How to Replace an Old Fence

cedar and metal wire fence

Written by KS

September 23, 2021

Depending on materials and upkeep, fences can last anywhere from 20 to 50 years.  But eventually you might find there comes a time when yours needs to be replaced.  Perhaps you’ve had to repair your fence, and now it’s no longer holding up.    Or maybe you finished updating the interior of your house.  And now you want to revamp the outside, which includes the fence.  Whatever the reason, I’ll go over how to replace an old fence.

How to Tell it’s Time to Replace Your Old Fence

Old wooden fence

Photo by Ann H on Pexels.com

A lot of the time you can just repair your fence.  But if you have rotting wood, sagging posts, or termite damage, you need to replace your fence.  However you don’t always have to wait for problems if you want something different.  If you want or need more privacy, or you want a different type of fence due to animals, or even just an update, then those are all great reasons to replace an old fence.  Also, the best time to have your fence replaced by the pros is in the cooler months.  And that’s because fence companies are busier in the warmer months.  So they can get yours done quickly and usually for less money.

How to Replace an Old Fence

Prepare Ahead of Time

  • Confirm property lines with a survey map in order to avoid headaches and troubles with your neighbors.

Also, talk to your neighbors about replacing your old fence.

  • Call utility location services, rather than the utility company to make sure there aren’t any underground cables where you’ll be working.

In Oklahoma it’s 811.  They get information from you, either online or over the phone, and within 48 hours they’ll mark the locations of the utilities.

  • Make sure you have the correct tools for the job.
  • Then decide on the type of fence you’re replacing the old one with.

There are several types of fences to choose from:  wood, vinyl, chain link, and metal.  Not to mention the different styles of fencing.

Take Down the Old Fence

fence post and post hole digger

  • Remove all boards, rails, pickets, chain link, or whatever materials your fence is comprised of.

Do this by sections, leaving the posts for last.  This is very labor intensive, and if you decide you’d rather let the pros do it, no problem.

  • Remove old posts

The optimal thing would be to get the concrete to come out with the posts.  That way you already have your hole dug.  But if you can’t, then you have to dig the concrete out with a shovel and a sledgehammer.  Furthermore, a long metal pry bar can be very helpful for leverage or breaking up concrete.

  • Once the posts are out, set them aside for disposal

Check with your municipality for disposal restrictions.  Where we live, in the country, there aren’t any.  So we would either burn the posts or throw them away.

  • Place ~ 4 inches of broken and beaten up stone in the bottom of the hole, compressing it down with the base of the new post.

This will permit plenty of runoff below the new footing.

Treating the bottoms of the new posts with Flex Seal or Black Jack Rubr Coat will prevent rot.

Set up the New Posts

Quikcrete concrete

For this example, I’ll be going over replacing an old fence with a new wooden one.  Because the most common material used for fences in the U.S. is wood.

  • Using a level, drive stakes into the ground next to the posts, to hold them upright.
  • Mix the concrete, and pour into the holes.

Mix the concrete in a bucket or a wheelbarrow.  Also, only fill up to an inch or a couple of inches below the surface of the soil.  And depending on the kind of concrete you use, it could take up to 48 hours for the concrete to set up.

  • Remove the stakes

After the concrete has thoroughly set up, then you can remove the stakes.  That will most likely be ~48 hours from the time that you poured the concrete.

Attach the Panels to the Posts

Staining a wood fence

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

You can either buy pre-fabricated panels or make them yourself.  And ideally you’re going to need help with this part.  Also most panels come in 8 foot sections.

  • Attach the panels to the rails
  • Stain and seal

You’re all done!  But again, there are many more types of fences out there.  Although wood fencing is just the most common, probably due to the privacy that it offers.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope I helped you understand how to replace an old fence.  Please feel free to ask questions or leave a comment.  And as always, if you want help with replacing a fence, please don’t hesitate to give Daystar Handyman a call!

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