Concrete breaking is a task that is more suited to people that are healthy and strong because of the strenuous nature of the project. Depending on the thickness of the concrete, you may only have the sledgehammer to use for breaking it up. If your concrete is thicker than 3 inches, you may have to use a professional pneumatic jackhammer which can be rented for removing the material. In order to know the proper tool for the task, you have to determine the thickness of the concrete first.
With concrete surfaces that are 3 inches or less, a sledgehammer will do. It would take less time and become easier if you could enlist the help of another person. With the use of a shovel, dig at the edge of the concrete slab to know how deep it is. Allow your assistant to lift the corner of the concrete with the use of a mattock or pick while you use the sledgehammer to break it up.
Pneumatic or Electric Jackhammer
For thicker concrete slabs where a sledgehammer is not effective, you will have to rent a pneumatic or electric jackhammer to be able to break it up. But take note that the person that should operate the power tool should be strong and agile enough. This is because a pneumatic or electric jackhammer works by inserting a sharp pointed chisel forcibly into the concrete, which causes the material to break up into pieces. These can be removed with the use of a shovel later.
You can also break up concrete with the use of chipping hammers, which are hand held and lightweight power tools that you can position with ease against overhead and vertical concrete constructions. Because you can control the chipping action of the tools, chipping hammers can break up specific areas of concrete.
There are different sizes of chipping hammers. The smallest can weigh between 5 to 30 pounds and can be powered by electricity, hydraulics or through pneumatic action. The weight of the chipping hammer indicates its power. The heavier it is, the more power it has. The chipping done by a chipping hammer is very fast, ranging from 900 to 3000 times every minute. Since a chipping hammer is usually intended for overhead and vertical constructions, it is inherently light. A handle is built at the back of the power tool, where you can hold and control it. Additional leverage is provided by holding the chipping hammer on its shaft. Some models of the tool have an additional handle provided on the side. Thus, it can be controlled better and you can chip at different angles. Various brands offer different features such as handles that can absorb shock, heat shields and rotating handles.
In breaking up concrete, it is always advisable to wear the necessary protective equipment. There is always a possibility that concrete bits will fly upwards, creating an injury on the person operating the power tool. It is also dangerous to inhale dust that is produced from the use of a power tool. In choosing your safety goggles, make sure that they fit you snugly. The same goes for your dust mask and work gloves. If you are going to use a tool that emits a loud sound such as a jackhammer, ear protection is a must.