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Removing Old Concrete

Project Overview

Removing Old Concrete

A jackhammer makes short work of demolishing a concrete pad, but it's noisy and provides a real workout. Take the time to learn how to use it and follow all safety instructions. Removing concrete is just plain hard work and you may want to hire someone to do it. To do it yourself plan to rent a jackhammer, at the very least, and have a plan to get rid of the broken -up material. Jackhammers are simple to operate, and electric models don't require the expense, noise, and bother of big compressors required for pneumatic hammers. Technically, jackhammers are demolition hammers. Rent a 40-to 50-pound electric demolition hammer and let the weight of the tool do the work. The biggest problem you're likely to face in removing concrete is the wire mesh that runs midway through the slab, which is put in as the concrete is poured in order to tie the concrete together. You'll have to cut through it with the hammer in order to break the concrete into manageable chunks.

4 Steps

  1. PUT THE TIP IN THE HAMMER
  2. PUT THE HAMMER ON THE SURFACE
  3. BREAK UP THE CONCRETE
  4. HAUL AWAY THE RUBBLE
PUT THE TIP IN THE HAMMER

Step 1

PUT THE TIP IN THE HAMMER

Make sure the hammer is unplugged. Swing the retaining arm back toward the handle. Put the cold chisel tool or the cutting point in the socket and swing the arm back in place. The cutting point usually works best when pounding through an old surface.

PUT THE HAMMER ON THE SURFACE

Step 2

PUT THE HAMMER ON THE SURFACE

Plug in the tool and put the cutting edge near an edge or near the damaged area of the surface you want to remove. Most tools have a "no load" striking safety that keeps the hammer from running unless it's on a surface. You may have to push down firmly on the tool to start its motion.

BREAK UP THE CONCRETE

Step 3

BREAK UP THE CONCRETE

Let the weight of the tool do the work-trying to push on it will wear you out without getting the job done any sooner. Move across the surface, breaking it and creating new cracks as you go. Follow the cracks with the jackhammer to break up the concrete more quickly. About 2 inches into the pad, you'll run into the wire reinforcing mesh. Cut through it with the jackhammer, switching to a wider tip, if necessary, to break the concrete into manageable pieces.

HAUL AWAY THE RUBBLE

Step 4

HAUL AWAY THE RUBBLE

Disposal of the rubble will be your hardest job. You can use it as clean fill somewhere in your lot or have it hauled away on a truck. Load the rubble into a wheelbarrow and haul away.

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Project Details

Skill Level: Intermediate

Time: 3 hours

Before you start, read this »

Due to differing conditions, tools, and individual skills, The Home Depot® assumes no responsibility for any damages, injuries suffered, or losses incurred as a result of attempting to replicate any of the home improvement ideas portrayed in this website Before beginning any home improvement project, review it thoroughly to ensure you or your contractor can finish the project and if any doubts or questions remain, consult local experts or authorities. Because codes and regulations vary greatly, you always should check with authorities to ensure that your project complies with all applicable local codes and regulations. Always read and observe all of the safety precautions provided by any tool or equipment manufacturer, and follow all accepted safety procedures.

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