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How to Remove a Chain-Link Fence

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Well, the saying goes that good fences make good neighbors. But your neighbors might disagree if you’ve got a beat-up, chain-link fence circling your property.

    How to Remove a Chain-Link FenceTOM: True. Chain-link fences might be functional but they leave a lot to be desired in the looks department. If your home’s worn-out fence has overstayed its welcome, it might be time to get rid of it. To find out how to do just that, we welcome Roger Cook, the landscaping contractor for This Old House.

    Welcome, Roger.

    ROGER: Thanks for having me.

    TOM: So, this sounds like more of a demolition job. What does it take to get rid of a chain-link fence?

    ROGER: Well, you know what I say all the time: “Before you have construction, you’ve got to have destruction. And destruction is fun.”

    TOM: Yeah, absolutely. So, the first part of that destruction is probably pulling out the chain link. I would imagine that’s easier.

    ROGER: It is. A pair of pliers and a socket set and you can undo all the nuts and bolts and then cut the wire that’s hanging the fence onto the rails. And you can just roll it right up.

    TOM: Roll it up and get it out. And then we get into the post issue and that’s where it really starts to get difficult.

    ROGER: Right. All the posts in this fence are going to have concrete holding them in the ground. The line posts, the ones in between the corners or terminal posts, will have the least amount of concrete. The terminal or corner posts have a lot of concrete, because they’re the soldiers that are holding this fence up.

    LESLIE: So what do you do? Just wiggle things back and forth or …?

    ROGER: In the line posts, if you dig around the concrete and then start wiggling, sometimes you can just pop it out of the ground like a bad tooth.


    ROGER: Other times, we’ll tie a rope on it and two guys will pull on it and it’ll pop out. But that’s not so with the terminal ones. They have a lot of concrete around them.

    There’s a couple things you can do. You can either try taking an iron bar or a chisel and breaking the concrete off or you could come in with a Dingo or a Bobcat and try to pull them on. But that might make a mess of the yard so, sometimes, we actually would just cut them off and leave them.

    TOM: Now, that’s OK if you’re not going to put a new fence in. Otherwise, you’re never going to be able to get a fence post back in that same hole.

    ROGER: Well, wait a minute. If you’re going to do a nice, new fence, why not use the post you already have in the ground and save yourself a lot of time and effort? You could paint those with Rust-Oleum or a product black and get a black, chain-link fence and put that up.

    TOM: Yeah, now, I love the black fences because they tend to sort of disappear, especially in the summer or in the spring when you have a lot of green around. You really don’t see them.

    ROGER: Right. And rather than put out and put in new posts, we’re going to just take and paint them black with Rust-Oleum and then just take and put the fence right up again using them.

    TOM: Now, what a great idea.

    Now, what if you want to just leave the old fence but perhaps come up with a very green approach, like planting some sort of a vine against it? Is that an option, as well?

    ROGER: That’s an option as long as the fence is strong enough to support the vine. Some lighters vines that would be great would be like Clematis or maybe a honeysuckle. Fast-growing, quick-growing plants.

    TOM: Great advice. Roger Cook from TV’s This Old House, thank you so much for stopping by The Money Pit.

    ROGER: My pleasure.

    LESLIE: Catch the current season of This Old House and Ask This Old House on PBS. For local listings and step-by-step videos of many common home improvement projects, visit ThisOldHouse.com.

    TOM: And This Old House is brought to you on PBS by Lumber Liquidators. Hardwood floors for less.

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