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How the Wood Post Puller Started
We love living in Texas, but the storms that blow through can do serious damage. A few years back, one nasty spring storm blew down several sections of privacy fence around our back yard. We propped the fence back up as a temporary fix but it wasn’t long before the repair notices from our HOA started coming in the mail. Local fence companies wanted thousands of dollars to fix complete the repairs when all we really needed was to replace the broken posts and reattach our current panels so we decided to tackle it as our DIY weekend project.
Our soil here in central Texas is heavy clay -- the first post took more than three hours to dig out and left us sweaty, dirty, and exhausted. That evening I evaluated other options. The post pullers on the market were all based on mechanical advantage -- wrap a chain around the post and then jack it up. If the post was broken, many of the pullers simply wouldn’t work but some had a ‘pincer’ attachment that was supposed to grab the post. We didn’t think any of them would work safely for our situation. Most home improvement sites recommended to simply cut off the post at ground level and install a new post to the side. We were going to go with this option until we realized how strange it would look to have unevenly spaced posts around our backyard. We needed a solution that let us replace the fence posts in their current location.
Our Lightbulb Moment
One recommendation from the online forums was to soak the ground the night before to make digging easier. Our clay was hard and difficult to dig through so we set out a soaker hose. Digging the next day we found that the water had only soaked in the top 4 inches, below that was the same compacted soil. Repeating the soak would work but would also take hours to reach the 36-inch depth. To allow the water to penetrate deeper we drove in a garden stake right next to the footing and then removed it, leaving the hole where water could run down. This method worked OK, but to avoid suction we had to wait for the water to absorb into the ground. If we tried to remove the post too soon it would form suction in the hole and be impossible to pull out.
During one of our working breaks, all of these facts came together -- the suction was working against us but that also meant that a tight seal existed between the concrete and the soil. If we insert a pipe to the same depth as the bottom of the post the water pressure would help to lift everything out of the ground -- in effect ‘reversing’ the suction force. The next day we purchased parts and made our first prototype -- a length of black pipe connected to our garden hose and hammered to a point on the other end. Our first tests worked beyond our imagination. It took a few minutes to get the pipe inserted but then the post just slid out with a loud slurp.
Our Wood Post Puller Method
We improved our method over the next few months, adding handles to the spike tool for more control and adopting a ‘jackhammer’ insertion technique with short up-and-down motions to prevent the tip getting stuck in the clay. In many cases, we were able to remove a post and concrete footing in less than 2 minutes! See one example in the video below:
How to Remove Fence Posts the Easy Way
The Wood Post Puller method gives you the help you need on the most difficult part of fence repair -- removing the post and concrete footing. Fix your own fence and save money! Because water is delivered to the bottom and the post slides out on a layer of mud -- no digging required on most posts. Compare to other methods -- the Wood Post Puller is the only one that works on broken, rotten posts that you can’t grab with a chain.
Buy the Spike Tool
Most homeowners want to repair their own privacy fence, the Wood Post Puller method makes it EASY. No digging required for many posts and it makes all lifting methods more effective.
- Do It Yourself Fence Repair
- For ALL Residential Posts
- Posts with Concrete Footings
- Wood or Metal Posts
- Broken or Rotten Posts
SLIDE the Post Out with WATER PRESSURE
PROVEN results, read our Testimonials!
Our Wood Post Puller method takes the work out of replacing fence posts set in concrete. The spike tool injects water at the base of the post and loosens the soil around the post. In a short time, the water forms a layer of mud around the concrete footing that helps slide the post out of the ground. Once loosened, use two pry bars to lift the post and concrete footing out of the ground. Leave the water running to automatically relieve suction force and help push the post out of the ground. Alternatively, turn the water off and disconnect the hose but leave the spike tool inserted to prevent suction.
The Wood Post Puller method works when the post is rotted or broken off. It even works when the concrete breaks up -- simply keep injecting water around and underneath and remove concrete pieces by hand. This situation can get messy so use a hose-end shutoff to control the water flow.
Check out other helpful tips in our DIY section.