5

I'm still working on the world's slowest DIY fencing project.

If you look at my old diagram from a few months back, you'll see I had a spot for the terminal post picked out next to my house in front of a drain spout.

enter image description here

Well, after digging down about 6 inches, I came to a bit of a dead stop. There's a large immobile chunk of concrete down there, and oddly wood as well.

enter image description here

enter image description here

I finally figured out that this was probably the remnants of my old fencepost. There used to be a fence here, but a contractor took it down because this was the only side of my house with (barely) enough room to squeeze his heavy equipment through to get at my big retaining wall in the back I needed him to work on. Not wanting to go trough this again is why I'm set on making that gate as wide as possible between the tree and the house.

So what it looked like happened is that rather than pulling up the old posts, this one at least was just broken off with the (probably 2 foot deep) cement stub left buried in the ground.

I figure I'm probably going to have to just move my fence post somewhere else. Either further up the house (in which case I'll need a third post to jog around that tree), or past the downspout, which will be really tricky to avoid the underground part of the downspout and to clad the metal post around that spout.

But I thought before I do that I ought to ask if there are any tricks anyone knows to deal with a 2 foot deep buried blob of concrete and broken fence post? I'm thinking that's probably beyond a one person DIY level effort.


Update on this:

I tried attaching a pair of concrete eyebolts into the concrete, as suggested in a couple of the answers here. I used a 4x4 as a lever,put the fulcrum up near the hole, and stood on the other end. Unfortunately, the eyebolts came out before the concrete pug moved.

I'm not sure that approach is going to work without digging out around the plug a lot more (at which point I could just run a chain or strap around the plug itself and dispense with the bolts). The problem there is that its so close to the house that its really difficult to dig out between the two. I think I may just be down to burying it and planting my pole elsewhere.

0

7 Answers 7

14

Lazy and smart often go hand-in-hand.

Dig around the old concrete to free it.

Now dig a hole next to it.

Tip the concrete into the new hole.

Bury it and chive on.

4
  • Think this is the best answer. Nice and simple, cleans the hole out and gets rid of more than a hundred pounds of concrete, without breaking our backs.
    – crip659
    Dec 30, 2021 at 21:58
  • 2
    @crip659 - IDK... after doing a bit more digging around it and not even finding the edges before getting exhausted, I'm not convinced that digging another bigass 3x2x1 cu ft hole next to it would constitute a low effort solution. I could attach that concrete anchor right now (if I had the tools that is...)
    – T.E.D.
    Dec 30, 2021 at 22:57
  • 3
    That is sounding a bit big for a fence post. Most post holes are 12 to maybe 18(very big) inches round. Maybe not finding an old fence post but something else?
    – crip659
    Dec 31, 2021 at 0:55
  • You either move the dirt (in small bites) or you move the concrete (all at once). The effort comparison is clear to me. :)
    – isherwood
    Dec 31, 2021 at 14:57
5

You could:

  1. Drill some holes with a masonry drill bit
  2. Attach metal eyebolts to the top of the concrete
  3. Attach chains
  4. Lift with a car jack, farm jack, or tractor bucket if you've got one
    • For the car jack, lay down some 2x4 or 4x4 lumber across the hole and role the device into position

If that seems like too much work then grab a jackhammer and give your elbows/wrist some good ol' fashioned RSI (repetitive stress injury) =)

3
  • I've done this before and a car jack will work as described by @MonkeyZeus. However I did it by drilling a hole in the wood, which wasn't rotted below the concrete, and inserting a large eyebolt. Came right out.
    – HoneyDo
    Dec 31, 2021 at 0:10
  • If you don't want to kludge a lifting assembly into place a cheap engine hoist would probably work well, and you probably could recover most of what you paid to Horror Fraught Tools reselling it on Craigslist, etc when you're done if you don't anticipate needing it again. Jan 1 at 19:35
  • Update: Just got through trying a variant of this (but using a 2x8 as a lever, rather than a jack). No dice. It pulled the metal eyebolts and their lag sleves right out of the concrete.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 11 at 17:46
5

If the block is in almost the right place, then re-use the old post hole.

Use an old chisel, to break up the old wooden post in the socket of the concrete. Alternatively, use an old large diameter drill and drill repeated holes, then chisel the rest out. Vacuum all of the rubbish out of the old socket, then just insert a new post in the old socket.

Alternatively, if there is no old post in the concrete, then use an SDS drill with a large Core-drill bit, and create a socket in the lump of concrete.

6
  • 2
    One could also drill holes and epoxy some rebar into the old block. Then pour more concrete for the new post support.
    – jpa
    Dec 31, 2021 at 13:55
  • My new post is a Postmaster steel post, which is not the same form-factor as a 4x4 wood post. This is a very shady area, and I want this solution to last.
    – T.E.D.
    Dec 31, 2021 at 18:49
  • @T.E.D. this is the answer -- it saves time/money now (don't remove the old block) and later (no need to add a new block). Pull out the old wood, and if the new post is smaller than a 4x4, epoxy it in the hole. If it's larger, get some square steel tubing that fits within, epoxy that in place, and bolt the new post to that. Cut off the excess if it's too tall.
    – LShaver
    Jan 1 at 21:38
  • @T.E.D. right, which is why I added the "if it's larger" bit ;).
    – LShaver
    Jan 2 at 17:28
  • @LShaver - Ah, my bad. Completely missed both the second half of your comment, and the edit to the end of this question it was based on. That's .... an interesting idea. It would still be under about 6 inches of dirt (due to settling in the last few years. The contractor removed a short retaining wall too). But that might be doable, if I could get it leveled right. However, would a post attached that way support a large (6 foot wide) gate as the pivot post? I'm doubtful.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 2 at 17:33
4

If you are fit, you should give it a go with a pencil point digging bar. Chip away at it and eventually, it'll give up.

5
  • A heavy steel digging bar with a spade on one end will fracture the concrete and you can remove the fragments with a post hole digger. Dec 30, 2021 at 20:12
  • I did spend some time trying to chip away at it with a sledge-wedge before I realized what I was dealing with.
    – T.E.D.
    Dec 30, 2021 at 20:34
  • 3
    You could rent an electric jackhammer. Be sure there are no water pipes, gas pipe, buried electric where you are digging. Dec 30, 2021 at 21:40
  • @JimStewart - Already called the utility line peeps out and there are no lines of any kind on that side of the house. However, there is that buried gutter drainage tube I have to worry about.
    – T.E.D.
    Dec 30, 2021 at 22:10
  • 1
    @JimStewart - you're not thinking big enough. If he's going to use a jackhammer, he has a justifiable reason to buy a jackhammer (in case there are wives involved). A jackhammer might not be the right thing, though. An SDS Max hammer-drill would be more appropriate, I think.
    – Edwin
    Jan 2 at 7:40
3

As a fellow DIYer that doesn't like to give in, here's how I would proceed. First, I would remove dirt around it to give it an easy path out. Next, set a sawhorse over the hole. Last, use a come along (hand winch/cable puller) attached to the concrete with a concrete anchor.

1
  • Just tried with a concrete anchor, and the anchor pulled right out when I started putting serious weight on it.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 11 at 17:49
1

Another option:
That's a big gate. Don't know if it's a double or single swing. If it's a single gate and will swing out you can pivot it off of the post near the oak tree, the post at the house will have very little lateral stress and can be lag-bolted into the framing of the house on the side.
For an inswing you could move it to the back corner of the house, around the corner from the downspout.
A gate that size may need a supporting wheel on the latch end.

1
  • 1
    I think I have to pivot it off of the post near the house, because that's the lower side?
    – T.E.D.
    Dec 31, 2021 at 4:33
0

Just pull the old post out of the concrete and reused the same hole for the new post. Home Depot sells large screws called timber lock screws, with a washer and chain screw that into a hard piece of the old wood. Then use a 4x4 as a fulcrum to lift the old piece of wood out of the concrete.

1
  • 2
    Isn't this roughly the same answer as @TFS's ? It has roughly the same response. I already have the replacement posts. They are the new steel posts, which aren't 4x4 form factor, were $60 each, and I'm not keen on trying to send them back.
    – T.E.D.
    Jan 1 at 19:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.