Can Fence Posts Be Reused?

Can Fence Posts Be Reused?

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It's a fairly common question in the fence world: can fence posts be reused? The answer is not that simple though, and usually, it will be "it depends." In a perfect world, we'd always be able to reuse things like fence posts. But sometimes, they look like the one in the picture, and then that's not really possible.

So if you're wondering whether your fence posts can be reused, read on, and find out what you need to know.

It Depends On the Type of Fence Post

The first thing that needs to be established when you want to know if your fence posts can be reused is what kind of posts they are.

Some fence posts, like metal fence posts, can only be reused for certain kinds of fence. Some, like wood fence posts tend to get damaged below ground. Others might only work for particular fence systems. So you really need to have someone come out to see if you can reuse fence posts on your project.

It Also Depends How You Want to Reuse Them

If you want to keep your posts in their current position and simply reinstall the mesh on your fence, then it's very likely that if your posts are in good shape, you can reuse your fence posts.

However, if you want to move your fence posts somewhere else, that might not be as easy. Removing fence posts that are already installed usually damages them, and that means they can't be reinstalled in another location.

There are a couple of exceptions. One would be if you are able to cut the posts off at the base and use them for a lower fence. This would probably allow you to reuse your fence posts somewhere else.

Another scenario where you can usually reuse fence posts is when they are baseplated and bolted. In those cases, it's often possible to grind off the bolts that hold the posts in place and reuse them somewhere else.

And How They are Installed

If your fence posts are installed in concrete, getting them out of the ground will usually require a large machine, chains, and a lot of force and tugging. At the end of the process, the posts are likely to be bent and unusable.

If posts are installed another way, like pounding them into the ground or on screw piles, it might be possible to remove them without damaging them too much, so you can reuse your fence posts.

Damage Also Matters

Very often, fence post damage happens close to the bottom of the post, where it might be rusted or broken. If there is this kind of damage on your posts, you won't be able to reuse them - even to install new mesh on an existing fence structure.

Sometimes, this kind of damage is only visible when someone inspects your fence in detail, so you won't know until a professional takes a look at your fence.

Other Ways to Reuse Fence Posts

If you want to reuse your fence posts for environmental reasons, there are some other options you might consider.

One is to have the posts cut off so that you can reuse the material for another project. This could work with wood or metal posts.

You can also sell fence posts to metal recyclers, which will allow them to be reused by someone else. Plus you can earn some money for the metal when you resell it.

Balance Material Costs with Labour Costs

Sometimes, people want to reuse their fence posts, they're motivated by the desire to save on costs. However, unless you are doing your own fence installation, that might not be the case.

Sometimes, the extra labour cost to reuse your existing fence posts can offset any material savings, so the cost of a new fence isn't that much more than one reusing your posts.

Feel free to ask your fence contractor if this is an option if it's something you want, but don't be surprised if the price and the cost saving isn't as much as you were hoping for - or if it can't be done at all. Many fence contractors don't want to do this kind of thing if they didn't install the posts themselves, because there's no way for them to know what's going on below the ground. They might be wary of putting their name on someone else's fence posts, and you might not get a warranty on the work if they do.

So, in the grand scheme of things, the answer to the question "can you reuse fence posts" is a big maybe. But usually, it's not worth it.