Concrete demolition is a very physically demanding job, but with proper planning and tools it can be a DIY project. Note the amount of concrete you will be demolishing and if the job is coordinated with other at home projects. If you are already planning a DIY project that includes similar tools, a construction dumpster and another set of hands, you could save a lot of money taking care of the concrete yourself. However, if you are bringing in professionals to pour new concrete, it might make more sense financially and physically to let the professionals take care of the demo and removal.
Once you have decided to take on the task yourself it is important to prepare at least a week ahead. This will give you time to reach out to friends or neighbors who could offer another set of hands; concrete demolition is a two person job. You will also need time to rent the proper tools, gear and materials for the most efficient and safe job. As you break apart the concrete, you will be dealing with course, heavy materials containing jagged shaped edges that may include steel mesh or rebar. Sturdy fitted leather gloves, solid work boots, eye and ear protection are must while working on this project.
The two major tool choices for breaking up of the concrete are the Sledgehammer (12lb) or the Jackhammer. Typically, if the concrete is less than 4-in. thick the Sledgehammer will do the job. It is a good idea to test this out during your prep time. If you find your test patch only seems to break top layers into small pieces instead of creating some major cracks, you may want to consider renting a powered Jackhammer. For either method, you will also need a Pry Bar and 6-mil Plastic. The plastic will cut down on flying debris during hammering, and the pry bar should be used by your partner to pull apart the cracks created by the hammering.
To haul away rubble from its original site will require a heavy duty wheelbarrow, the cheaper light weight models will not last more than a couple of loads. It is important to keep the loads small and take turns hauling or you will find yourself too tired to continue shortly into the project. Depending on the path and amount of rubble you think you will have, it might be worth renting a fuel powered wheelbarrow. It will not tire out or over-extend itself like people sometimes do.
Finally, you will want to plan out what you will do with the concrete ruble once it is broken up and hauled out. There are some areas that will recycle it, but transporting concrete in a pick-up truck is not terribly efficient because of the concrete’s weight. They may also charge more if there is rebar or steel mesh in the ruble and although you can break it up, your best option is a construction dumpster, also known as a Roll Off dumpster. Make sure it is equipped with a gate or “door” so that rubble can be wheeled directly into the container. These containers are hauled by trucks and can handle the large weight per mass in waste materials your project will generate.