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Removing Fence Posts Mounted in Cement Footings – DIY Fence Repair

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The best way to remove a fence post installed in a solid concrete base if the wood post is broken off at ground level without digging or using expensive equipment. There are plenty of solutions on the internet that are satisfactory when the fence post is strong and sturdy: use a lever to raise the fence post, excavate a trench at the side of the fence post and push the post out, raise the post using a bumper jack or high lift agriculture jack, or bring in heavy equipment – but each of these methods really doesn’t tackle the common dilemma confronting a home-owner after wind damage – the wood post is snapped off.

All too often the fence post is splintered so there is nothing available above ground that is solid, the base is of unknown dimension and depth, and the fence to be repaired is in a location close to structures that hamper accessibility of a backhoe (not even accounting for the rental expense or the harm they may cause to yards). In the event that only a few fence posts are damaged on a fence, the new posts really need to be set in the very same position – chopping the broken posts off lower than lawn level and installing the replacement wood posts utilizing an off-set is simply not a solution.

Applying a combination of approaches is the best approach – first cut down the hold the ground has on the post by using the Wood Post Puller (a simple engineering solution to the dilemma) and then execute the best lifting technique accessible. Making use of a brute force procedure of lifting concrete is plainly a poor idea; concrete is extremely strong when compressed, but tremendously fragile when pulled – in fact, the tensile strength of concrete is only about 10% of its compressive strength. Pulling the cement out of the ground is very likely to cause dangerous flying chunks as the concrete fractures under the tension.

Fence Post and Concrete Base Removal

Step 1: Remove anything fastened to the wood post and clear the area nearby the post and cement footing.

Step 2: With the water hose attached and water flowing, push the spike tool fully in the ground at the edge of the cement base.

TIP – Attempt to wiggle the post after the initial insertion – any type of shift of the cement base in the ground (even a vibration) will allow the water to force its way alongside the surface of the concrete footing and develop a thin layer of mud. If the fence post is broken try to jam a pry bar into the existing wood post and then push the bar forwards and backwards, or hit the cement footing strongly side to side with a sledgehammer. Now try lifting the fence post and cement footing using the instructions in Step 4 – often the wood post will come right out!

Step 3: Repeat step 2 at uniform locations around the footing – typical fence posts will call for less than 4-6 insertions of the spike tool, but stubborn posts can need the spike tool to be inserted every 2-3 inches until you have encircled the complete cement footing. If you are unable to pull out the fence post and cement base in Step 4, replicate Step 3 at even more locations around the post.

Step 4: [Different lifting methods could be selected] Securely force a pry bar into the cement base at about a 45 degree angle from the soil. Duplicate the arrangement on the opposite side of the cement footing. The closer the pivot is positioned to the footing the more leverage will be utilized. Two 5-6 foot pry bars are excellent but a multitude of various other things could also be applied. Completely insert the spike into the ground right next to the cement footing. With the water turned on completely to the spike, apply even downward force to both pry bars [requires 2 people], lifting the concrete base and post. Do not hurry up this step – permit time for the water to start building hydraulic force on the bottom side of the cement footing and help out on the lift. The water must be on during this action or raising the concrete footing will start building a sucking force pulling the fence post back down.

TIP – If the bars are sinking into the soil, support them with scrap pieces of 4×4, or old fence posts.

TIP – Begin the pry bar position at 45 degrees or less – if they are too vertical the bars will be pressing in opposition to one another and not lifting the cement footing out of the ground.

Step 5: Alternately remove either of the pry bars and reset back again to the 45 degree beginning position – using the other pry bar to hold the concrete footing during the reset. After both pry bars are reset, repeat Steps 4 and 5 until the post is fully removed from the soil.

Caution – the post and cement footing combined are heavy (frequently over 100 pounds)! If the cement footing stays complete you will be able to pull out the post and cement footing as one solid piece, if the cement footing has cracked quite often the pieces may be taken out together due to the fact that the pry bars compress them towards each other like a jigsaw puzzle. Even if the wood post is considerably rotten inside the concrete footing and portions break off they will be simply picked up after removing the main portion – just reach within the soil and peel the damaged cement from the sides of the hole and from the bottom.

Immediately cover or otherwise secure the opening to avoid any unintentional entry or injury.

Given that you have removed the post and cement and have a nice clean hole, don’t duplicate the bad decision by installing your wood post with cement. Excavate a 10 inch hole and set the wood post 1/3 of its length into the ground [a traditional 8 ft wood post should be buried at least 2 1/2 feet]. Use the correct supplies [a treated 4×4 fence post approved for direct burial] and set the fence post with crushed gravel. Put 6 inches of crushed gravel in the bottom of the hole and compress the crushed stone firmly every 2-3 inches as you fill the hole and true the fence post. Using this procedure, your fence should be vertical and sturdy for many years.