Removing Steel Fence Posts from Concrete

A steel fence.
What You'll Need
Farm jack
Sledge hammer
Masonry chisel
Safety glasses

Steel fence posts are intended to be set in concrete and to last for decades. If you decide to move your fence, or even remove it altogether, you need to take out the fence posts. That’s going to cause a problem as you have to take out something that was meant to remain in the same spot permanently.

Step 1 - Prepare

Start by using your shovel to dig around the steel fence posts and the concrete. This will make it easier for you to remove them later. Dig all the way down to the bottom of the concrete. Wear gloves for digging and then try moving the steel fence posts backward and forward to loosen them a little.

This is tiring work, especially if you have plenty of fence posts. You can make it easier by soaking the ground around each of the posts with a hose. When you’ve finished your hole soak it with water to help loosen the steel fence posts in the concrete

Step 2 - Use a Farm Jack

You should hire or buy a farm jack, also known as a high lift jack, in order to remove the steel fence posts. You need to place it on a flagstone next to the steel post you’re removing from the ground. The tongue of the jack should be facing toward the post. Place it on a flagstone for two reasons: it distributes the weight, and it also stops the jack sinking into the ground.

Step 3 - Lift

Your chain needs to be heavy for the weight and force. The metal in each link should be ¼ or more in diameter. Loop the chain around the posts as low as you can. Put each end of the chain on the tongue of the jack. Start to crank the jack. As you do so the chain will tighten around the steel fence posts. Keep checking to ensure the chain doesn’t slip. If it begins to, you should loosen the chain and reposition it.

As you keep cranking, you’ll find that the force from the jack begins to lift the steel fence posts. Once they’ve been raised enough, lower the jack, loosen the chain, and lift out the post. Repeat this for each of the steel fence posts you need to remove. This job does go faster than digging.

Step 4 - Remove Concrete

To remove the concrete from the steel posts you’re going to need to use a sledgehammer. Put on heavy gloves and safety goggles. Use goggles rather than glasses.

There’s no way to avoid heavy work with this. You have to keep bringing the hammer down to chip off the concrete. You will eventually remove most of the concrete from the steel fence posts. To finish off the job you should use a masonry chisel and a hammer. These will take off the remaining pieces of concrete and leave your steel fence posts smooth.