If you take a good look at your home's poured concrete driveway or back deck, you’ll quickly realize that you’re actually gazing at a five-inch thick layer of solid rock. If there is cracking, settling, or surface damage that requires you to remove your concrete patio piece by piece for a full-on replacement, you’ll want to listen up. We’ve got tips for you to learn how to remove concrete on your own (though you might want to just go ahead and hire a pro).
How to Dispose of Concrete
Let’s face it: Busting up old concrete slabs is hard labor. The material, a rock-hard slurry of sand and Portland cement, is designed to withstand decades—if not centuries—of exposure to the elements. And unless you have the right tools to remove a concrete patio from the backyard of your home, it’s an extremely challenging task to tackle.
Most city and county dumpsites will take demolished concrete. Additionally, commercial construction sites in need of infill material will let you safely dispose of it on their property. An alternative eco-friendly method for disposing of old concrete is to repurpose it into a retaining or gabion wall for your garden or to line the edge of your property.
Removing cement from your home entirely is almost as much work as the physical task of removing it from the yard bit by bit. Lifting concrete chunks into a truck, driving them to a dump, and then removing each piece by hand can be a tedious, back-breaking effort depending on the volume of concrete you’re moving around. The professionals use dump trucks, so if you don’t want to go through the laborious process of learning how to remove a concrete slab, a local concrete removal company can handle this project for you.
How to Prep for Removing Cement
The first thing that you’ll want to do before beginning to remove a concrete patio is to line up the heavy equipment rentals, which will make your concrete removal project easier. Jackhammers come in various iterations, with electric jackhammers the most popular option for DIYers; they simply plug into a standard 120V outlet. Compressed air or hydraulics drive the heavier-duty versions of jackhammers, but are usually overkill for a simple deck, porch, patio, or driveway in a typical residence. If you have a particularly large concrete removal project in mind, you’ll also want to reserve a skid steer and dump truck to do all the heavy lifting.
The second prep step before removing a concrete slab is to arrange for delivery of the new material for pouring into the new framework of its replacement. Lead times for concrete plants can be long if you’re located in an area seeing a big boom of construction projects, and the mess that you’ll create during demolition will be an eyesore if you haven’t planned ahead to pour a fresh concrete slab immediately.
Since concrete is delivered in volume by cubic yards, calculate the amount you’ll need by multiplying the width by the length by the depth, in feet. Divide this number by 27 to figure out the cubic footage for your delivery order. For example, a 10-by-10-by-0.5-foot area will require 1.85 cubic yards of wet concrete to fill.