05:05PM | 07/20/01
Member Since: 07/05/01
6 lifetime posts
How should I break up large slabs of congrete, concrete walk and concrete steps. do I have to hire or rent a big breaker thing?


05:51AM | 03/29/02
Member Since: 03/21/02
20 lifetime posts
Yes, you will need to rent a jackhammer. You can get an electric one (the guys who work in the street use larger pneumatic ones) at the rental store. Get the biggest one they have; it makes your work easier. If you have a really, really big friend, consider bribing him to help you out. Free beer might help.

It is not a job for the 110 pound person. Depending on the construction of what you have, it might be really easy or really hard. The walkway is not likely to be too bad, but the steps might have a foot of concrete.

For the steps, try hammering them at the thinnest places first. That would be the area where your toes are when you walk up them. If that does not yield to the jackhammer, I would try using a house jack to lift them up at the bottom an inch or two in order to put stress on the unit, and then hammering some more. You may also have to attack the sides of the steps (making a line where the crack SHOULD appear), but you will have to hold the hammer horizontally, which is a lot of work.

Keep in mind, concrete is very strong in compression (pushed down), but very weak in tension (pulled apart), so you want to create tension.

The steel that is in the concrete will need to be cut with bolt cutters, so get a pair of those, which are not that expensive.

You will also need to haul away the debris. There is a service in most cities 1-800-gotjunk that will come to your house and take it to the dump for you. Call them for rates.

You will also need to wear hearing, breathing, and especially eye protection.

Another alternative is to beuld your new steps OVER the old ones. If you are going to attempt this yourself, do the sidewalk first, and then evaluate your willingness to proceed.


07:38AM | 03/29/02
Another possible option you may want to consider is renting a “Bobcat” skid loader. They are relatively easy to operate. (Read the operator’s handbook first.) The rental on this equipment should be in the neighborhood of $200/day and they will have an operator’s handbook you can read. This machine is a small front-end loader that is hydraulically operated and has the power to lift and drop one edge of the concrete walk causing it to break.

With a little practice and patience you should be able to break up the steps as well by lifting from under the front side of the bottom step to get it away from the wall, then lift one side and drop it. To make this work even better, lift it on one end and place a large chunk of concrete under it. Then lift and drop as before, dropping it on the chunk of concrete. This will stress the concrete in the middle making it break easier. IF the steps do turn out to be too thick to break and too heavy for the machine to load on a truck, you may need to rent an electric jackhammer. (This does not happen too often.)

The thing to remember is after to break up the concrete you will have to move it. This machine will make this a lot easier also. If you need to load the debris on a truck it will handle the task easier and quicker. One more thing it keep in mind, a skid loader will do some damage to grass when you turn on it. This is easy enough to repair when compared to the alternative of manually breaking and moving the concrete.

I use this method all the time to remove old concrete. I would not dream of doing a concrete demolition job with out the use of a machine to move it and load it when I am finished.

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