Even the most ambitious DIYers can be forgiven for thinking twice about concrete demolition and removal. Routine jobs like basic car repairs or cabinet installation and refinishing are one thing. Anything to do with concrete is another.
While concrete demolition and removal is not by any stretch rocket science, it is, quite literally, a backbreaking, heavy-lifting job and it is almost always better handled by experienced demolition professionals.
Realistic expectations about the scale of the project including time — costs — the need for construction-grade tools, a way to make clean disposal of the concrete material, and many more considerations that can be costly and dangerous come into play.
Pro tip: You have to research what’s under the concrete and the answer to this question can really change the scope of the project..but once you get started it is generally too late to start planning, say it’s a water or gas line. Things can get serious fast.
Before going it alone, the experts at Westchester Demo & Junk Removal. strongly recommend homeowners consider the questions below to ensure efficient, cost-effective success in their concrete breaking and removal project.
1. Should the concrete be repaired or removed?
The fact that you’re even thinking about removing and replacing damaged concrete likely makes concrete removal the right idea.
Minor issues such as small cracks or shallow, concrete depressions like those caused by heavy objects overtime may be candidates for repair. Other situations, especially those involving driveways, sidewalks and patios, call for complete removal and include:
- Multiple, wide cracks that have settled to one side
- Frost heaves (commonplace in cold, moist climates) that have pushed concrete up.
- Settled concrete resulting from improperly prepared sub-grading.
2. What tools are needed for demolishing and removing concrete?
As mentioned, concrete removal is real heavy-work, and when it comes to tools, less is definitely not more. If you already have the gear below and know how to use it, you may be up for the job. If not, keep in mind the cost and inconvenience of leasing (possibly for longer than you thought) and/or purchasing:
- Sledgehammer: A 12 lb. sledgehammer isn’t light, but it’s worth its weight in time saved.
- Jackhammer: Professional and efficient, this is an air-powered (pneumatic) unit that comes with interchangeable bits, requires an air compressor, and is not recommended for use by beginners.
- Shovels and/or pry bars: For breakaway and removal of separated pieces.
- Plastic sheeting: (6 mils) for capturing dust and flyaway concrete pieces.
- Safety equipment: goggles, consider steel-toed boots, work gloves and always use a respirator.
3. How is concrete disposed of or recycled?
Concrete can and should be recycled and kept out of landfills. Your local municipal exchange station or landfill probably won’t take your concrete waste, but many well-developed cities and areas have concrete recycling facilities; professional contractors nearly everywhere also have or have access to recyclers. In any case, the job calls for a dumpster or roll-off dumpster.
4. What potential problems may arise from concrete demolition and removal?
Concrete removal and disposal in and around your home is by definition a residential project, albeit one with distinctly industrial overtones. As such, it comes with accompanying complications and risk including:
- Property damage: Concrete waste is heavy, comprised of metals, sharp-edged and may contain toxic materials such as motor oil.
- Piling or accumulating it can damage or contaminate your property as well as that of your neighbors or Homeowners Association.
- Risk of injury: Even when safety equipment is properly used, physical injury remains possible when removing and transporting concrete waste. Additionally, children may be tempted to play in or with as well as throw it around.
- Cost: As noted, the purchase or rental of required equipment (which professional contractors already have) is considerable and can really add up — most homeowners dont consider tool costs and upkeep when they see a price quote for labor but without our tools out time costs would balloon — there are advantages to modern well-running tools.
5. What makes professional concrete demolition and removal cost-effective?
The cost of professional concrete demolition and removal will of course, vary depending on the type, scale, and location of the project. Most homeowners don’t factor in the value a little extra peace of mind brings and having a professional demolition team handle the work will give you that in spades, plus save your back!
Westchester Demolition and Junk Removal is a locally owned family company. We proudly provide comprehensive junk removal and demolition service to Westchester County residents and local outfits alike.
We call Westchester County home, too and are proud to operate an ecologically minded and environmentally friendly company serving our friends and neighbors throughout the area.
Contact us today for an estimate on your concrete removal project here in Westchester NY.