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How to Remove Fence Post Concrete without Digging

Learn how to remove fence post concrete with ease with just one tool (and no, it's not a jackhammer or shovel!)

how to remove fence post concrete without digging

When we bought our house, one of the first things we did was replace the old, rotting deck. The new stairs were in a different configuration, and the contractor left this lovely concrete footer in the ground from the old stairs.

concrete footer with metal bracket sticking out

I can't tell you how many times I've tripped over that metal piece sticking out into the sidewalk! 😡 I put off dealing with it for years, but now I'm building an enclosed bike shed in this spot, and the footer is in the way.

location for new bike shed with concrete footer in the way

I originally thought I would just work around it, but the metal part is still an issue. I just need to suck it up and pull it out!

Luckily, it turned out to be a LOT easier than I expected! All you need is the right tool to remove concrete posts in minutes. This method could also be used if you need to replace a fence post or panel.

Don't want to replace a wobbly fence post? Check out how I fixed my leaning fence without ripping it out or pouring more concrete!

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Rent or buy a farm jack

All you need to remove fence post concrete is a high lift farm jack and a short length of tow chain or strap. I was planning to buy this one from Harbor Freight, then immediately sell it on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace when I was done.

screenshot of Harbor Freight website page of the 48 inch farm jack

Then I remembered that our neighborhood has an amazing tool library where you can rent equipment like this for just a few dollars! I was able to pick up this EXACT farm jack, plus a chain, for a whopping $8.

Just Google "tool library" and your zipcode to see if there's one near you!

Remove soil from the top of the concrete

Ok, so maybe there's a little bit of digging involved here, but not much! Just remove enough of the soil so you uncover the top of the concrete. This will make it easier to see what you're working with.

If you don't have a metal part of the post like I do, you'll have to dig a little further to find where the concrete narrows. This will give you something to wrap the chain around without it slipping off.

dirt around concrete fence post removed

Wrap the chain

Once you've located a good spot to pull from, wrap the tow chain around it, leaving some length at the tail end with the hook.

chain wrapped around concrete post

Place the jack right next to the post concrete. If you're working on soft ground, you may want to place it on a board that will distribute the load better and won't sink down.

Wrap the end of the chain around the jack, and secure it in place with the hook through one of the links. Raise the jack up a few clicks until the chain is taut.

Ratchet the jack up to remove the concrete

I'll admit, I was a little nervous/doubtful that this would work. But after a few pulls on the jack handle, I could start to see some movement!

concrete post raised with a farm jack

As the load increased, the jack started to tip forward. Keep one foot on the base to keep it upright.

jack tipping forward under the weight of the concrete

It only took a few more pulls to pop the entire thing out! I can't believe how easy it was (and how shallow that concrete footer was, yikes!)

concrete post footer pulled out without digging

The area under the stairs will be closed up once the bike shed is installed, so I just rolled the concrete in there. Now I could make a level base for the shed, without having to work around that stupid pillar!

base for bike shed made with bricks, with concrete post footer under the stairs

I hope this tutorial helped save you from the back-breaking work of digging out fence post concrete by hand! It was so much easier to lift it out this way, and you could get an entire line of them done in a fraction of the time and effort!