Although most homeowners will use a power tool to help them break down concrete, there are occasions when doing this job by hand has its benefits. For very small projects or projects on a strict budget, breaking the concrete down by hand is a great way to save some money on hiring tools; all you need is a sledgehammer with a head weighing around four or five pounds and some safety equipment. Let's look at a great technique for breaking down slabs of concrete by hand.
It is responsible to first mention the safety equipment required when breaking down concrete slabs:
- Eye protection to protect you from shards and splinters of concrete
- Work overalls to protect your body from sharp pieces of ejected concrete
- Leather work gloves to protect your hands from splinters and also from blisters
Once you have this available, move the concrete outside, to a place where you can safely work with the sledgehammer. Keep an eye out for friends or family approaching as you work.
Divide The Slab Up
Instead of just hitting anywhere on the concrete, first develop a picture in your mind about dividing up the slab. Imagine a large cross in the center of the slab, so that it is divided up into four triangles. Aim to start hitting the slab at either the bottom right or bottom left leg of the X shape. The idea is to work your way up one of the bottom legs and then repeat the same on the other bottom leg.
It can be easy to exhaust yourself early on. Although some effort is needed, it shouldn't take you long to break the concrete down if you work at a steady pace. Allow the head of the sledgehammer to fall under its own weight, and apply just a little amount of downward pressure with each blow you strike. As you have plotted where to land your blows, placement is preferable to power.
Watch For The Crumble
With each progressive blow, and working up and down the legs of the imaginary X, you will feel the concrete begin to weaken. Once you have hammered both legs, do the same process on the top sections of the X. As you work along these sections, you will invariably see and feel the concrete beginning to crumble and break apart.
Use a shovel and a wheelbarrow to remove the concrete immediately. This prevents you tripping or stumbling with the sledgehammer if the work area is messy.
Additionally, if this isn't a project that you feel comfortable taking on by yourself, don't hestitate to contact a local professional, such as Robert Guy & Sons Pty Ltd.