* This blog post is a summary of this video.

How to Efficiently Break Up a Concrete Base for Removal

Author: Ultimate HandymanTime: 2024-01-26 07:50:00

Table of Contents

Introduction to Breaking Up a Concrete Base

Removing an old concrete base is a common project when renovating a home or yard. While breaking concrete can be done with normal demolition tools, using the right equipment will make the job much easier. In this post, we'll go over the essential steps for safely and effectively removing a concrete slab.

The key tools needed are a concrete demolition breaker, safety gear, and cleaning supplies. We'll look at how to select the proper concrete breaker for the job, how to use PPE to protect yourself, tips for actually breaking the slab into manageable pieces, and post-job maintenance for your equipment.

Overview of Concrete Base Removal Project

In the introductory video, you see the remains of a concrete base that used to be under a conservatory. Now that the conservatory has been removed, the concrete slab needs to go as well. As shown, an initial shallow dig revealed that the concrete is about 5-6 inches thick. Removing concrete takes the right tools. Using just a normal breaker would be possible but very time-consuming. For this amount of concrete, a heavy-duty electric breaker designed for demolition is needed.

Essential Equipment for Breaking Concrete

Based on the size of the job, the video narrator selected a Hilti TE2000-AVR breaker. This is a lightweight but powerful electric breaker that weighs about 15 kg, making it suitable for extended use. The breaker came supplied with a trolley for maneuverability, a chisel, and a point. The narrator also applied silicone grease to help the point connect properly and smoothly.

Safety Gear and Precautions for Concrete Demolition

Breaking up concrete is inherently dusty and noisy work. Proper safety precautions need to be taken by the workers doing the demolition as well as anyone nearby.

Concrete removal requires wearing basic PPE like steel-toe boots, gloves, eye protection, and ear protection. A dust mask is highly recommended as well. For electric breakers, a transformer will also be needed if the power supply is 110V.

PPE Requirements

The operator in the video wears a standard set of personal protective equipment. This includes:

  • Steel toe cap boots
  • Safety goggles
  • Dust mask
  • Work gloves
  • Ear defenders

Protecting Nearby Areas

In addition to the operator wearing PPE, it's important to protect nearby structures. The high-velocity concrete bits can travel far. In the video, plywood was taped over the nearby doors. Optional dust extraction accessories for breakers can also reduce flying debris.

Breaking Up the Concrete Base

With the right equipment and safety gear in place, it's time to start demolition. There are some techniques that make breaking concrete more efficient.

In general, working from the outer edges inward in small sections is best. Adapting between the breaker's chisel and point accessories based on conditions is helpful. Lastly, differences in the concrete mix can change how easy it is to break.

Working from the Edges Inward

The narrator began breaking at the outer edge of the slab, slowly working towards the middle. Attempting to break up too large of sections or starting from the center can get the equipment stuck.

Adapting Tools to Concrete Conditions

The operator began with the pointed tool but found the chisel worked better as demolition progressed. The point did better with the thicker concrete while the chisel was faster on thinner sections.

Differences in Concrete Mixes

Variations were noticed in how easily the concrete broke. More grey areas were stronger with higher cement content while redder sections broke up faster, indicating more sand in the mixture.

Cleaning and Maintaining the Breaker

After completing the breaking, it's important to properly clean the equipment to prevent issues. Basic cleaning steps include:

  • Use a vacuum to remove dust from ventilation slots

  • Wipe down the breaker body with a damp cloth

  • Avoid chemical cleaners that could damage components

Conclusion and Next Steps for Concrete Removal

Removing a concrete slab takes the right approach but is very doable as a DIY project. With this overview, you now understand the basic equipment needs, safety precautions, demolition techniques, and maintenance steps involved.

Be sure to check out the original video for a visual demonstration. The next video will cover removing the broken pieces and disposing them properly. Let us know in the comments if you have any other questions!


Q: What size breaker is needed for breaking concrete?
A: For this 10 square meter concrete base that was 5-6 inches thick, a 15 kg gasoline-powered breaker with 1100W and a chisel and point attachment was suitable.

Q: How long does it take to break up a concrete base?
A: It took approximately 2 hours for 2 people to break up this 10 square meter base using the gasoline-powered breaker.

Q: Is special safety equipment required?
A: Yes, steel-toe boots, goggles, dust mask, gloves, and ear protection should be worn by anyone in the vicinity during concrete breaking.

Q: What was the concrete reinforced with?
A: This particular concrete base was not steel-reinforced. If it had been, an angle grinder would also have been required.

Q: Were both the point and chisel attachments used?
A: Yes, both a point and chisel were used, adapting the tool to most efficiently break the concrete in different areas.

Q: Were there differences in the concrete mixes?
A: Yes, some sections had more gray concrete indicating more cement content, while other sections had more red concrete indicating more sand content.

Q: How was the breaker cleaned?
A: The breaker ventilation slots were vacuumed and the equipment wiped down after use, but no chemicals were used that could potentially damage the breaker.

Q: What's next after breaking the concrete?
A: The broken up pieces of concrete base still need to be moved and disposed of properly, which will be covered in a future video.

Q: What should be done to protect nearby areas?
A: Plywood boards were taped over the nearby French doors to prevent damage from flying debris during concrete breaking.

Q: Can a normal breaker be used instead?
A: It's possible but would take much more time and effort compared to using a heavier-duty 1100W gasoline-powered 15kg concrete breaker.