.

No doubt, it’s a lot of back and forth and a bit messy. But, remember—no pain, no gain!

Once it’s loosened, pull out the post. You may need assistance to do this, especially if it’s a particularly stubborn case.

After you pull out the post, check the hole for any remaining concrete or roots. You don’t want these interfering with your next fence post installation.

Now you’ve successfully removed the post. With this knowledge, you can tackle any backyard fencing project with confidence. Whether you’re looking to replace a worn-out fence, or you’re installing a new one to refresh your outdoor space, you’re on your way to becoming a fencing pro!

This might seem like a tiring task. But it’s also rewarding. It gives you a sense of accomplishment and helps you feel more in tune with your property.

As you dive into your post-removal task, don’t forget to hydrate. It’s crucial to keep your energy levels up throughout the process.

Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. And neither is a fence post removed. So, stay patient, stay dedicated, and follow the instructions diligently.

Filling the Hole and Clean-Up

After successfully removing the fence post, the next step of your DIY fencing project is filling the hole and cleaning up. A crucial step, so let’s dive right in.

Getting your hands dirty to fill the hole is your best bet towards reinforcing the fence’s structural stability. Begin with the key step of inspecting the hole. Check for any remaining concrete or roots that could interfere with your new installation. If you spot any, grab your trusty handsaw and make sure those remnants are a thing of the past.

Having a clean, cleared hole makes sure your new post fits in snugly. Now take your dry concrete mix and add water as per the specified ratio. Stir that up good to a thick, gritty consistency ideal for a strong anchor.

Remember, pour the mixed concrete into the hole until it’s level with the ground. Your main aim is to eliminate any void spaces that may compromise the fence’s structural integrity.

Now comes the clean up time. It reflects well on your DIY project to leave the worksite clean and tidy. Dispose of the old fence post responsibly, because recycling is not just beneficial; it’s your civic responsibility. All debris and leftover materials must find their way into the garbage bag, so the fence’s aesthetics are not compromised.

Also, you can use the remaining concrete mix for any future mini DIY projects. Look online, you’ll find hundreds of innovative ways to recycle unused concrete.

Even during this process, don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated. Persistence and diligence rule the day when dealing with home improvement. Carry on with the next steps of installing the new fence post and prepping the area for attaching the fences. Stay focused, and keep on going.


You’ve done it! You’ve successfully navigated the process of removing a fence post set in concrete. Remember, the job isn’t over once the post is out. It’s crucial to inspect the hole for leftover concrete or roots and fill it with a fresh concrete mix. Be meticulous in this process, ensuring no void spaces are left. After all, the strength of your new fence post depends on it. Don’t forget the importance of a clean worksite – responsibly dispose of old materials and recycle what you can. It’s not just about the task at hand, but also about respecting your environment. Stay hydrated, keep up the persistence, and maintain diligence. You’re now ready to move on to the next steps – installing the new fence post and attaching the fences. You’ve got this!

Why is it important to inspect and clean the hole after removing a fence post?

After fence post removal, inspecting and cleaning the hole are crucial steps to make sure no remaining concrete or roots are left, which may hinder your attempt to install the new fence post.

How to fill the hole after post removal?

Filling the hole requires careful preparation. The use of a concrete mix is recommended to guarantee the structural stability of subsequent installation. It’s important to fill in all void spaces to prevent any future compromise of your fence.

Why is cleaning up the worksite essential?

Cleaning up post-project isn’t just about neatness. Responsible disposal of old materials and recycling unused concrete lowers the environmental impact and prepares the area for future tasks.

What are the key reminders during the DIY project?

Remember to stay hydrated during your DIY tasks. Persistence and diligence are required throughout the project. The next stages involve installing the new fence post and attaching the fences, so being well-prepared and methodical makes the process smoother.