Many DIY projects require the removal of old concrete, particularly concrete used for floors. Often, our concrete is used to replace an existing slab that has been lifted.
One common reason would be to dig down below the current floor level in a cellar so that you can achieve more head height. Often, concrete floors need to be removed because they’re damaged or cracked.
Removing concrete isn’t an easy task, but if you approach it with the right tools, it’s a lot quicker.
Before you approach the job, you’ll need to know:
- How thick the concrete is (you may need to dig down around the edge to find out).
- Whether the concrete is reinforced in any way.
- Whether there are any pipes running underneath the concrete.
- Whether there are any access restrictions that might stop people or tools getting to the site.
- How you’ll dispose of the concrete; can you arrange for it to be recycled?
- What kind of state the site needs to be in before new concrete is laid.
- Whether anyone is available to help you.
You will also need to be realistic about your own level of skill; breaking up concrete is not easy. People with back problems or other issues may find it very difficult to remove concrete, and pneumatic tools may exacerbate existing injuries.
If you have any doubts about your ability to do the job, get someone to help – or hire a contractor.
Removing concrete involves breaking it up into and pieces and removing the rubble. Thin layers can be broken up using a hammer, although it’s hard work. If you only have a few slabs to remove, you may be able to prise them up or break them in half without any extra tools.
If the concrete is thicker than a kitchen work surface, you will probably need to hire one or two things to make the job easier, since you won’t be able to break the concrete by hand.
Assuming you have the necessary access for large tools, the job will be far easier with a jackhammer; you can turn a large slab into a pile of maneuverable pieces in a few minutes. Remember that you’ll need appropriate ear protection.
If you want to remove a small section of the concrete, you’ll need a heavy-duty circular saw and a hammer drill to score and cut the concrete. This can also help you to leverage larger pieces if you have a very large area to deal with.
Once the concrete has been broken up, you will need a suitable vehicle to transport the rubble, unless you’re paying for a professional to remove it. Unless the amount of waste concrete is very small, we strongly advise that you use an appropriate van rather than a car.