What To Do With Old Fence Posts (Here's What You Can Do)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

Many homeowners will have a fence surrounding their property. Whether the fence is intended to keep kids and pets safe or add security and privacy, a fence is a common and valuable addition to any home. However, a fence will start to fail over time, which means you may end up with old fence posts that need a new home. So what do homeowners do with old fence posts?

Depending on the state of the fence post, it may be possible to refinish or repurpose the fence post to be used in the fence or a DIY craft. Old fence posts can make unique and rustic crafts that work well outdoors. Because fence posts are made of wood, they are relatively easy to recycle.

Although it may be tempting to burn old components of the fence, be sure to check the material used to make the fence carefully. Most wooden fence posts are made with pressurized lumber, which contains caustic chemicals. Burning the fence post could release the chemicals into the air, creating a potential danger.

For wood fence posts that are made with natural lumber, or for particularly old fence posts, it may be possible and safe to burn old posts. Of course, upcycling your fence post into a new craft or project is a sustainable and eco-friendly option.

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How Can I Tell When a Fence Post Needs to be Replaced?

One of the most common repairs homeowners make is to the fence. Often, fence posts will need to be replaced to keep the overall fence in good condition. In many cases, simply removing and reinserting the fence post using cement will be all you need to give structure and support back to an otherwise droopy or twisting fence.

However, some cases require a little more inspection to determine if a simple replacement is needed. If the wood in your fence posts crumbles in your hand, you will need to replace the post. Further, if you notice insect damage from termites or possible wood rot, you’ll want to find a new replacement post to keep your fence strong and sturdy. A good rule to follow is to replace the fence post if 30% or more of the post is damaged due to insects or rot.

Can I Reuse an Old Fence Post?

Many homeowners have a fence post that is simply leaning due to ground settlement. In these cases, the post may still be structurally intact, but the positioning of the post is causing your fence to twist or warp. It may be possible to reuse your old fence post in your current fence, pending the post is still in good condition. It’s important to visually inspect your fence post to look for insect damage or wood rot signs. If the fence post is in good shape structurally, it may be possible to reuse your fence post.

You’ll want to disconnect any fencing panels attached to the post. Remove the old fence post and dig around the existing fence post hole. Adding additional cement to the hole will help make the fence post structurally sound and prevent the post from leaning again.

What Crafts Can I Make with a Fence Post?

When replacing your fence post with a new version, it is still possible to recycle the old post into a new, crafty, DIY project. Using a fence post for your next project can not only give your home some unique charm but can prevent unnecessary waste. Some great craft projects utilizing an old fence post include:

  • Bench – Use your old fence post to make a new garden bench. The fence post is strong and sturdy enough to act as legs on a new wooden bench. Plus, because many fences are made with pressurized lumber that is treated to prevent insect damage and rot, your garden bench will last for years, even outdoors.
  • Loft Bed – Try giving your kids an exciting new bed by creating a loft bed. The thick fence posts make the ideal support for the corners of the loft design. A loft bed can give your kids additional floor space in the bedroom, adding the perfect place for a play area or desk.
  • Privacy Divider – Your old fence post can work well as the structural support needed to make a new privacy divider in your yard. Add the fence posts to the corners of the divider, and use old fence paneling to create the privacy background. The pressure-treated wood will hold up well to the elements outdoors.
  • Welcome Sign – Because fence posts are made to stay outside, they are designed with durability in mind. If you have an old fence post, consider creating a custom welcome sign for your home. Give the fence post a sturdy base and a new cap, and paint the word “Welcome” down the post for an inviting and charming sign.
  • Headboard – To give your home a rustic flare, think about using a fence post to create a new headboard. The thick posts make the perfect corners for a headboard or footboard. Fill in the back of the headboard with reclaimed wood or some nice padded fabric. Adding a custom headboard with recycled parts is a great way to get a unique and rustic look.

Are Old Fence Posts Recyclable?

A fence post is usually made of wood, which is a natural component. Many fence posts can be recycled and can even be compostable if they do not include harmful chemicals used in pressurized lumber. Be sure to contact your local recycling center ahead of time to confirm they can take wood to recycle and be sure they have the available space.

If your local recycling center can’t take the wood, consider using the fence post in some creative DIY crafts to repurpose the otherwise useless material.

Can I Burn an Old Fence Post?

Those who have recently removed or replaced an existing fence likely have heaps of spare wood. It may be tempting to use your old fence posts to have a bonfire, but hold off burning your wood. Your fence post and subsequent fence panels are likely made with pressure-treated lumber to protect your fence from insects and in all weather conditions. When burned, the caustic materials are released into the air, creating a dangerous situation.

If your fence is extremely old, over 20 years of age, it is likely that most of the chemicals in the pressure-treated lumber have already dissipated. If this is the case, it may be safe to burn your old fence posts. Or, if your fence is made with traditional lumber that does not have additional chemicals to make it stronger, it is safe to burn your wooden fence post.

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Related Questions

Is an old fence post structurally stable?

Chances are you are replacing your old fence post because something has caused the fence to deteriorate. If you are simply replacing a fence post for a new aesthetic, your old fence post may still be structurally stable. Visually inspect the post for any signs of insect damage or rot. Using a sharp tool, poke a few test points in the fence. If the post seems sturdy and solid, it may be structurally stable.

Can I restore an old fence post?

As long as the old fence post is still stable and structurally sound, it is possible to restore the old post. You can start by sanding the wooden fence post and then refinishing it. You’ll want to use weather-proof paint or stain to keep it looking good for years to come. Remember to change the hardware, too, if needed, to restore the fence post to working order fully.

Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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