How to Remove Existing Concrete

If you are looking to renovate a section of the outside of your home, or even the inside, and existing concrete is the only thing standing in your way, these easy tips will give you the solution you need to break up that concrete and get it out so you can carry on with your renovations. The job is not as hard as it might sound and can be done in a relatively short amount of time.

First, gather your supplies.

You want a pair of tight fitting, well ventilated eye protection goggles. If you have prescription lenses, you want to find a pair that will fit snugly over them but still allow you clear visibility.

A walk-behind concrete saw (these can be rented if you will only be using it for this one project)

A small sledgehammer (twelve pounds is perfect)

A pry bar

Wheel barrel

A rake or heavy duty wet-dry vac (to get rid of small pieces of concrete left behind)

Thick gloves (these prevent painful blisters when using a sledgehammer)

A respirator or heavy-duty dust mask

Steel toe boots

Put your gear on before you begin the job. Make sure your toes are protected with steel toe boots, your eyes with the goggles, your hands with the gloves, and your lungs with the respirator or dust mask.

Use your walk-behind saw to cut an inch below the concrete you want to remove. Do not try to rush this job as it is the most important part and will ease removal dramatically if done correctly. Stay on course and do not let your blade lift while you are moving. If one inch is not enough to easily break up the concrete, you can make a second cut. Cut along expansion joints for even more ease in breaking up the block.

Now it is time to get the concrete into a state where you can easily remove it. Keep all of your protective gear on and use your sledgehammer to break up the cut concrete into smaller pieces. Make sure there are no pets or people, especially small children, close to you while you are doing this job because the concrete will fly and it will be sharp. Chop the concrete up into pieces that are ideal for removing.

Use your pry bar to remove any pieces the sledge hammer did not get. Be careful because the prying can cause the concrete to pop out and fly at speeds that will amaze you. If you know this going in, and exercise care you can minimize the potential of any danger that could occur from the flying pieces.

If you come across utility lines take great care in burying them deeper than they are if you are going to be building over the surface you are clearing. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, you can hire a professional for just this part of the job at a relatively low cost.

Place your small pieces into the wheel barrel, being careful not to overload it (concrete is heavy!) and take your left over pieces to where you will get rid of them.

Rake up or wet-dry vacuum any small pieces of concrete that are left behind. You want to remove them thoroughly because broken pieces are sharp and hazardous.

You have now cleared a spot to continue along with your renovating project. It was probably a lot simpler than you imagined it would be, and having this heavy part of the job done makes you feel you have (and you have!) accomplished a great deal of the work. Give yourself a pat on the back: you deserve it.

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