How to Remove a Concrete Footing

Lead Image
  • 2-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 10-300
What You'll Need
Electric jackhammer
Work gloves
Ear protection
Safety glasses
Thick clothes
Elbow grease

Removing a concrete footing will depend on many factors. These factors include the size, the location, and perhaps the strength of the user. A concrete footing can indeed be removed and moved to a new location or simply destroyed on the spot. Here are some steps to consider.

Step 1 – Determine if it needs to be Preserved

If the concrete footing is too huge to move around and it is of no use anymore, you may want to tear it down on spot in order to remove it with an electric jackhammer. However, if there will be other uses for the concrete footing, use the steps below.

Step 2 – Uncover the Entire Footing

Some concrete footings may have their entire top surface exposed to the ground. This makes it a lot easier to determine what to do with it. However, if the footing is buried deep underground then take some time to dig up through the topsoil to expose it. If the footing is too large to be moved, then the best method to use is to break it down into little movable pieces using a jackhammer. If it is just a small post footing, it can be dug up easily for removal.

Step 3 – Digging Around the Perimeter

For small post footings that need to be moved to another location, the approach is quite simple. Dig through the whole perimeter of the concrete footing until the base is reached. Simply pull out the concrete structure and transfer it to another location. Sometimes, it is not necessary to dig until the bottom is reached. Halfway through the digging, move the concrete back and forth until it becomes loose. When it does become loose, simply pull it out of the ground like a tree.

Step 4 – Use a Jackhammer

For huge heavy footings, obtain an electric jackhammer. This device can be borrowed from a neighbor or rented from a DIY store or rental store. When opting to use a jackhammer, be aware of the health hazards. Therefore, always wear safety goggles, thick clothes, work gloves, and ear protection. In addition, make sure to read the instructional manual once or twice or thrice to get a good working knowledge on how to use the device properly.

Insert the cutting tool into the hammer while the device is not yet plugged. Connect the hammer to the electrical outlet and position the cutting tool onto the concrete surface. Stand behind the machine and align it at an 80-degree angle or so with the concrete. Take a deep breath, relax the shoulders and start the machine to allow it to do the work. As it breaks through the concrete, guide it carefully. Take time to let the machine rest as you remove the broken pieces away from the worksite. Continue until every bit of concrete has been removed.