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Blog: How To Break Up A Concrete Base

5 Jul 2016

Breaking up a concrete base or slab may sound like the type of job you would need a professional for. However, with the correct tools, safety precautions and a bit of advice, it is a job that many people would be able to do themselves at home; whether you’re breaking up a patio, a garden wall or a concrete base of a floor.

Concrete breaking tools

Concrete slabs are tough and robust. It could take hours to break them up using manual tools and brute force. Fortunately, powered breakers and demolition equipment are available for hire nationwide at very competitive rates. You can use a heavy duty demolition hammer for breaking up concrete slabs, asphalt and brickwork. For more robust, heavy duty surfaces such as driveways, paths and roads, you can use an electric road breaker to break up the concrete. Such tools are usually 110v pieces of equipment, so you would also need a transformer to plug them into a 240v domestic mains supply.

Safety equipment

Breaking up concrete produces dust and small chippings which could cause you harm. Therefore is it important that you protect yourself with appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). You should wear safety goggles to protect your eyes and a dust mask to prevent breathing in any dust. You should also wear heavy duty work boots, ear plugs, heavy duty gloves and long sleeves to keep your skin covered from any chippings.

Prepare the area for concrete breaking

You must ensure that there are no water, gas, power or telephone lines nearby or underneath the concrete slab that you want to break up. The area should be completely clear of sticks, leaves, debris, tools, rocks and anything else that could get in the way.

Breaking up the concrete

The best way to break up a concrete base is to do it methodically, in a grid pattern. This makes the work safer and more efficient, as you are working on small sections at a time and you are able to stand on solid ground whilst working in front of yourself. You should tackle the concrete slab by breaking it up into several smaller pieces which are easier to pick up.

So once you have cleared the area, put on all of the appropriate safety equipment and plugged the concrete breaker into a power supply, you are ready to begin breaking the concrete base.

You should start breaking the concrete on the side that is furthest away from the power supply and work backwards. This is so that, as you break the concrete, you can stand on the solid, flat concrete surface that hasn’t been broken yet.

Hold the breaker firmly upright, and place the point of the breaker on the concrete base. Switch the breaker on and it will begin to vibrate as it hammers the chisel point into the concrete base. The chisel point will begin to chip, crack and break the concrete base up.

As you work through the ‘grid’, look for cracks and broken pieces of concrete and work the breaker along those. This will make it much easier to break up the concrete. You do not need to push down on the concrete breaker too hard – simply let it do the breaking. Never angle the breaker diagonally, as this could cause you to lose control of the breaker. Work slowly and carefully, taking care over where you step. Remember to keep the power cord behind you at all times, away from the point of the breaker.

As you work, it can be helpful to pause periodically to remove concrete debris that is in your way as you work your way across the concrete base.
Continue to work with the concrete breaker until the entire base has been broken up into pieces small enough to dispose of easily.

The Clean Up

Once you have finished, turn the breaker off hold it until it has completely stopped and is no longer moving before you put it down.

Once the slab is broken up you can use a sledgehammer, chisel or wrecking bar to break it into even smaller pieces where necessary. Then, use a shovel to scoop the concrete pieces into a skip and a brush to sweep up smaller pieces of concrete and dust.

Concrete Breaker Hire

We have concrete breakers for hire nationwide! Whether you need to break up a concrete base, driveway, path, patio or wall, we can help. Take a look at our concrete breakers for hire on our website and for any advice, enquiries or to book a hire, give our Hire Team a call!

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