4 Ways to Move an Existing Fence Post (Step-by-Step)

Renovating a house or a farm is a lot of work, especially when the yard also needs to be renovated. A common yard renovation for both houses and farms is moving or replacing the fence. This leads many people to wonder whether a fence post can be moved.

Can you move a fence post? Fence posts can be moved and reset into soil or cement by digging up the posts with hand tools, using a front-end loader on a tractor, or using a car jack and chain. Fence posts that have been set in soil are much easier to move than fence posts set in cement.

What is the process for moving a fence post? Continue reading to be fully prepared and knowledgeable on the process of moving a fence post.

Before Moving the Fence Post

There are a number of different reasons why you may want to move a fence post, or possibly an entire fence. Before getting into your work boots, it is important to be prepared. There may be some important factors that will prevent you from moving the fence post.

Check with your Neighborhood HOA (Home Owners Association)

If you moved into a house where the fence is a couple of feet from the wall, you will most likely want to move that fence back. This allows you to take advantage of the full yard and property you own. Before you begin the renovations, it is important to learn the reason why the fence is set that far away from the property. On a forum where people are sharing their experiences with moving fences, one person shared their experience with HOA.

They mentioned that their daughter lived in a neighborhood with an HOA that prevents homeowners from placing a fence within ten feet of the public sidewalk. They also mentioned that some areas have zoning requirements. These zoning requirements may prevent homeowners from building fences of a certain height and location near a public sidewalk or road.

To read the forum, click here to be directed to the website.

Always check with the HOA and the city engineers at city hall before making drastic changes to the exterior of your home or your yard. This will help you avoid fines or other consequences.

How to Move a Fence Post

There are a couple of different tactics that can be used to remove fence posts that have been set in soil. Because soil dries solid and doesn’t cost much, a lot of fences have been set in the soil to save money. Soil-set fence posts are a lot easier to remove than concrete-set fence posts. If your fence posts were set in soil, you are in luck with the renovation process.

Method 1: The Rocking Method

This only works if there is enough give in the soil. The benefit of using this method is there are very few tools needed to complete the process. The downside is if the soil is too firm or if the posts are too deep in the soil, it will be a lot of work to get them out. This method mainly relies on physical strength. Personal protective gear such as gloves, glasses, and possibly a helmet should be worn in case of an emergency or accident.

Once the wooden fence posts have been removed and the iron post is on its own, you can begin the process of “rocking”. This can either be done with one person or two.

  1. Rock the post side to side. Grab the fence post and firmly pull it side to side, loosening the soil at the base.
  2. Remove the post. Once the soil has been loosened enough for the post to be safely pulled out, remove the post.
  3. Use a shovel as necessary. For particularly firm soil or deeply placed fence posts, use a shovel to dig around the top layer of the soil to help with the loosening process. This should help enough to allow the “rocking” method to complete the rest of the work.

One man shared his experience with the “rocking” method on a forum about removing fence posts. He shared how he suggests others use it, as it is simple and effective. To view the forum and read other responses, click here.

Method 2: Digging Method

While digging can be done to aid most of the fence-removal methods, it can also be done on its own to successfully remove them. Before starting, ensure you have the proper equipment for the process. This includes a shovel, gloves, and another person. Depending on the soil type that is holding the fence post, you may need other tools to get it out.

  1. Begin by removing the other fence posts that can easily be extracted. With the freed-up space, it should be easier to dig out the metal post holding the fence together.
  2. Dig around the area of the post. While digging, ensure that the soil is not getting too loose and will fall on you. Having another person helping is great when the soil needs to be dug a little more, but the post is about to fall out.
  3. Continue digging the area around the post. Avoid digging too far away, there is no need to dig up the whole yard.
  4. While digging, occasionally shake the post around to see if it is loose enough to remove. This will not only help to loosen the soil and help the digger but also will prevent the post from suddenly breaking free and falling on the people who are digging.
  5. Use a pick as necessary. For posts that are stuck in very firm soil, a pick may come in handy to break up the soil. While this is not necessary, it could come in handy when you’re trying to remove the post.

This is definitely a method that should be done while wearing a helmet. It is better to be safe than sorry.

One of the biggest drawbacks to digging up a fence post is the time it takes. There is a lot of effort and time that goes into each fence post that needs to be removed. Because of this, it is best to use this method as your backup plan. Try to find a quicker and easier way to remove the posts.

Method 3: Using a Tractor and a Chain

On a forum filled with personal experience in removing fence posts, one person shared this idea.

If you own or are able to borrow/ rent a tractor with a front-end loader, this is a great method to use. You also need a high-quality steel chain that is strong enough to pull out the post without breaking (around 3-6 inches). This requires very little physical effort, so it is nice to use if you do not want to perform manual labor in your yard.

Before operating a tractor, make. sure you know how to properly use the functions and drive it. If not, have someone who is more experienced and confident in their tractor-operating skills take the driver’s seat.

  1. Begin by digging a small area around the post. This will help to remove some of the soil to quickly and effectively pull out the fence post.
  2. Secure the chain. After digging, tightly wrap the chain around the post, ensuring it won’t slip off.
  3. Lift the post using a front-end loader. Using the tractor with the front-end loader, lift the post out of the ground from the chain that is wrapped around it. This should be easy to do.

A word of caution: Do not apply too much from the tractor or the post could suddenly break free and fly out. To view the forum, click here to be directed to the site.

Method 4: Using a Jack and a Chain

On the same forum from the above method, someone mentioned how they have removed fences before using a jack and chain. This is convenient for those who do not have access to a tractor.

Before engaging in any of these removal methods, ensure you understand how to complete the process without injuring yourself or others. To remove fence posts using this method, you will need a shovel, gloves, a high lift jack, and a strong steel chain (around 3-6 inches).

  1. Dig up the around the top of the post. Begin by digging up the top level of the soil to loosen it.
  2. Attach the chain securely to the post. You should then wrap the chain around the post. Ensure that the chain is secure on the post and will be able to withstand the force of the jack.
  3. Connect the chain to the jack. If the chain does not already have hooks, you have to purchase some grab hooks to connect the chain to the jack.
  4. Jack up the fence post out of the soil. Once it is connected, begin cracking the jack to lift the pole out of the soil.
  5. Remove the fence post. Once it is high enough up, simply pull out the fence post.

To view the forum, click here to be directed to the site.

VIDEO: Where to Postition the New Fence Footings

See the video below for another popular method that professionals use for moving fence posts. This is called the “auger” method. It simply involves strategically repositioning the concrete footings.

Additional Considerations if the Fence Post is Set in Concrete

Setting a fence post in concrete is the most secure way to build a fence. This ensures that the post will stay in place despite the forces of weather and time. The thing about concrete fence posts is it is very difficult to remove them. It takes a lot more effort than removing fence posts that have been set in soil. With this being said, there are different ways to remove these posts, despite the challenge they present.

Many of the methods used to remove a fence post from soil can also be used to remove fence posts set in concrete, but they require more effort and extra steps. Continue reading below to learn how to specifically remove fence posts that have been set in concrete. Refer to the previous section to find proper materials and other tips and tricks for each method.

Digging Method

As mentioned previously, the digging method is effective but takes forever. There is a lot of work that goes into digging out a concrete-set fence post. You will have to begin by digging out the dirt that is close to the post, and slowly go further out. It is important to remember that the hole you dig has to be wide enough to pull out the concrete at the bottom. You will have to dig all the way down to the bottom of the concrete.

As you get closer to the concrete at the bottom, widen the hole to allow the concrete and the fence post to be pulled out. This method should be completed with two people.

Using a Tractor and a Chain

Pulling out a concrete-set fence post using a tractor is much easier than simply digging the whole thing up. Begin by digging up the earth around the fence post until you can see the top of the concrete. Make sure you dig enough to thoroughly wrap the chain around the post. Once the chain is wrapped around the concrete stub, lift using the tractor. The tractor should do all the work and easily lift the concrete-set fence post out of the earth.

Using a Jack and a Chain

Similar to using a tractor, removing a concrete-set fence post using a jack and chain requires you to dig the earth around the fence post. Dig until enough of the concrete stub has surfaced to thoroughly wrap the chain around. Once the chain is wrapped around the concrete, connect the chain to the jack using the grab hooks. Begin using the jack to lift the concrete stub with the fence post out of the earth. Once enough of the concrete is out, you will be able to successfully remove it from the hole.

Consider Tearing Down and Rebuilding

While it is completely possible to move fence posts, it is a lot of work. Before starting the long process, it is smart to consider what the final product will look like. If the fence posts you are moving are old, some may not make it through the process, depending on their condition and how careful you are when handling them.

While fence posts set in concrete can certainly be removed and relocated, it is a lot of work. Weigh all of your options before getting into the process. It can be frustrating to put in all the time and effort into the project, only for it to turn out like a disaster that needs to be redone once again.

Fence Frenzy

We at Fence Frenzy absolutely love taking on the challenge of building, or even restoring, a fence. Especially elaborate and exotic fence designs that really make us scratch our heads! We're happy to share everything we've learned with you.

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