How to Remove a Concrete Slab

Lead Image
  • 8-40 hours
  • Beginner
  • 3
What You'll Need
Large sledgehammer
Small hand sledgehammer or heavy hammer
Circular saw, or a wet circular saw to reduce dust
Circular saw with a diamond masonry blade
Hammer drill with masonry bit
Jackhammer (optional but recommended)
Safety glasses
Dust mask
Ear protection
Pitcher of water and glass
Truck for disposal of concrete

Sometimes, when creating an addition to your home or remodeling, you will need to break up a concrete slab from a patio or other area. Removing concrete is a labor-intensive job, but it is not too difficult. To help make the task a little easier, here is a simple step by step guide that will show exactly what you need to do in order to rip out that old slab quickly and efficiently. Let's get started.

Step 1 - Prepare to Work

Before you begin the demolition and removal of the concrete slab, put on all of your safety equipment. Breaking up is a dirty, dusty job and potentially dangerous job if you are not careful and prepared. Safety glasses, gloves, and steel-toe boots are a must. Since you will be working with loud power tools, ear protection is strongly suggested as well. Although the money you save by doing the work yourself will be quickly be lost if you injure yourself and have to pay for a trip to the emergency room. So, be prepared before you work.

Step 2 - Cut Concrete Slab in Sections

Install the diamond masonry blade onto your circular saw. Then, take the circular saw and start to create cut sections in the concrete slabs. Keep the sections fairly small so that they will be easier to break up with the sledgehammer or jackhammer. Use the saw to create a rectangular or square section in the slab. When you finish, the concrete slab should look like an extended tic-tac-toe game drawing.

Step 3 - Break Up Concrete Sections

Use the large sledgehammer or jackhammer to begin breaking the cut sections. This is the back-breaking part of the job; so, take frequent water breaks so that you don't become dehydrated while breaking up the concrete. Continue breaking up the concrete slab until the pieces are small enough so that you can carry them to your wheelbarrow.

Step 4 - Break and Pry Out Pieces Around Rebar

If your concrete slab has rebar in it, you will need to use the small sledgehammer or hammer and chisel to break up concrete in areas where the big hammer or jackhammer cannot reach. In tight spaces around the rebar, you can use the pry bar or crowbar to pry out the pieces. Once you clear the concrete around a piece of rebar, use the hacksaw to cut it into smaller pieces (that will fit in your truck bed) and set the steel piece aside. You will dispose of it later.

Step 5 - Load Up Concrete and Haul it Away

Load up your truck with all of the broken concrete pieces and steel rebar. Then, take it to the landfill and dispose of it in the area assigned for this type of material.