Breaking up concrete steps

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lyle11
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Breaking up concrete steps

Postby lyle11 » Sun Jul 25, 2021 3:01 pm

I have a large concrete step that I’d like to break up. It is laying on it’s side and is about 6’X4’X3’. I’m guess it weighs a couple of tons. It was hauled to this spot by a big Caterpiller road grader years ago before the grader got bogged down in the muddy ground. I would like to break it into 3-4 manageable pieces that can be pulled away with a big tractor.

It is laying on it’s side and is not a surface to stand on and safely use a jackhammer. My understanding from reading online is that a big 13 LB hammer is best for up to 4” thick concrete. These steps do have a dog house opening in the middle where the concrete is maybe 8” thick but other than that and the step risers it’s 3’ or more solid concrete with a lot of red rocks. I have read online about a Chipper Hammer and a Demolition hammer.

I was wondering if anybody has used a Chipper Hammer or Demolition Hammer to break up real thick concrete such as this. This is not something I need to do in a day or a week. I could chip away for an hour or two whenever I feel like it.

Any suggestions how to break this up?

Thanks

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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby Barnyard » Sun Jul 25, 2021 3:09 pm

Go to your local tool rrental and see what they have or recommend.
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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby Bob McCarty » Sun Jul 25, 2021 3:44 pm

Could you hook a chain on it and pull it over? I've used a 40 lb electric jackhammer to break up about 50' of sidewalk and it worked well.
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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby lyle11 » Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:07 pm

Barnyard wrote:Go to your local tool rrental and see what they have or recommend.


My experience with renting most tools is that it’s cheaper to buy the tool if you can’t complete the work in a day. Can’t hurt to ask and see what they recommend, but I’m looking more to do this gradually when I get a chance.

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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby lyle11 » Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:18 pm

Bob McCarty wrote:Could you hook a chain on it and pull it over? I've used a 40 lb electric jackhammer to break up about 50' of sidewalk and it worked well.


It is way too heavy. I only need to move it about 40’ to an old barn foundation into a silo pit. That’s why I need to break it up in more manageable pieces. It’s at my place in Wisconsin or I’d attach a picture.

I’ve used a jackhammer for a 4” thick floor. From reading about them, the demolition and chipping hammers are lighter and more for vertical walls, which are more in line (I think) with a slower but safer way to chip away it it. I was hoping someone had used one and could give an honest assessment.

I also saw a product that chemically erodes the concrete but you have to drill numerous holes. I burned some brush beside it and got some of the concrete to explode but you’d have to burn for a week to make a dent it in.

Thanks
Last edited by lyle11 on Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby Bob McCarty » Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:29 pm

I didn't mean to pull it to the pit, but just tip it over flat so you could stand on it to jackhammer. I'm guessing the shape of it precludes that. How about building a small platform that you could safely stand on to use what ever you use to break it up?
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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby lyle11 » Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:42 pm

Bob McCarty wrote:I didn't mean to pull it to the pit, but just tip it over flat so you could stand on it to jackhammer. I'm guessing the shape of it precludes that. How about building a small platform that you could safely stand on to use what ever you use to break it up?


I understood what you meant about tipping it. It’s really heavy. Platform idea might work. Still hoping for a gradual chipping away method since I have plenty of time.

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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby Eugene » Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:47 pm

Feathers and wedges. Hammer drill a searies of holes large enough for the feathers and wedges, 4 lb hammer.

Eugene wrote:
Eugene wrote:Wrong, wrong, wrong. Turned out the steps are made with stream gravel, reinforcing rod, and were solid concrete. The walk is 8" thick, same concrete.
Still working on removing the sidewalk. Turns out that the west end of the sidewalk is about 8" thick. The concrete is about 14" thick near half the length. Don't know how thick the concrete will be when we get to the east end of the walk.

Used wedges and feathers to break up the concrete we have removed. Back to Dexpan to break up the concrete because the wedges and feathers that we have aren't large and long enough break the concret all the way through.
Turned out the east end of the sidewalk/stairs was 4' thick. Purchased a larger hammer drill, 3/4" hammer drill bits, and 3/4" feather and wedges.

Took a while to break up the 4' thick steps.

We also used Dexpan to break up some of the cement.
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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby Don McCombs » Sun Jul 25, 2021 5:51 pm

Know anyone with a blasting license?
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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby lyle11 » Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:40 pm

[quote="Eugene"]Feathers and wedges. Hammer drill a searies of holes large enough for the feathers and wedges, 4 lb hammer.

I don’t even know what a feather is in this context is, but I’ll research it. I actually participated in pouring these steps in August 1974. My father needed my help so it’s the only time I ever missed football practice. My father was the kind of guy who built things way beyond what was needed. I’m not knocking that by any means, but in this case I wish these steps were crumbling but they aren’t. I eventually tore down the part of the house these steps attached to. It was an addition built, based on the date stamp in the windows, around 1927. The foundation was only about 12” of mostly rocks sunk maybe 6” deep into the ground. In NW Wisconsin, with an inferior foundation you can probably see why the addition wasn’t worth keeping but it held up for about 75 years.

The original house with a dirt floor basement still stands and I stay in it when I go there. My father was born in the house in 1922, even though we didn’t own the property until 1969. It was back before women went to hospitals to give birth. My mother passed away in the house in 1982. It’s too bad the place is located in a state with such brutal winters because I’d love to live in the middle of 80 acres where the rent I get for crop land covers my taxes.

The steps are located about 100 yards from the house. I wish I could ignite a stick of dynamite in the doghouse opening. I wondered if I had filled the opening in the steps to the top with water in November if a freeze would be enough to crack the concrete but there is probably too much expansion room at the top of the opening.

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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby Don McCombs » Sun Jul 25, 2021 9:46 pm

lyle11 wrote:I wish I could ignite a stick of dynamite in the doghouse opening.

Research local contractors with that capability.
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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby Barnyard » Sun Jul 25, 2021 10:08 pm

Forget the dynomite and small jackhammers spending a lot of time on it. Rent on of these and be done with it. Once it is broke in half the skid steer should be able to move it. No sense spending all your free time beating yourself to death.

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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby outdoors4evr » Mon Jul 26, 2021 6:30 am

If you just need it broke in half, I'd be tempted to smack it a few times with a maul or a sledge hammer. I've broken up a 10'x10'x5" pad with a 9 lb maul but it took quite a few swings.
I once hired a guy to break up and haul away a garage foundation. He showed up with a skidsteer and a bucket. Come to find out, instead of leveling the ground, they filled one end with 3' of concrete that the skidsteer couldn't lift. He used another chunk of concrete to drop on the 3' area and break the large chunk into smaller pieces that could be lifted.
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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby SamsFarm » Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:15 am

Are the steps still good and useable?

If so, you could always post a free ad on craigslist and give them away!

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Re: Breaking up concrete steps

Postby Barnyard » Mon Jul 26, 2021 7:58 am

outdoors4evr wrote:If you just need it broke in half, I'd be tempted to smack it a few times with a maul or a sledge hammer. I've broken up a 10'x10'x5" pad with a 9 lb maul but it took quite a few swings.

That would work, but his concrete is 6’X4’X3’. That thing would weigh between 10,000 and 12,000 pounds.
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