Are fencing panels' concrete spacer bases easy to crack and remove?

Discussion in 'Landscaping and Outdoors' started by AndyC, May 29, 2013.

  1. AndyC

    AndyC New Member

    Just moved into 3 bed house, which was formerly two self-contained flats with a central fence dividing the back garden into two 'strips'.

    I want to remove the fence so that the garden can be just one green space. I've managed to remove the wooden fence panels which just slide up and out.

    However, the base of each wooden panel 'sits' on a concrete spacer, about a foot high, and stretching the width between the posts. They are free to move in the slots but way too heavy to lift out.

    I know that the concrete posts themselves are steel re-inforced as one of them has a small chip in the surface and I can see the metal rod inside. So they will have to stay - I propose covering them with climbing plants.. But I would dearly like to lose the foot-high concrete bases which effectively bisect the garden and are a nuisance as well as a tripping hazard.

    It occurs to me that if these slabs are not re-inforced concrete, as they are there primarily to avoid panels' wood rotting in contact with the earth, a sharp blow with a steel hammer or chisel might crack them in half and then make them easy to remove.

    Does anyone know if this will happen or will these panels be steel re-inforced and thus need heavy work with an angle grinder-type cutter, which I do not possess?:(
  2. surfermick

    surfermick New Member

    if they are 6ft wide by 1ft high concrete base panels they will be reinforced.are they anything like these? if they are reinforced then you would best use a 9inch angle grinder, that will cut through them like butter. you can buy a cheapy for about £40 or hire a decent one for less. PS WEAR GOGGLES,  my mate "one eye'd jack" didnt;)
  3. AndyC

    AndyC New Member

    Thanks Mick,

    Your link is spot-on - they're called gravel boards, I couldn't remember the name. 9 inch angle grinder + goggles it is, then.

    Cheers, mate
  4. rjm2k1

    rjm2k1 New Member

    Going at them with a grinder is dangerous and probably not necessary, just break in the middle with a sledgehammer and there should be enough slack to pull out even though they are re-enforced, as demonstrated by the fool below....
  5. surfermick

    surfermick New Member

    you say going at them with a grinder is dangerous rj, explain what you mean.
  6. surfermick

    surfermick New Member

    [​IMG]here you go Andy, funny enough i cut up several of these concrete slabs this morning with a9inch grinder, nice and clean. in my experience going at these with a sledge hammer is messy and hard work, once youve broken enough of the concrete away you still have the steal rods to cut somehow.. but as is always the way in life, its your call ;)
  7. Astramax

    Astramax Super Member

    Are those two round dots the steel reinforcement rods Mick?
  8. surfermick

    surfermick New Member

    yep, grinder goes through them with ease. i use the cheap diamond discs, they lcut through most things.
  9. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    If the posts 'give' at all(in the plane of the fence-line), you could lift the gravelboards to waist height, insert a 3ft bearer(or a mate) to support one end, and drop the other. Then lift off the bearer end, easing the post away all the time. Have a helper of course.

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
  10. joinerjohn1

    joinerjohn1 Screwfix Select

    Two people should be able to lift the gravel boards out. If you want the two gardens as one, your going to want to remove the concrete posts as well. ;)
  11. AndyC

    AndyC New Member

    Thanks for all your thoughts, guys.

    I'm going with the angle grinder option, as my partner's lifting powers are non-existant

    Just one question for surfermick

    You say to buy a cheapy 9" grinder for 40 notes or less: the cheapest one on Screwfix catalogue is 59.99, and I don't really want to spend that much on what is essentially a single job.

    Can the much cheaper 5" grinder at £28 do the job (plus a fiver for a diamond disc) - here:

    I've never had a grinder before, so I don't understand why I would need 9" to cut through something just a couple inches thick.
  12. Sean_ork

    Sean_ork Screwfix Select

    spend £20 on a sledge hammer and break them up into sections small enough that they can be carried

    an big angle grinder is dangerous, properly dangerous
  13. If you have never used 225mm electric cutter before leave it alone, they can jam and kick back, the safest cutter is a petrol stone saw, it doesnt jam.

    All you need is a good whack in the centre, and cut the tiny rods with a cheap set of bolt croppers.

    The same with the posts, you dont want them left sticking out of the ground.

    It might have been easier to advertise them on the free sites, some one would be glad to re-use them and do the job for you, same as the post could be re-used, or cut through at ground level then re-used for a lower fence.
  14. chippie244

    chippie244 Super Member

    The 5" is the diameter of the disc, the depth of cut is less than half of that.
  15. surfermick

    surfermick New Member

    Andy, you could get through a two inch thick concrete block with the smaller 5 inch grinder, you will need to cut through one side then turn it over and cut through the other side. the grinder will cut through the steel rods at the same time,this will give you clean pieces to take dispose of. As people here are pointing out a 9 inch grinder can be dangerous, but, they sell them in B&Q to anybody that wants one and you dont need a certificate to use one. however, i didnt realise the blocks were only two inches thick so the smaller grinder will do the job and you may have more use for a smaller grinder later on. they are a very useful tool. i will give you a tip for free, when using any grinder always stand to the side of the sparks/dust.
  16. AndyC

    AndyC New Member

    Thanks again Mick,

    Actual thickness of the slabs is even less than I thought, being 4cm - inch and a half - so you reckon the 5 inch grinder will be the safest option for a novice user.

    Like you say, a useful tool for general use, without the danger-of-death from the 9" beast.

    As it happens, my next project is to lay some paving in a unequal shaped yard, with 3cm - 1" thick slabs, I'm thinking my £30 investment would make cutting these to size an easier job than using my tile cutter. So I'll go for the smaller Screwfix 5"-er.

    ps Thanks to all for your input - I perhaps should have explained that I would like the garden arrangement to be reversible if possible incase I decide to sell and move on: so smashing the slabs to bits would not be useful. I was hoping to hear from my original post that they might just break cleanly in two, so they could be re-used. Sorry for any confusion.
  17. Mr. Handyandy

    Mr. Handyandy Screwfix Select

    If there were 10 of them, and he lived anywhere near me, I would have popped them out and taken them away for him. My fence is starting to go at the bottom(timber kickboards).

    I expect I could adapt them to work with all-timber fence and posts!

    Mr. HandyAndy - Really
  18. Exactly Andy, every time we do a re-slab job or any similar jobs where materials are recycleable my son sticks them on 2 faced book, they lift them and remove, makes my job easier.  :)
  19. surfermick

    surfermick New Member

    i totally agree with what being said about the free site method of site removal, its always good to reuse stuff too:)

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