If you’ve lived in a home for a few years, you might be looking for a project or two to show off your DIY skills. If the driveway looks a little worn or a patio needs to be replaced, you might think doing the work yourself will be a good way to save some funds. The truth is that concrete removal can be a lot of work, and there are special tools for such a concrete demolition project.
Some of those tools may already be in the garage — such as a sledgehammer, drills, and drill bits — while others are more specialized, like jackhammers and a wrecking ball. That means it’s important to learn more about the most commonly used items in concrete demolition and cutting before heading to the local hardware store looking for what you need.
Deciding if Concrete Demolition Is the Right Move
You might think that the concrete driveway is ready for the dumpster when it’s actually a good candidate for resurfacing. Most homeowners have never taken part in concrete removal, so it’s hard to understand when resurfacing is the best bet and when to hire a demolition contractor. It’s essential to remove the concrete when you see:
- Sunken Concrete
When looking at a concrete slab, driveway, patio, or other concrete structure, does it look like it’s sitting lower than it did a couple of years ago? If yes, there might be a problem with the subgrade or its weight has caused the slab to sink. In this case, it’s time for =removal and a support system before adding new concrete.
If there are a lot of little pitted areas on a concrete surface, there’s a demolition job in the near future. Too much spalling makes it difficult to resurface the concrete and patching isn’t possible.
- Frost Heave
When you live in a really cold area, the frozen ground under the concrete pushes it up. This is a frost heave and a cause for concrete removal.
- Wide or Deep Cracks
These cracks in a driveway or other concrete structures are too wide or deep to patch or resurface successfully. It is likely time for removal and a do over.
Once you decide on demolition services, it’s time to turn the focus to the right demolition tools.
How to Prepare for Concrete Removal
Now that you’ve made the decision to remove concrete, it’s time to get ready for the concrete demolition job. Some tools you’ll need to buy while others can be rented. Here are some of the most common:
It’s a place to put all the broken concrete. When renting a dumpster, the company will remove it after the project is complete or more often if necessary.
This manual tool helps break up the concrete.
This is considered heavy equipment, and it also helps break up concrete.
- Wrecking Ball
This is usually used in building demolition, and it’s considered heavy equipment.
- Hydraulic Breakers
Break up large areas of concrete with this piece of heavy equipment.
When it’s time to move large pieces, and an excavator can remove them.
Demolition tools are essential for any concrete removal project. You’ll want to rent the larger pieces of heavy equipment because doing so is more cost-effective unless you plan to open a concrete demolition company. You’ll want to make sure you know how to use these items before renting them, however, as heavy equipment in inexperienced hands can lead to huge problems and safety risks.
5 Tricks for Common Concrete Demolition Methods
A concrete removal project is a massive undertaking, and is especially daunting because you’ll only do it a couple of times in a lifetime. After deciding to remove concrete instead of resurfacing it, it’s beneficial to review some tips and tricks to make the concrete demolition process safer and easier:
- Have a plan to protect yourself from flying debris.
Whether you use a sledgehammer or a jackhammer, small pieces of concrete will fly into the air. Protect your eyes and skin from the debris with protective eyewear, long pants, and long sleeves.
- Pry it up.
Pull up large pieces after using a sledgehammer to break up the concrete slab so you get the job done more quickly. This might be a good job to enlist a friend to help, so someone breaks up the concrete while the other pries it up.
- Rent a dumpster with a gate.
Tossing heavy chunks of concrete is going to wear you out. If the dumpster has a gate, rolling a wheelbarrow in and dumping the concrete pieces is a snap.
- Use the chisel-point drill bit.
If you decide to rent a jackhammer from a heavy equipment store, only use the chisel-point drill bit to break up the concrete.
- Use a mattock to break up large chunks.
There may still be large pieces after using the sledgehammer to break up the concrete. A mattock is an easy way to break them into manageable chunks.
A demolition professional can provide you with more tips and tricks, but these are the basics. It might be beneficial to rethink concrete demolition and removal as a DIY home improvement project and instead trust the process to a professional team that can get the job done right.
Reasons to Consider Demolition Contractors for Concrete Removal
Breaking up concrete and hauling it away is difficult work. There are many pros to hiring a professional for a concrete demolition project.
- Someone else deals with the hassle.
When you hand off a home improvement project to a concrete demolition contractor, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of learning how to handle heavy equipment, maintain safety, and understand the ins and outs of the trade. They already know them.
- The project gets finished quickly.
Depending on the size of the slab, it could take a couple of days or weekends to finish a concrete removal project. A professional concrete contractor can do it much more quickly and get you well on your way to brand new concrete in no time.
- It might be more cost-effective.
Renting heavy equipment and buying tools can be expensive, and then there’s the cost of a dumpster. Do a spreadsheet of costs as a DIY project and get a quote from a concrete demolition contractor before deciding which route is best for you. Don’t forget to add in the time and effort of learning how to tackle the project, including budgeting for any mistakes you make.
At Limitless Paving & Concrete, our team knows all the tips and tricks to remove your concrete slab or patio quickly and safely. Contact us today for an estimate on any size concrete demolition job.