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Out With Your Old Fence or Deck

Sometimes your old fence or deck just isn’t getting the job done anymore, and it needs to be replaced. Before you can build a new one, you’ll need to take down the old one and get rid of the materials, which can be an arduous task.

If you’re clearing away a wood fence or cedar deck, there’s a good chance much of the wood is still in usable condition. So before you pay a hefty fee to haul it to the dump, here are a few other options to consider:

  • Ask your builder to do it. For an extra charge, your new fence or deck builder will often tear down your old one and dispose of the materials. At Rick’s, we include that small fee in your final project estimate, and we do our best to make sure your old fence or deck doesn’t end up in a landfill. Usually the materials are taken to a local recycling company to be ground up and used for landscaping mulch, made into paper products, or incinerated to create electricity.
  • Recycle it. Contact your local recycling center or bulk waste disposal center for suggestions on where to recycle your fencing or decking, or look into places such as The ReBuilding Center that will accept donated construction materials for reuse or resale.
  • Sell, trade or give it away it on Craigslist. If enough of the materials are still in decent condition, you may be able to find a taker on
  • Build a compost bin. If you haven’t composted before, now is a great time to start. Instructions for building a compost bin are easy to find online.
  • Corral your garbage and recycling bins. After all the effort you’ve put into your yard, trash and recycling bins can mar the beauty. If it’s possible to take your fence down in sections, you can conceal these blemishes behind a decorative wall.
  • Decorate your yard or home. With a few tools and basic construction skills, there’s no end to the things you can build with discarded fencing or decking materials. A few simple projects you can try include decorative flower boxes, birdhouses, garden trellises, a work bench, rustic picture frames, or shelving. Even if you’re not that handy with a hammer, experimenting with fence or deck castoffs is a great way to practice. You haven’t spent anything extra for supplies, so it doesn’t matter if you make a mistake.

With a little creativity, you can come up with plenty of ways to reuse your salvaged materials. Just make sure you do it safely. For example, some people ask whether they can use their old wood fencing or decking materials for firewood, but we caution against that. If the boards have been treated, painted, stained, or sealed, they can contain chemicals that are highly flammable and harmful to your chimney—not to mention the air!

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3 Responses to “Out With Your Old Fence or Deck”

  1. Amy D. Adkins says:

    Mostly I manage to dispose of my trash sensibly however it is usually dispiriting whenever I check out what many countries are doing to this planet!

  2. Jim Smith says:

    Do you know of anyone who chips/shreds wood fence materials? We’re researching that here to add a greener service for our customers. Obviously with stains and treatments it’s not likely to make good mulch, but we’re brainstorming on other uses for the wood chips.

  3. admin says:

    Hi Jim,

    Rick’s Fencing uses Tualatin Valley Waste Resources for its chipping and shredding.

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