How To Break Up Concrete Without Heavy Equipment

If you have a large concrete slab that you need to break up, this can be a major job. This is sometimes necessary if you want to remodel your backyard and remove your patio or you want to remove a concrete driveway and lay down another type of driveway material. It can be labor-intensive if you don't have access to heavy equipment. If you can't get your hands on equipment for removing concrete, the following tips will help you break it up by hand.

Dig Around the Concrete

To break up concrete, you need to make some space around it. Find the edge of your concrete slab and start digging around it. You might be digging up some of your lawn if you are breaking up a patio, but it is necessary to gain access to the concrete. In most cases, you are digging up mostly sand, dirt and small pebbles to get around the concrete. You should not only have a border dug up around the edges of the concrete, but digging below the depth of the concrete as well. This is going to come in handy during the next steps.

Use a Sledgehammer

A common mistake people make when breaking up concrete with a sledgehammer is attempting to swing it. This is not necessary and will use a lot more muscles than you need to use. If you are trying to swing a sledgehammer, you won't make it more than a few swings before you get tired. Instead of trying to swing it, you are just going to lift it and let it fall.

Protect your hands with gloves, then grab a hold of the sledgehammer. Hold it as close to the head as you can, as there will be more stability there. Place your other hand near the end of the handle. Lift it high and let it fall on the concrete. Don't try to use force, but just let it fall on the concrete. It will still break up the concrete with this method.

When breaking up the concrete, try to get larger chunks as they are easier to remove and dispose of. Small chunks and rubble can be a pain to remove from the slab and clean up from the area.

Pry Out the Chunks

Once you start breaking up the concrete with the sledgehammer, you will need to remove them. As you do so, you will notice some are easy to remove, while others only have hairline cracks but aren't completely split. This is when your pry bar comes in handy. Place the flat end of the pry bar into the crack and wiggle it until it gets an inch or so into the crack. Pull back on the pry bar to let the crack split the pieces of concrete in two. Continue doing this for all cracks until you can start pulling the large chunks of concrete off the slab.

If this job now seems like more than you can handle, or if you simply need help with a part of the process like hauling the concrete away, contact Berry & Vale Contracting or another local excavator for help.