What is the best way to break up concrete?

The article aims to answer the question “Best way to break up concrete?”. It will also mention the best ways and tools to use when breaking up the concrete.

Read on to know more:

What is the best way to break up concrete?

The best way to break up concrete is to use a hammer. While hiring a team to come in and break up concrete may seem like a good idea if you just need a small area removed, it might be overkill — not to mention costly! 

Even though breaking up concrete isn’t a simple undertaking, it can be done with a little forethought, the correct equipment, and a good dose of persistence.

What are the best tools to break up concrete?

Following are the best tools to break up concrete:

Rotary hammer

This is the most common method of removal in situations like this, and it’s the most effective in the majority of instances. An electric hammer isn’t exactly the same thing as an electric rotary hammer; they’re two separate types of instruments that do comparable tasks. 

The in-line D-handle tool is very competent, despite the fact that rotary hammers exist in a variety of sizes. A 34-inch-wide chipping bit, known as an “iron,” is used to efficiently break up tiny pieces of concrete and remove over-pour and other globs from surfaces. 

Using a 1 12-inch spade bit, you may easily remove tile from a subfloor while avoiding the dangers of thin-set mortar. CMU (concrete masonry units) walls may be dismantled piece by block using rotary hammers.

Digging bar:

A digging bar may be useful in the event that the ground is covered with hardened concrete (along with other types of soft stone, impossibly thick clay, and roots). In essence, it’s a jackhammer that runs on human power.

By blow-by-blow, it may generate a fault line in concrete that can be used to remove the material. To be safe, always wear gloves while using digging bars, since they might cause blisters.

Sledgehammer

A sledgehammer is the best option when installing sump pits or perimeter drains in basement slabs in older homes, there is a noticeable exception. Substrates like coal cinders are commonly covered with thin concrete slabs of an inch or less in thickness.

A rotary hammer or a jackhammer is used to quickly puncture the surface and then wedge itself into the ground for further work. It’s preferable to use blunt force on thin, fragile concrete. 

While it’s a lot of labour, steel-on-concrete shockwaves break apart more quickly than other instruments can give at the sharp tip of a chisel iron.

How to break up concrete when I want to remove the whole slab?

To break up concrete when you want to remove the whole slab:

  • Please contact your utility providers. Check with your local utility providers to ensure there aren’t any hidden services under the pavement before digging any holes. If there are, get a professional. Excavating atop a gas or electric utility line may be quite risky.
  • Put on your safety gear. If you’re going to be removing concrete, make sure you and your employees are properly protected with safety gear including goggles, masks, and boots with steel toes or other heavy soles.
  • Protect delicate things by covering the slab with plastic sheets. Keep an eye out for potential sliding and tripping hazards while utilizing plastic sheets. But if you’re removing concrete near delicate goods or buildings, sheeting is a sensible investment.
  • A hefty pry bar will come in handy here. It is possible that you will have to pry away the concrete fragments as you break them apart using a sledgehammer or a jackhammer. It’s easier to remove concrete if you have two people working at it at once, one breaking it up and the other pulling it apart.
  • A sledgehammer is best for working with thin slabs. Use a sledgehammer if your concrete is less than 4 inches (10 cm) thick. The best way to break through thick concrete is from the outside edges, so begin at any existing fissures or corners.
  • The slabs that are tough to break may be dug out of the ground. Soil removal under the slab, or “undermining,” causes the cement to crumble more readily. Clear the dirt under the concrete’s lip with a shovel before hammering it in place.
  • Dismantle the structure using a power demolition device. Most household projects may be completed with a 60-pound (27.2-kg) breaker. Only use a heavy-duty pneumatic jackhammer if you’re dealing with concrete that’s very hard to crack.
  • Any mesh or reinforcement bars you encounter should be dealt with. Depending on the thickness of the concrete, you may run against reinforcements when you begin to cut through it. Separate the bits of concrete and deal with them as you’re doing so.
  • Using a mattock, deconstruct clumped-together pieces. Make sure that the surrounding debris is cleared away if the concrete remains firmly encased. Afterwards, a hefty mattock may be used to pull stuck pieces away.

How to break a small portion of concrete?

To break a small portion of concrete:

  • Decide on the location of the concrete break. If you know where to search for broken water or drain lines, you may save a lot of time and money.
  • Make a mark on the slab where you wish to cut off a section. For less obvious repairs, you may want to take measurements from the slab’s edge. Mark the area with a pencil or a piece of chalk to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Use the power to shut off all applicable appliances. Be sure to turn off the electricity or water before you start excavating if you have a certain pipe in mind. Electricity, floods, or a gas leak aren’t risks you want to take.
  • Take a moment to look at the line in all its glory. Demolition saws and concrete cutoffs may be rented. When you’re done, be sure to cleanly cut the line to produce a neat edge. A damaged water pipe may need enlarging a hole in order to find the source of the leak.
  • Chip the concrete around the cut. Concrete next to the sawed line may be chipped with a heavy-duty hammer drill or with the breaking chisel attachment on a rotary hammer. Make sure you’re holding the chisel so the side you’re going to remove breaks lose, not the side you’re going to stay holding.
  • Deepen the hole over time. Work the region surrounding the incision with the same instrument until you’ve penetrated the slab to the bottom. Because the bits you break off can only fall into a certain spot, this is the most difficult element of the work.
  • Chip away at the wall to widen it. Using the same tool that you used to chip away at the concrete, continue to chip away at the rest of the concrete. To remove all of the shattered bits, widen the opening to at least 3 inches (8 cm).
  • Use a sledgehammer or motorized jackhammer to break up bigger chunks. This section’s removal procedures may be used after you’ve created a large enough opening to prevent damage to the concrete you want to maintain.
  • The hole’s walls need to be cleaned up. Once the concrete has been removed, use a chipper to smooth and level the hole’s vertical walls. If you’re not going to replace the concrete, this will give your repair additional sturdiness (or a more appealing edge).
  • Look for the broken pipe (if applicable). Look for water puddles or stains as you walk if you’re looking for a damaged utility like a water pipe. Breaking concrete throughout the pipe’s length may be necessary to locate the damaged piece.

How to dispose of broken concrete?

Follow the given instructions to dispose of broken concrete:

  • Use the debris as fill. Using part of the debris to fill a huge hole in your yard is a good idea. Cover any pipes or other things with dirt beforehand to prevent harming them with backfilled concrete.
  • Use a wheelbarrow or hand truck with a large capacity. Move the debris to a bigger trash container using a heavy-duty wheelbarrow. Concrete is incredibly hefty and may destroy light wheelbarrows. 
  • As an alternative, you may utilize a hand truck. Moving the parts a few feet instead of lifting them into the wheelbarrow is all that is required.
  • You may get a dumpster from a waste management firm. If you want to get rid of a huge volume of concrete, this is your best choice. Many disposal providers offer a lower charge for discarding clean broken concrete.
  • Contact landfills regarding the cost of disposal. There are several landfills that will take concrete if they are designated for “C&D” materials (Construction and Demolition). The fees for dumps like these might be exorbitant, so it’s smart to verify ahead.
  • Drive the cement to the dump. You may not be able to fit as much concrete into your truck as you believe. Be sure to load up your vehicle just halfway. Full-sized vehicles can probably get away with half-full tanks, while smaller ones might do better with a quarter-full.
  • Repurpose old concrete for a new home improvement project. It is possible to build a raised garden bed out of old concrete blocks. To make a sidewalk or stepping stones, you may also use concrete pieces that are similar in appearance to pavers. Garden decorations may be made from painted chunks with unique shapes.

Conclusion 

In certain cases, you may need to remove a part of concrete so that you can get to a repairable subterranean utility, or maybe it’s time to transform an area of paved land into a natural area. 

With the correct equipment and a little elbow grease, you’ll be able to break up the concrete and remove it from the area. After that, all that’s left to do is gather the shattered concrete and transport it to a nearby dump.

Frequently asked questions (FAQS): The best way to break up concrete?

What are the best tools to break up concrete?

Rotary hammer. This is the most common method of removal in situations like this, and it’s the most effective in the majority of instances. An electric hammer isn’t exactly the same thing as an electric rotary hammer; they’re two separate types of instruments that do comparable tasks. 

How to dispose of broken concrete?

Use the debris as fill. Using part of the debris to fill a huge hole in your yard is a good idea. Cover any pipes or other things with dirt beforehand to prevent harming them with backfilled concrete.

Use a wheelbarrow or hand truck with a large capacity. Move the debris to a bigger trash container using a heavy-duty wheelbarrow. Concrete is incredibly hefty and may destroy light wheelbarrows. 

What is the easiest way to break concrete?

Most of us immediately think of a jackhammer when considering how to break up concrete. However, if you have a metal sledgehammer and a lot of determination, you can definitely get the job done. If the slab of concrete is less than three inches thick, a sledgehammer is an ideal instrument to use.

Bibliography

Lee Wallender. How to break up concrete with a hand? The spruce. Retrieved from: https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-break-up-concrete-by-hand-1822001

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