If your exterior renovation project involves removing concrete steps, you're probably wondering if you can do the job yourself to save some money. Concrete removal is labor intensive but surprisingly easy, so it is something you can do yourself. However, there are a few things to consider before you begin.
1.You'll Need Some Special Tools
If you are going to break it up manually, you'll need a good-quality sledgehammer, a chisel and a pry bar. Pre-cast concrete steps are the easiest to break, but you'll probably still need to create weak spots in the concrete with a carbide-bit drill or concrete saw before you start hammering. Reinforced concrete requires additional force to break, so you might need to buy or rent a concrete breaker or jackhammer.
If you want to use a chemical agent like expansive grout to break the concrete, you'll need a carbide drill to create a line of holes to fill with the chemical. You'll also need to factor the cost of the expansive grout into your project.
2. It Is a Physical Job
Once you find or create the weak spots in the concrete, all you need to do is apply force. While it breaks relatively easily, it still requires physical exertion. It may not be for someone who has problems lifting, bending, twisting and swinging. Smashing concrete can be a great workout for someone who is in good shape, but it's a bit dangerous if your only helpers are young children. It also creates lots of dust and concrete chips, so use eye protection and a dust mask. Make sure you can keep pets and little kids away from the area while you work.
3. You Need to Get Rid of the Concrete
Once you've broken up the steps, you'll have to dispose of the concrete. Some towns accept concrete for recycling, but you'll have to get it to the curb or take it to the recycling site. If you can't recycle it, you'll need to find someone who needs it for fill, bury it or do something else with the rubble. What to do with the remnants of the steps is usually the biggest challenge.
4. You Could Damage Your Foundation
If you aren't careful, you could easily crack your foundation. This generally isn't a problem with pre-cast concrete steps, which tend to come apart easily and fall away from the foundation. However, if the steps were poured in place, the force of a good swing might transfer to the foundation and crack it. If you don't know how the steps were constructed, you should probably enlist a helper who understands concrete construction or leave the job to professionals.
For more information, contact National Concrete Cutting or a similar company.