Breaking Down a Concrete Slab

If you ever want to replace your concrete patio, you will have work taking out the old one. There are two tools that work well: Jackhammer and sledgehammer. For those of you thinking a Jackhammer, because it’s mechanical, is an easier, more efficient tool to use, think again: jackhammers are heavy to lug around, and a day of holding one can leave you with stiff and sore arms, and an aching back. to know which method will work best for the job you have, test it out. If you have a sledge at home, use it on the slab, see if the concrete is old enough or even porous enough (sometimes if you have cracks the concrete has been installed incorrectly, and there’s gaps and the like throughout it) to break away in chunks.
If so, a sledge is going to be your best and easiest bet; if not, you will have to rent a jackhammer. To prep the area for demolition, one thing you can do is cover the area with a sheet of plastic. The plastic will keep the concrete debris from striking you or your home, and making clean up much easier.

Tips for the sledge

A sledgehammer works best if there’s two people: one person with a long pry bar—something that can get under the edge of the concrete to keep it from compressing into the ground every time the sledge hits. Begin working at one edge of the patio and work in at an angle. Where on the concrete you hit is important, and you will want to strike the surface at different points as you progress down the patio.

The Jackhammer

Jackhammers are heavy and can be difficult to use. But, having said that, attach a chisel bit to your jackhammer (if you have any questions as to how to attach a bit, the rental company where you get the jackhammer should be able to show you). Position the jackhammer near an edge of the concrete and turn it on. As you progress, work in at angle, chipping away small pieces. If the jackhammer goes straight through, boring a whole, lift it out to find another spot.