If your concrete driveway, walkway, or patio is looking more than a little worn, it may be time to demolish the structure and start over with fresh material. Concrete removal isn’t your average DIY project, though. It requires special tools for cutting, such as a jackhammer and excavators, and some concrete slabs contain rebar for extra strength. You need to know the right way to handle demolition before you get started, and the steps involved might mean the work is more than you’re ready to deal with.
This guide to concrete removal will help you decide if your project is something you can tackle in a weekend, or one that might be better left to a professional team.
Reasons for Concrete Removal
When you’re working on a concrete-related project, there’s a lot to learn. First you need to know how to determine whether it requires removal or resurfacing. Here are some reasons you might opt for concrete removal.
Sunken Concrete Slab
If a concrete slab begins to sink into the ground, the structure is no longer sound. It’s a good idea to plan a demolition project to remove the slab, and beneficial to provide another form of support for the slab before laying down new concrete. In some cases, the concrete slab sinks because extreme weight causes the subgrade to become compacted, so you’ll want to take steps to prevent that from happening again in the future.
You should start planning a demolition when there are deep cracks in your concrete. You can’t simply use grout to patch it, so there isn’t much hope of repairing what’s there. Deep cracks occur for myriad reasons, too, such as too much weight or problems with the subgrade.
Signs of Frost Heave
When the ground below a concrete slab freezes and expands, it pushes the concrete structure up. This is called frost heave, and it normally only occurs in extremely cold environments. When you find signs of frost heave, start looking for a dumpster and a wrecking ball.
Spalling is the tiny little pits that can appear in concrete structures. You’ll find that it’s more cost-effective to hire demolition services than to attempt resurfacing.
Average Costs of Concrete Demolition
The costs of concrete removals vary based on many factors, including how you source your tools and labor. You might think the DIY route is more cost-effective until learning the costs of buying or renting demolition tools, for example — and that’s before the manual effort and time you’re going to have to put in. The cost of the entire project typically runs between $500 and $1,800, with an average cost of $775.
Demolition contractors put a lot of work into concrete removal, so there’s much included in the cost, including:
- Demolition tools
- Labor for concrete removal
- Clearing demolished concrete and rebar
- Dumpster needed for larger products
- Hauling away the removed concrete to leave the yard dust-free
The method used can also play a part in overall costs. Does the demolition agent need to bring excavators, sledgehammers, heavy equipment, and other tools to the job site to complete it? These are all elements to consider before deciding if DIY or hiring the pros is the right move.
Factors That Affect the Costs of Concrete Removal
You’ve probably seen home improvement shows where the demolition contractor goes in with a jackhammer, starts removing a concrete slab, and two minutes later it goes to commercial. They don’t show the hours that go into actually removing that slab or driveway, but that is a cost- and time-intensive process. There are many other factors that affect the overall expense of demolition services, too. Here’s a look at a few:
Larger projects require more time and effort, so it’s going to cost more to have the concrete removed from the driveway than from a small patio — even if you go the DIY route. Determine a rough estimate of square footage by multiplying the number of feet in the length of the area by the number of feet in the width. A patio that measures four feet by six feet has 24 square feet of space.
Many times concrete is reinforced with rebar or wire mesh to make it stronger and help it keep its shape. When tackling a concrete removal project, you need to remove the rebar or wire mesh too. Sawing isn’t enough to remove it, either, which means it’s going to cost more to demolition concrete with reinforcement materials in it.
Age of the Concrete
Yes, it’s going to cost more to have new concrete removed than older concrete. Why? Because new concrete is made from a different formula that’s harder to remove than the older formula. This is common in construction projects, as processes and consistencies tend to evolve as better options become available.
3 Benefits of Hiring Concrete Demolition Services
Removing concrete is a lot of hard work and requires more skills and training than you might think, so it’s best to bring in a professional instead than tackle it yourself. Here are just some of the many benefits to hiring a demolition contractor.
1. You get the correct tools (and people who know how to use them).
From hydraulic breakers and a wrecking ball to drill bits and jackhammers, there are many possible tools needed to make concrete removal easier. While you might be able to rent some tools, it’s easier and more cost-effective to hire a professional team.
2. You save yourself time.
If you’ve ever tackled a concrete removal project, you’ve probably only done it once or twice. Demolition services are very practiced at removing these materials, and know how to quickly and efficiently cut through the rebar, too.
3. Someone else does the hard work.
You might have a picture of handly swinging a sledgehammer over your head and breaking up the concrete, but it isn’t that easy. Concrete removal can be a very physical job without the right tools. Hiring a professional team for concrete removal will save you some aches and pains.
At Limitless Paving & Concrete, we are ready to give homeowners a quote on any size project and help determine if their projects need concrete removal or resurfacing. We’ve got all the best tools, too, as well as a team of experts dedicated to getting the job done right. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.