Tips for Demolishing Concrete

Learn how to break up an existing concrete pad without becoming overwhelmed or injured.
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One worker breaks up the concrete pad with the jackhammer while the other uses the Sawzall to cut the wire holding the big chunks together.

When deciding whether or not to break up an existing concrete pad, keep in mind that it can be a great deal of work that could easily cause burn out on before the project is begun. To make things easier, first determine what is beneath the surface. If there appears to be an overflow of concrete around the bottom edges of the pad it can usually be assumed that there is a minimal amount of concrete used and the pad may in fact be hollow. This can make what first seemed to be a huge demolition job, in reality, a much easier task.

If wire is found instead of rebar reinforcement in the concrete, don't get discouraged. A small, portable reciprocating saw, called a Sawzal, can help cut up the wire so that the jackhammer-demolished pieces can be removed as demolition proceeds. This will give more room to work and make the job much easier than trying to rip the concrete from the wire by hand or picking it all up at the end.

Even if there is not rebar running throughout the concrete, there is a good chance that there will be a rebar anchor attached to the house, up against the foundation. If this is the case, use a reciprocating saw with a metal blade to cut the anchor. Cut it off as close to the wall as possible, but can use a 5-lb. hammer to pound any remaining anchor into the foundation. Then, epoxy the hole to give it a smooth, clean look and keep water from leaking into the house.

To aid in breaking up the concrete, use a "spud bar" in conjunction with the jackhammer. Jam the flat end of the spud bar into the cracks formed by the jackhammer, firmly grip the handle with both hands and use leverage to pry chunks of concrete from the pad for removal.

Safety Tips: Be careful lifting big chunks of concrete as doing so can cause injury rather easily. Bend straight down at the knees and use legs to lift, not the back. If the wheelbarrow used to haul concrete starts to tip, just let it go. Do not try to save it because the falling concrete could cause serious injury. It's to pick up the pieces and start over than getting an injury yourself while trying to save a little time.

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