I live next to a condo complex, and just received a letter informing me that they're going to tear down their fence and replace it with a chain link fence - a "more maintenance free and up to date concept". The fence is entirely on their property (set back a foot or so), so there's no question that they can do this - and they're being good neighbours by letting me know! I don't have a fence on my property adjacent to theirs, so the only fence is going to be their new chain link fence.

I'd rather not have just a chain link fence, so what I'd like to do is ask the condo board whether I can take a few sections of the fence that they're demolishing and move it into my yard. The fence is in decent shape, though it's obviously a number of years old. I would guess it's got at least 5 good years left in it without major maintenance.

If they allow me to move the fence, what's the best way to do it? I certainly can't manage to move the entire fence in one piece - do I just disassemble it and have a collection of posts, panels, and top boards and then reassemble it at my leisure? Is it feasible to do alone, or will I need help?

Perhaps most important of all: Is asking for the fence a good idea, or would it be smarter to just build a new fence of my own?

  • Half the cost of a fence are materials. Taking down a wooden fence is mainly labour(free if yours). If the wood is in good condition and you want to keep it painted to protect from moisture, your pocket book will like you. I would go for it, ask the condo if you can take it down within their time limits.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 19:04
  • 7
    A picture of the fence would help to assess the difficulty of disassembly, and condition.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 19:51
  • Is asking for the fence a good idea? is a question that is not allowed here because it asks for an opinion ... everybody's answer would be correct
    – jsotola
    Commented Oct 28, 2022 at 23:29
  • I reckon they'd be happy for you to take down the old fence, and re-use it. After all, you'll be saving their labour costs, and also saving them getting rid of the old fence. Everyone's winning! And you may also win a foot of land around at the same time.
    – Tim
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 9:29
  • You might want to check with your local authorities. It's possible (but not a certainty) that a screening fence or equivalent landscaping was a condition for building the condos. If that's the case, then they have to replace the fence with something the provides equivalent screening.
    – SteveSh
    Commented Oct 29, 2022 at 12:05

4 Answers 4


There's a lot of 'it depends' but mostly 'no' or 'not advisable`.

It depends on the type of fence. If it has panels you could probably unscrew/unnail them from the posts. If it's not panels, you'll likely just have to dismantle it and rebuilt it.

It depends on if the posts are in the ground with concrete or just in the ground. Either way, anything below grade is probably not worth putting in the ground again as wood rots when it's in the ground. Even if they are treated posts, the treatment only lasts so long / goes so deep. So you're going to need new posts in all likelihood. By the way, if they are set with concrete just cut them off above the concrete but below grade and fill with dirt. Getting the concrete out is probably not worth the effort.

You will have some salvageable wood that you could turn back into (most of) a fence but I don't know if this qualifies as 'moving a fence'. Whether this salvaged wood is worth your time is up to you to determine.

I would probably go the route of a different type of visual screen that isn't a fence if I were you. For example, you can get wooden trellis in sheets that you could attach to your side of the chain link fence. Similar effect for far less effort now and in future maintenance. They also sell strips to go into a chain link fence as a visual barrier.


Depending on your perception of the aesthetics, (about which we only know so far anti-chain-link, pro-wood-fence) I'd let their fence be the fence, and consider a visual screen so you are not looking at chain link fence, without having a whole other fence just so you are not looking at chain link fence.

Back to back fences are a pain, and eat yard space since you either need space to get on the other side to maintain it, or you have no space, no maintenance, and you have to tear it down to replace it sooner than you'd like due to no maintenance. You also have to figure out how you get on the other side to maintain it, which may require a gate in it, which is more complex and expensive than just fence is.

You could set up posts (steel, wood, or concrete) with shadecloth high enough to hide their fence (quick, cheap, perhaps not your aesthetic either.)

You could plant a hedge of some sort - not quick unless you go expensive with large transplants, or use some annuals that grow quickly at first, with more permanent plants filling in over time. You'll see their fence in winter at least, for a while. This need not be a "tradtional evergreen hedge" unless that's what you want - other options would be things like very tall decorative grasses, or reeds/cat-tails if it's a wet spot, or a row of espaliered fruit trees, or a bed of fruit bushes/cane fruits.

You should examine their fence with care and a critical eye before asking if you can have some of it, if that is your choice among the alternatives, since the labor is considerable, so the salvage needs to be worth salvaging and building anew with to make it worth expending the labor.


There is no harm in asking for the fence, but you would certainly need to take it apart as that is an expense that the contractor would not take on and the condo board would not pay for.

I highly suggest using new pressure treated posts as that is where fences normally fail first. Assuming a typical build, the disassembly would normally be taking the picket(s) off where the posts are to expose the screws/nails from where the panels or supporting horizontal boards are attached. A second person is almost a must to help remove them safely if they are in a panel; individual boards would be easy to handle as an individual, but a good bit more work.


Modern fences are typically based on fence panels. The panels are then attached to posts. If you have a reciprocating saw you just saw down the vertical portion of the fence panel to release it from the posts. Maybe you put a block under it to support it while sawing.

You can remove a fence panel in less than 10 minutes. The panels are also generally light enough that one person can move them.

I haven't seen a nice looking chain link fence and I have wood fences that are 30-50 years with some rot, peeling paint, etc which - in my opinion - look fine and certainly better than a nasty chain link fence.

I'd probably salvage the panels and then wait to see how bad the new chain link fence looks.

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