concrete removal

DIY Concrete Removal: Should You Do It

You may have an old, broken, or unappealing concrete surface within your property. Be it a concrete patio, driveway, or steps, these could become quite annoying and inconvenient, in which case, getting a  new concrete surface may be the answer to your problem. Obviously, in these cases, it is usually recommended and more convenient to hire a professional concrete contractor that can swiftly and easily deal with your concrete removal.

Hiring a professional would most likely save you more time and even prevent potential injuries that could harm you, the homeowner. However, if you’re insistent on removing a small-scale concrete surface in order to save the money and allocate it to laying out a new, beautiful concrete. Then be sure to continue reading in order to prevent serious accidents and properly prepare for the project.

Steps To Break Up Concrete

When preparing yourself for the demolition job, it is important to understand the job and choose the right tools. Using a  sledgehammer is typically useful when dealing with smaller-scale projects such as removing concrete slabs that are only about 4 inches thick, however, when it comes to concrete driveways, jackhammers would likely be required, in which case, it may be better to simply contact a professional.

Step 1. Creating Space Below The Surface

Mindlessly smashing on a concrete slab that still has soil below it would likely be difficult, in the worst case, impossible. The dirt or sand would be absorbing most of the blows from the sledgehammer. However, by digging a void under the slab, the blows should be more effective. A pry bar can also be used in order to lift some of the smaller sections of the slab, this would make creating a void quite easier. 

In order to create a void below the surface, you may use the shovel to dig 4 to 6 inches back from the edge of the slab and about 2 inches deep. The pry bar can also be used to lift some parts and pieces instead of digging under them. This way, while one person lifts a part of the surface up, the other can deal with blowing the concrete.

Step 2. Hammering

In the instance that you chose creating a void under the surface instead, then after it is successful, it is time to to break up the concrete slab. Although before delving straight into breaking the concrete surface, it is best to do these preparations beforehand:

  • Lay down a plastic sheet or anything similar over the slab so that debris would not fly about anywhere, making clean up easier and preventing potential injuries. Obviously, it is always better to be over-prepared, so if there are any important or fragile structures nearby such as windows, you may cover them up as well.
  • Protective gear is a must. In order to avoid serious accidents, be sure to wear gloves, safety glasses, steel-toed boots, and hearing protection as you can never know what might happen.

Some tips with using a sledgehammer would be to aim your first hammer blows within 6 inches of an edge. If the slab doesn’t immediately crack, don’t hit the same spot a second time. Move a few inches in any direction and hit again. No need to swing, simply let gravity do the job as swinging may cause injuries.

Step 3. Cleaning Up

After dealing with a portion of the slab, you may use a mattock in order to split the concrete into smaller pieces and get it out of the way. Be careful when handling and wheeling a wheelbarrow while disposing of the debris

Step 4. Repeat

As you get to the middle of the concrete block, continue to dig under the edges or use the pry bar to create a void and break apart the concrete using the sledgehammer. Repeat these steps until all the concrete is loose and movable.

Tools Needed To Break The Concrete 

  • Shovel
  • Pry bar
  • 12 to 20-pound sledgehammer
  • Wheelbarrow or hand truck
  • Mattock
  • Bolt cutters

Bolt cutters would be useful when dealing with mesh or rebars that are applied on the concrete slab. Apart from these, there is also protective gear which includes plastic sheeting or drops cloth, safety glasses, gloves. steel-toed boots, hearing protection, and a dust mask. These are all tools you will need before removing any concrete

Why You Should Contact A Professional Concrete Company

As mentioned, larger-scale projects require professional work. If you’re also not fond of allotting time and effort on such projects, then it is advisable to hire an expert. Our Grand Rapids concrete contractors are professionals. We have experience and have been dealing with concrete removal work for years. With that said, we can confidently say that we would be able to provide you with the best quality work and customer service.

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