Other Sh!t

Tearing Down a Fence

July 16, 2014

There comes a time in a man’s life when he has to face reality, do the right thing, and tear down his old fence.

Fences are a crucial part of your property. They maintain your privacy and help keep you secure. But they don’t last forever.

Photos by ADV Photography

Taking one down can be a tedious affair, but why hire someone to do it for you? In this post, I’ll be sharing my own experience. By doing it yourself, you can save a lot of money and even have some fun in the process.

The whole idea of tearing it down wasn’t my own. My moustached next door neighbour and fellow FMMS blogger Marco Provenzano suggested that we could do it ourselves. It would save us money as we were splitting the installation cost of a brand new fence.

We got to work recruiting some extra manpower for the job ahead. We’re extremely lucky to have great family and friends who are always willing to help at a moment’s notice (and I do mean “a moment” because we asked them only a day before the actual teardown)! All of the extra manpower was essential to our success.

The first step was the most fun – breaking the sh!tty fence! This part was relatively easy as the fence was close to 30 years old. The planks broke off with minimal pressure from a crowbar and our mighty Spartan kicks. We flattened down the nails on each board to ensure that none were protruding and set them aside in a pile. This process took about 25 minutes.


Next came the digging. We had to dig at the base of each fence post in order to remove them. This wouldn’t typically be a challenging task, except my yard had a ton of roots from an old tree that had been cut down several years ago. Those bastards were thick and had spread everywhere, making the process a bit more challenging (and curse-inducing). Overall though, with a couple of yard shovels and some extra hands, the digging phase was pretty straightforward.

Fellow FMMS blogger Joseph Alves shows us that hipsters sprout from the earth.

Fellow FMMS blogger Joseph Alves shows us that hipsters sprout from the earth.

The third step was to remove the posts. This part was significantly more difficult as they were buried about four feet underground and attached to concrete supports. To remove them, we dug around each post to reveal the base. Next, we used a long crowbar to jab and loosen some of the soil and concrete around the base. We then placed the crowbar into the post at a slight angle and used it as a lever. Most of the posts came out with relative ease in this manner (it also helped that my big brother Tom has the strength of 10 mortal men).

Some posts were deeper than others, though. We learned this the hard way. We were legitimately clueless as to how to go about getting the remaining two posts out. They were buried very deep and the stone slabs that supported them were huge. At one point, it felt as though we were standing atop an ancient temple as the stone slabs seemed to never end. But that’s just stupid…

Anyhoo, after unsuccessfully trying various methods and boiling in the summer heat, fellow FMMS’er Sebastian Ortega eventually had the bright idea to use Google. After approximately eight seconds of searching, off we went to Home Depot to rent a jackhammer! How did we live before the internet?

The jackhammer was awesome. A beast of a machine, it chipped through the exposed concrete like butter! After a few minutes on each concrete slab, we managed to break them apart and remove the posts from their resting place. We could’ve easily let the professionals handle the rest, but we were too jacked up (sorry) and were genuinely having fun.

The final step – covering up the holes we dug – was the easiest, but we were exhausted by this point. Now this step might seem counterintuitive as new posts would need to go into the holes we already dug, but the professionals specifically asked us to cover them up so they could take their own measurements and decide where best to place them.

The finished product!

The finished product!

A few days later, the great guys from Ottawa-based RPM Design and Build Construction came in and did their thing – quicker than usual since we did a significant amount of work ourselves. This saved on labour costs and time.

Overall, it was an extremely tiring day, but a really fun one. The weather was great, we had fun with our friends, and we saved money.

But more importantly, we tackled something that neither of us had ever done before and succeeded. That’s the whole point of these yard work posts – to tackle projects without any preconceived notions of their difficulty or complexity. You’ll be surprised by how easy a lot of it really is. The key is to have reliable and loving family and friends that are willing to help out and have fun.

And now that my fence is up, I can keep them out for good!


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