6 Steps To Take Before You Tear Down An Old Fence

Before you tear down an old fence, there are six steps you should take. What are they and how can they contribute to a successful project?
Monday, 16 May 2022

Before you tear down an old fence, there are six steps you should take. What are they and how can they contribute to a successful project?

Anyone who does not believe that preparation is the key to success has never tried to tear down an old fence safely. Taking down a fence without doing the proper research can result in legal consequences and safety issues, so make sure you or your fencing contractor follows some basic steps.

Consulting with an experienced fencing company in Colorado will help you to know what you’re getting yourself into, as there are many steps a property owner must follow to make such a significant change. 

Step One: Evaluate The Fence

Because removing a fence safely is so important, you should evaluate the fence before beginning to make sure that you definitely want to tear down the old fence rather than repair the broken sections. 

Of course, sometimes, a fence no longer serves a useful purpose or no longer fits with the design of your newly re-landscaped yard. In either case, take the time to evaluate your options with a local fencing contractor. They may provide you with tips and design suggestions you have never considered.

Step Two: Make Sure You Are On Level Ground Legally

Before you tear down a fence close to your property line, make sure that you have the right to remove the fence. Knowing who owns the fence between you and your neighbor before making any changes can keep potential issues at bay, so consult with a professional surveyor or review the land survey given to you when purchasing the property. If the fence is not on your property, do not make the mistake of removing the fence without your neighbor’s permission. You may be legally required to make compensation to their property.

At Blick’s Fencing, we recommend that homeowners speak with their neighbors before beginning any fencing project. This simple act of goodwill on your part may circumvent years of bad feelings and awkward neighborhood interactions. 

Once you know you have the legal right to tear down the fence, the next step is to check with the homeowner’s association in your neighborhood. Your covenants may dictate how you go about the removal and how long the fence can remain down. You may also be required to get the approval of your neighborhood design committee. 

Step Three: Get the Advice of Professionals

Although tearing down an old fence might seem easy enough, quite a few things go into the process. Knowing where the fence is weakest will make it easier and quicker to take down. All fences are built differently depending on terrain and landscaping, and the type of fence matters as well.

For instance, chain link fences often have concrete surrounding their pole bases. Long sections of wood fences can have multiple weak points, and extensive specialty fences like those constructed from stone or brick can be especially intimidating. Starting the teardown in the right location can prevent the fence from falling apart on and on top of you.

A fencing contractor will be able to help you determine where to start in breaking down the fence. 

Bonus tip:  If you hire a fencing company to build a new fence, they will likely include the teardown of the old fence in their estimate. 

Step Four: Get The Right Tools And Don’t Tear Down An Old Fence By Yourself

As much fun as demolition can be, having the right tools and safety equipment ready will determine whether the project is a success or a disaster. Hiring a professional fencing company would be the easiest way to take care of the job, but do-it-yourself take down is possible. But be warned, this is a case where do-it-yourself does not mean by-yourself. To safely tear down a fence, you need at least two people.

If you choose to tear down the fence on your own, invest in the right tools to efficiently knock down the fence. With the wrong tools, you can seriously injure yourself or others, not to mention waste time. Depending on the type of fence you are removing, you will need wire cutters and hammers, and in all cases, you should have work gloves, thick-soled shoes, and eye protection to prevent injury. If you plan to recycle the fencing materials for another project, you will need to remove nails and screws as you go. Keep your eyes sharp and pick up nails as they fall, or your next barefoot romp through the grass may result in a trip to the emergency room. 

Step Five: Contact Your Utility Provider

Remembering to “call before you dig” is one of the most important steps you can take before any home improvement project that involves underground digging. Any time you tear down a fence, much of the base for poles will be underground. Even if the fence itself is not hitting a wire or cable, there is a chance that your shovel, pick-ax or other tools may accidentally hit underground utility lines. 

Calling 811 at least three days before you tear down an old fence will keep you safe and keep you from knocking out phone, cable, electrical, or water lines in your neighborhood. Your neighbors will be happy that you are not inconveniencing them, and you will avoid paying any fees or repair costs if you damage any lines.

Step Six: Exercise Patience!

Before you tear down an old fence, your biggest priority should be keeping yourself and others around you safe. Fence removal can be hard work and is not something you can rush.

Exercise patience to avoid any injuries. Use the proper tools. Call before you dig and ensure the fence is yours before you tear down a fence. Have a plan for your fence removal and stick to it. If you’re not confident that you can remove the fence safely and correctly, don’t be afraid to contact a fencing company in Southern Colorado for a free estimate.