The removal of an old fence no matter how old it is can be a painful process. Often the old posts can be rotten if timber and very difficult to remove. Sometimes they can be heavily concreted in, and footings can often be 2-3-foot-deep into the ground. Removal of posts can be time-consuming and takes a good strategy, which will also depend on the type of fence being removed and what is replacing it.
Can You Dig It?
If you really wanted to dig it, feel free to go ahead, however, there are many far better ways to remove a fence post than just digging. Have you ever tried to dig a 3-foot-deep hole? If you know anything about the ground you walk on, it is not something you choose to dig that deep into without some consequences like blisters, a sore back and a whole lot of wasted time. The soil around your fence was most likely packed very hard to allow the existing fence to stay in place for decades, so digging with a shovel and not much else will be one of the most difficult ways.
What Are You Digging For?
Depending on whether you are completely removing your fence posts to replace the entire fence or whether you are just replacing a single post can be the difference between the methods you use. It may well be worth the effort to dig out one single post if that is all you plan on doing however if you intend on replacing the entire fence you should look at some other (less strenuous) ways to get the results.
No matter the reason you are digging you need to make sure you choose the method that uses as little physical labor as possible, especially if you are digging more than one post. You might be able to hire the tools for the job locally, or you might know someone that has some you can borrow.
To begin with, you will at least need a shovel, a digging bar or crowbar, some steel chain, a high lift jack (or an engine crane), a slip hook and a grab hook for the chain. If you choose to go one step further and get serious, you can hire powered digging tools like jackhammers and other similar machines that can get through touch ground.
Follow These Steps
Dig around the post so that the footings are exposed and clear an area around the footings. The wider the hole is, the easier it will be to get the post out. You don’t need to dig that far down, just far enough that you can get the chain wrapped solidly around the footings.
Next, wrap the chain around the concrete footing, using the slip hook to connect it. Make it as tight as you can.
Next, connect the chain to your high-lift jack using the grab hook. From here, it should be a straightforward job raising the jack with a little help from the digging bar. Just like lifting an engine out of a car, the high-lift jack will do all the hard work for you; it may just need a little persuading to loosen the footings up.
If it sounds like too much of a job for you to handle by yourself, it may pay to hire a professional fencing company to do the job for you.