How is an old fence removed?


How we remove old fencing.

This can be fun if you enjoy tearing things up ! The two most common fence types in these parts are wood privacy and galvanized chain link.

Let’s start with the chain link.

The chain link fabric is fastened to the frame by aluminum wire ties spaced along the top rail and posts. All of these need to be snipped so as to free the fabric. At the terminal points (ends and corners), fabric can be cut with pliers or bolt cutters. Allow fabric to lay flat then cut at fifty foot sections or smaller to roll up and transport. This is a relatively easy process…unless nature has been aggressive with saplings, vines and roots.

From here the tear out can be a slow go unless it’s possible to use the “Red Neck Rip Out” method. If you’re able to get your pick up or tractor alongside the fence with the fabric, you can hook on with a chain at one end and peel the chain link back toward the other end. If there’s no room to get the big guns in place you will have to pull the fabric free by hand. Loppers, chain saw and or sawzall will come in handy. You may even need a long pry bar. Using a cable jack (aka come-along) is a possibility if a sturdy tree is in a good position.

After the fabric is clear, lift the top rail off of the posts. Rail should come apart in 20ft sections. With the posts you have two options: cut them off or pull them out. Unless you must have the exact same spot as for a gate to be rebuilt in the same place, I see no reason for pulling the post. You end up with a hole to fill in and a chunk of concrete to dispose of. The most common procedure used by professionals is to cut the post just below grade then move over a few inches to set the new post.

Now for the wood panel.

Wood panel constructed fence can be a fairly quick tear out. If the distance is not too far, 6’X8’ panels can be carried by two people from site to truck/trailer. 2X4 back rail can be cut away from posts with a sawzall or chain saw but I find that a tap with a sledge hammer works just as well. Same as the chain link posts, I see no reason for pulling unless for a specific purpose. Just cut post a bit below grade then move over a few inches for the new setting.


Most fence material being removed has exhausted any useful purpose. Wood goes to the land fill and metal can be sold for scrap. However if the fence is in good to even “fair” condition, someone may be interested in buying it or maybe even removing it for free. Many times I have posted a picture on Craigslist and had the material sold before my crew could get it on the trailer.

If you’re a Do It Yourselfer, be sure to check out the tips on how to build specific types of fence on my other blog entries. I’m available to answer questions Monday thru Friday 8a-5p.

Robert Cervantez 918-857-6310