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Lawsons are the largest independent timber, building & fencing merchants in London and the South East of England. Established in 1921 Lawsons now have a number of branches offering the complete range of building materials.

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How to Take Down an Old Fence

Before you add a fresh new fence to your home, you’ll need to remove the existing fencing. Even the most dilapidated fence takes some effort to remove, so it’s important that you put time aside to do this and have everything to need to do the job properly.

Who Owns the Fence?

First, make sure you have permission to remove the fence; boundary issues are common between neighbours so you need to see who owns and is responsible for maintaining any fencing before you remove it. In most instances, this can be done with a friendly chat and an explanation that you will be replacing the fence with a newer, more secure version. If you are also planning to dig up fence posts, you may want to get in touch with your local utility companies too – if the fence was installed a long time ago, digging up the posts could cause issues if you don’t know what else is running under your garden.

Removing the Panels

Most old fences only need panels to be replaced – the posts are often still secure and can be used to hang your new panels. Regardless, you will need to start by removing the panels from your fence. It is worth inspecting the wood as you remove it as some of it may be reusable elsewhere in your garden.

There are a few different ways you can strip your fence down; you can use an electric saw to saw the material down and remove it or you can use a hammer to bang out the boards within your fence, pull the nail out, and free the board. Make sure to wear gloves to avoid splinters and be careful when removing each board as there will be nails sticking out of the wood.

If the fence posts are rotten or leaning, you will need to remove and replace these as well. Most fence posts will have concrete footings, so removing them is a challenge and you may need a little help. The two main options are digging the fence post out and levering it out. Digging the fence post out typically means that you will displace a lot of soil, but you will have areas ready to re-pour concrete and replace your posts easily. Levering the post out can take some time, especially since you will need to attach boards to the post to push against, and has a higher risk of injury.

Posts that go directly into the ground are relatively easy to remove and can just be rocked loose from the ground.

If you have never removed a fence yourself, professional help is recommended. The entire process can take several days, depending on the size of your fence and depth of your posts.