Challenge number one was that the gate between our back yard and the fence was chained and padlocked shut. Once we discovered this, we called our realtor to find out whether the previous owners had the keys, since that seemed like the easiest solution. Unfortunately, the previous owners said that it had been "years since anyone had the keys to those locks". So much for that plan.
Our next idea was to use our handy hacksaw and cut through the chain (since heavy chain is easier to cut through than even a cheap padlock). So, we got some new safety goggles--a necessity for a job like this if you want to be sure you won't get a metal splinter in your eye--and waited for a sunny day.
In the meantime, I decided to do some online research into the best way to remove a chain link fence. I came across a great tip I thought would be worth sharing here.
The first and most important step in removing a chain link fence is posting an ad on Freecycle, Craigslist, Kijiji, or a similar list or site offering your fence for free to someone who is willing to come and remove it. This is what we did, and is how we managed to get our fence removed without having to dig out the posts ourselves. Be aware, in preparing your ad, that when you post something for free people are quick to reply and say that they want it, without really thinking it through. I ended up refining my ad a few times, so that I would only get replies from people who were serious, and who had the tools necessary to complete the job.
Here is the final version of my ad:
Free Chain Link Fence & 2 Gates - 50ft long.
Date: 2012-03-27, 10:24PM EDT
Reply to: your anonymous craigslist address will appear here
We have a chain link fence in our back yard that we will be replacing with a wooden fence. It is in fairly good condition, and the mesh does not have any holes. If you would like to come and take it away, you can have it for free.
The fence has not yet been dismantled, and the poles are still in the ground. I have not dug in the dirt around the poles, but I can only assume that the poles are held in place with concrete blocks, which I've heard can be removed from the poles with a chisel or a jackhammer. (They will be hard to transport without removing the concrete first.) The mesh is also still attached to the poles, so you will need to take the mesh off of the poles before digging them up.
This offer is only open to people who want to remove and re-use the whole fence, including the poles. The fence is approximately 70 feet long, and there are two gates included as well. I would like it removed within the next week or so.
**BEFORE YOU REPLY please carefully consider whether you have the tools, time and ability necessary to remove the fence and posts, and transport them to their new home.
Thanks for your interest.
Sure enough, once it was refined, our ad worked like a charm. Well, it did take two tries to schedule the removal, and require us being at the house for the afternoon while the fence was removed, but in the end some nice folks who needed a fence to keep their rottweilers out of their neighbour's yard came and did the heavy lifting, and took the fence home to re-use as their reward.
They were happy, we were happy, and now we're ready to start building our new fence!
Here is a photo of the nice folks who came to take away our fence, hard at work.
Have you ever participated in a win-win exchange like this one? Here in Toronto there is a web site for people who want to swap their skills called Swapsity.ca. It's amazing how often we can get what we need from our friends and communities, in a way that benefits everyone. I would love to hear about you experiences finding that your trash is someone else's treasure (or vice-versa)!