How To Dig Out Old Concrete Fence Posts?


Old concrete fence posts can be a real pain in the backyard, literally and figuratively. They’re stubborn, unrelenting, and seem to have an uncanny ability to withstand even the most determined efforts to remove them. But fear not, my fellow homeowners! In this handy guide, you’ll learn the tricks of the trade when it comes to digging out those old concrete fence posts like a seasoned pro.

Assessing the Situation

Before you grab your shovel and go all Jack Nicholson on that concrete post (cue “Here’s Johnny!”), take a moment to assess the situation at hand. Are you dealing with a single post or multiple ones? Is there any foliage around that might impede your progress? How deep are these pesky posts buried underground? Knowing what you’re up against will help you better strategize your attack plan.

Understanding Concrete Types

Concrete is as diverse as snowflakes, except it’s not pretty and doesn’t melt away with time. When it comes to old fence posts, understanding the type of concrete used will give you an advantage. There are two common types: precast and poured-in-place. Precast concrete posts tend to be more durable but are also heavier than their counterparts.

Tools of The Trade

Now that we’ve established some groundwork knowledge, let’s talk about tools. Remember my motto: “Ain’t no digging without proper jigging!” Here are some essential tools you’ll need for this rugged endeavor:

  • Shovel: The humble shovel shall be your closest ally in this gritty battle.
  • Post-hole digger: A specific tool designed for creating holes? Yes Please!
  • Sledgehammer: For those moments when finesse just won’t cut it.
  • Digging bar: Sometimes called a “tamper” because who doesn’t love those Tamper Tuesdays?
  • Jackhammer: For the brave souls who prefer brawn over brain.
  • Bolt cutters: When all else fails, sometimes brute force is the answer.

Prepare for Battle

Now that you have your arsenal of tools lined up like soldiers on a mission, it’s time to prepare for battle. Here are some steps to get you ready:

Safety First!

Remember, concrete doesn’t play nice. It can be sharp, heavy, and downright unfriendly. So make sure you’re well-equipped with protective gear before taking on those stubborn posts:

  • Steel-toed boots
  • Gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask

Better safe than sorry!

Clear The Area

Make sure the area around the fence posts is clear of any obstructions like bushes or flower beds. You don’t want your green thumb turning into a black eye during this process.

Locate Underground Utilities

Before digging away like a mad scientist unearthing buried treasure, take the time to locate any underground utilities such as gas lines or electrical wires. Hitting one of these could lead to an unplanned disco inferno in your backyard.

Secure Permits (If Needed)

Some municipalities may require permits for removing old fence posts due to potential hazards and messes that may arise during excavation. Check with your local authorities before embarking on this daring adventure.

Digging In: The Main Event!

Watch out world! It’s time to put those muscles (and brains) to good use and show those old concrete fence posts who’s boss! Follow these steps for maximum efficiency and minimal frustration:

  1. Expose – Start by uncovering as much of the post as possible. Remove any loose debris or dirt around it using a shovel or digging bar.
  2. Breakage Brigade – If dealing with precast concrete posts, give them a few good whacks with a sledgehammer to shatter them into manageable pieces. Think of it as a concrete piñata party!
  3. Unearth – Using a shovel or post-hole digger, start digging around the post at an angle to create a trench. This will give you better access and leverage when it’s time to pry the post out.
  4. Wiggle It, Just A Little Bit – Once you’ve dug deep enough, insert a digging bar or tamper under the post and wiggle it back and forth to loosen the surrounding soil.
  5. The Great Extraction – With all your might (and maybe some colorful language), push down on the handle of your shovel or pry bar while simultaneously lifting upward on the post. This combination of forces should free the stubborn obstacle from its subterranean prison.

Repeat these steps for each individual concrete fence post until victory is yours!

Aftermath: Cleaning Up Your Mess

Congratulations! You’ve successfully liberated those old concrete fence posts from their earthly entrapment. But wait just a moment before popping that celebratory bottle of champagne or sparkling cider:

Fill The Void

Now that those unsightly posts are gone, you’ll be left with empty holes in your yard akin to missing teeth in a smiley face emoji (not as cute though). Fill those voids with fresh soil or cement mix, tamp it down firmly, and make everything look spick and span again.

Assess Any Damage

Inspect nearby structures such as retaining walls or other fencing panels for any damage caused during extraction. If repairs are needed, consult with professionals to ensure everything is restored properly.

Rejoice & Reward Yourself

Take a step back, admire your handiwork, and revel in this triumphant moment. You earned it! Treat yourself to something nice—a cozy hammock for future relaxed afternoons perhaps? Bask in the satisfaction of completing this challenging feat.

Removing old concrete fence posts may seem like an arduous task, but armed with the right knowledge and tools, you can conquer even the most stubborn adversaries. Remember to assess the situation, prepare for battle with proper safety gear, and execute your extraction plan with finesse. With a little sweat, determination, and maybe a few sore muscles along the way, you’ll emerge victorious in your quest to dig out those old concrete fence posts!

So go forth brave homeowner! Duke it out with those obstinate posts and reclaim your backyard kingdom once and for all.

Happy digging!

FAQ: How To Dig Out Old Concrete Fence Posts?

Q: What tools do I need to dig out old concrete fence posts?
A: To dig out old concrete fence posts, you’ll need a few essential tools such as a shovel, post hole digger, pry bar, sledgehammer, and possibly an angle grinder.

Q: Can I reuse the old concrete once the fence posts are removed?
A: Yes, once you’ve successfully dug out the old concrete fence posts, you can reuse the concrete in various ways. It can be repurposed for small landscaping projects or used as fill material elsewhere on your property.

Q: How deep should I dig around the concrete fence post before removing it?
A: It’s crucial to dig around the entire perimeter of the concrete fence post until you reach its full depth. Typically, this depth ranges from 24 to 36 inches, ensuring stability and proper removal.

Q: What is the best technique to remove a stubborn concrete fence post?
A: If a concrete fence post proves challenging to remove, using an angle grinder with a diamond cutting wheel can help create notches on opposite sides of the post. This will weaken it and facilitate easier removal using other tools like a pry bar or sledgehammer.

Q: How can I make digging easier if the soil is compacted around the old concrete fence posts?
A: Compact soil can make digging difficult. You may consider wetting the soil surrounding the area before digging or renting equipment like an electric jackhammer or auger that helps break up any compacted soil more easily.

Q: Is there any safety precaution I should take while digging out old concrete fence posts?
A: Absolutely! Safety should always come first. When working with heavy tools like pry bars and sledgehammers, wear protective gear including gloves, steel-toe boots, safety goggles, and a helmet. Be cautious of potential underground utilities to avoid accidents.

Q: How long does it typically take to remove an old concrete fence post?
A: The time required for removing an old concrete fence post can vary depending on factors like size, depth, soil conditions, and tools used. On average, it may take several hours to half a day or more for complete removal.

Q: What should I do if I encounter any challenges while digging out the concrete fence posts?
A: If you face difficulties during the process or encounter unforeseen obstacles like large rocks or tree roots around the posts, it’s advisable to seek professional help from experienced contractors who specialize in such tasks.

Remember that safety is of utmost importance during any DIY project involving heavy-duty tools and materials. Always exercise caution and reach out for expert assistance when needed!