5 Simple Tips for Easier Concrete Breaking

Whether you like it or not, concrete is here to stay, They’re everywhere: From the buildings we live, work and shop in, the pavements we walk on, even at parks and green spaces. Concrete is a fact of our modern life. So much so, that it’s second only to water as the most widely used material in the world.

Concrete is everywhere, and the material is incredibly durable. Roman roads built over two thousand years ago are still being used today. So what happens when we need to build something over existing concrete? It’s not like wood which naturally decays on its own, and can easily be dismantled. Not surprisingly, concrete is notoriously laborious and challenging to break apart, more so if there’s steel rebar in it.

Contractors, construction firms and professional rely on heavy tools and machinery to facilitate the concrete demolition process. Tools such as sledgehammers, power breakers and demolition hammers are construction site mainstays, and make the job of concrete demolition possible.

But no demolition tool is more recognisable than the mighty jackhammer. Used by everyone, from casual hobbyists to hardcore professionals, the tool packs a mighty punch, and is easily sourced. They’re so easy to find that there are a lot of jackhammers for sale available, whether online or from brick-and-mortar outlets.

You may find yourself needing to break concrete. You may want to expand your garden by removing your concrete patio, or expose the dirt underneath by breaking apart the concrete layer on top. To do that, you have two options: Hire construction professionals to do the job for you, or do it yourself. But where’s the fun in that? If you’re like me, you’d rather do things your way. And no one knows your way better than you.

If you need to demolish concrete, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few tips and tricks to make concrete demolition easier.

1 – Scope the area

Check the area targeted for demolition. The first thing you need to know is the thickness of the concrete. Sometimes, it can be as straightforward as looking from the side, like for patios and gazebos. But when the concrete is embedded into the ground, you may need to resort to more physical methods.

Use a sledgehammer to hammer a few blows into the slab. If the slab won’t budge after repeated blows, then it’s too thick (more than 4 inches) for a sledgehammer and you will have to use a jackhammer instead.

2 – Work in teams

While you might want to do everything yourself, I highly recommend hiring an extra hand or two or asking your friends to help out. This will speed things up, and the extra hands can help in removing the debris away from the site. Two people could work on demolishing the concrete, and another three or four to take the debris away.

3 – Proper rubble disposal

You can’t just throw the rubble into a garbage bin, you will need to make arrangements with a waste disposal company or a concrete recycler to take the concrete rubble away. For particularly large projects, ask the company if they could provide a disposal container to make rubble collection easier. Be sure to give them details regarding the concrete dimension or thickness so they can properly gauge the size of the container.

4 – Cover the area

Before inflicting the full force of a sledgehammer or jackhammer on the concrete slab, make sure to cover the area with a sheet of plastic. This ensures no shrapnel or projectile flies up during the demolition process, reducing the possibility of injury and damage to nearby structures.

The plastic will contain the rubble and dust produced while breaking up the concrete. While the dust flying out will be greatly reduced, you will still have to wear a respirator. Make sure you’re wearing work boots to avoid accidental slip-ups.

5 – Pry the concrete out

Resist the urge to just start hammering away at the slab. The earth underneath the slab will just absorb the force from each blow. For more efficient concrete breaking, one person will work the sledgehammer will the other on will pry up the concrete with a pry bar. Start at the corners and work your way inward into the slab.

6 – Separate sections

Even after breaking concrete apart, the slab chunks will still remain locked together, making it more difficult to work on the surrounding areas. Use a mattock to separate the slab chunks after breaking them. This will make the breaking process easier.

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1) Drilling:
Use 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) drill bit, holes should be drilled 1 ft (30 cm) apart.
80-90% of the depth, DO NOT go through.
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Mix well to a slurry. (a drill and paddle is recommended)
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Dexpan® slurry should be poured into holes within 10-15 minutes after mixing.
Coverage: Normally one 11 lb. (5 kg.) bag can fill up to 9 lineal feet (2.5 meters).
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Properly mixed, the cracks may appear after 2-8 hours. Allow 24 hours for best results.
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Do not breathe in dust. Avoid eye and skin contact. If eye or skin contact should occur, rinse it off IMMEDIATELY with plenty of water and consult doctor.
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