It’s your DIY landscaping job and you’ve hit upon an immovable concrete slab. Be it an old driveway, patio or path, your job comes to a grinding halt as you look the menacing slab of masonry in the eye. Trying to figure out the best way to tackle such a problem can be the real challenge. So what is the best way to remove a concrete slab?
Step 1: Survey the area
Assess the area where the concrete slab lies. Is it a suspended slab? Is it attached to anything else? How thick is it? Does it contain steel reinforcing mesh (rebar)? And, are there any water gas or electrical pipes laid underneath it. Getting clear on these factors will help decide what equipment to use what to look out for before the removal commences.
Step 2: Safety first
Using heavy duty tools and dealing with concrete requires a certain amount of planning for safety. Eye and ear protection, sturdy boots, gloves and a mask to protect from harmful concrete dust. Also, dust extraction or a water supply is required to suppress dust at the concrete cutting surface.
Concrete disposal requires working with heavy blocks of concrete. Ensure you lift any large and heavy objects correctly with a straight back and bent knees. It is a good idea to have another person to assist when things are too heavy to lift on your own.
Step 3: Get the right equipment
Dealing with concrete naturally relies on heavy duty tools. A jackhammer is a popular tool to remove concrete, yet it is loud, cumbersome to operate and expensive to both own or even hire. Another method is using a sledgehammer and crowbar to break up and remove piece by piece. If rebar is involved, an angle grinder or bolt cutters are needed aswell to seperate the broken up pieces of concrete. All these methods are slow and require a degree of physical effort.
Another method is using a concrete saw. A concrete saw can cut pieces of concrete with precision from the slab and slice through the steel rebar mesh at the same time. The vibrations from the jackhammer or the flying debris from the sledgehammer are also avoided. Concrete saws can also cut the slab away clean and flush from adjoining objects such as a wall.
It is important to have the right equipment to move heavy blocks of concrete. A heavy duty wheelbarrow will manage with regular sized blocks, although a bobcat may make life easier to move a few larger blocks or in fact smaller blocks more quickly.
Step 4: Concrete disposal
Concrete waste needs to be disposed of properly. A Skip bin is generally the answer to store the blocks of waste concrete for disposal. You need to make sure you specify the intended contents of the Skip bin waste such as if the concrete contains rebar or not. Plus, if you are planning on disposing of any other household materials at the same time, include this also.
Concrete dust extracted from any concrete cutting also needs to be disposed of properly according to health regulations.
Removing a concrete slab can be done in a number of ways. Using the concrete cutting approach will allow for a cleaner finish with more uniform blocks of concrete to handle. It will also allow the concrete and rebar to be separated in one step.
Hiring a professional concrete cutter
When facing a sizeable concrete slab it may be safer, cheaper and actually quicker to get professional help from a concrete cutter. Concrete cutters have all the tools and techniques to cut through concrete. They have all the safety equipment to ensure concrete dust does not go where it shouldn’t and can ensure a quality finish. There is not much room for error with concrete cutting, so experience counts to do the job right first time around.
Mastercut Concrete have been cutting concrete in Sydney for over 20 years and have a fleet of skilled and mobile concrete cutters to cut, drill or grind concrete for you when you need it. Contact 02 9755 5505 for a free consultation and quote or complete an online quote request.