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How To Complete Your Own Concrete Slab Demolition

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When a concrete slab on your property needs to be removed to make space for another structure or because it is beyond repair, you can do the demolition work yourself and save on some of the labor costs. Be sure to wear safety gear, such as safety glasses and wear hearing protection when using any powered equipment. Here are some steps to help you safely complete a demolition of your concrete patio, driveway, or other surface.

Select Your Demolition Tool

Depending on the size of the concrete slab you need to demolish and your ability to use heavy equipment, you can choose from several different tools to break apart the concrete. You can choose a sledgehammer or a jackhammer.

A sledgehammer has some weight to it, some weighing approximately 19 pounds. Using this type of hammer will require you to have sufficient muscle and energy to lift and swing the hammer into the concrete.

You can also choose to rent either an electric or pneumatic jackhammer from a local equipment rental business. A pneumatic jackhammer is powered by a compressor and has more power but will also weigh more than an electric jackhammer. If you decide to rent either type of jackhammer, talk to the associate at the equipment rental office to determine which would be easier to use.

Work From Outside Inward

It is important to break apart the concrete with the sledgehammer or jackhammer beginning on a corner of your concrete slab. If you begin to break apart the concrete with a jackhammer in the center or away from an edge, the concrete will only chip away on its surface and make the work more difficult.

When using a jackhammer, start on a corner and use the chisel tip on the surface of the concrete until you begin to see a crack form. Then, remove the jackhammer's bit and move approximately two to three inches away from the crack to continue breaking. 

Pry Up Concrete Chunks 

You will also need a long-handled concrete pry bar or "spud bar" with a chisel tip to separate and remove the broken concrete. As you create cracks to break apart the concrete into movable pieces, use the pry bar to pull apart the broken off chunks. Insert the chisel tip of the pry bar below a chunk or between pieces and use the pry bar's leverage to move the chunks apart.

You can rent a heavy-duty pry bar at most equipment rental businesses. It can be helpful if you have someone working with you to use the pry bar and separate the chunks as you break the concrete apart with a sledge or jackhammer.

Remove Rebar

Often, a concrete slab or driveway can contain rebar, which was installed inside the concrete to reinforce it. As you break apart the concrete and discover any rebar contained inside the chunks, you will need a cutting tool, such as a sawzall or other reciprocating saw to cut the rebar.

Be careful when you cut any rebar connecting a concrete slab to your home's foundation. Carefully cut the rebar off from and as close to the foundation without damaging the concrete foundation of your home. Then, when the concrete slab is removed from your home's foundation, fill any holes in the foundation with a concrete epoxy. This will prevent any water from entering your home's foundation and causing water damage.

Dispose of Broken Concrete

Once you have broken apart your concrete slab, you will need to decide how you will dispose of the chunks. Most cities don't allow disposal of concrete in their curbside trash collection containers, because of the concrete's heavy weight. Instead, you can rent a disposal bin to deposit the chunks into where it can later be taken to the landfill.

Recycling your concrete chunks is a smarter way to dispose of the concrete, as the chunks can be recycled into an aggregate for new concrete mixture. Crushed concrete can also be used as a base layer in construction projects. Locate a local recycling company that can send out a truck to your home to pick up the concrete for recycling. Recycling your broken concrete helps the environment as it limits the amounts of new materials that need to be mined for new concrete production. 

Use this information to help you demolition and dispose of a concrete slab. For more information, contact a company like Garrett Concrete Cutting, Coring & Sawing Inc - Chino.