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How to Remove Damaged Wood Posts from a Fence or Deck

Damaged posts eventually cause decks to sag and perhaps even collapse if the load on top of them is heavy. Fence posts lean and wobble, undermining the stability of the whole fence. You can replace them, but you begin by removing the old post

To reduce the risk of rotting posts, keep grass and weeds around them well trimmed. Vegetation holds moisture and keeps exposed sections of wood wet.

Removing a post and replacing it is a lot of work. But sometimes you don’t have an option because there are so many rotted areas on the wood. To remove a post, you need a shovel, a hammer, a post-hole digger (rent or borrow it), a drill, wrenches, concrete, tools for working with concrete, and a helper if you can find one. Here’s what to do to remove a post:

  1. Dig around the old posts.

    Rent a post puller if necessary and use a shovel to dig around and under the post and concrete.

    You have to get beneath the concrete base as much as possible and have a big enough hole so that you can rock the post and base out of the ground. (You can use a wrecking bar and 4-x-4 to give you extra leverage.)

  2. Rock the post back and forth to work it loose.

  3. When it’s loose, pull the post and base out of the ground.

    Any time you want to remove a fence or deck post, get a helper. Two people have more strength and also provide stability and safety.

When a deck post is bad and space is tight, you can add a second post instead of taking out the bad one. Be sure to brace the deck with temporary bracing — a stack of bricks or a piece of lumber — before you dig out the rotted areas of the original post and treat them with a preservative. When putting in an additional post, get it as close as possible to the original post.

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