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removing concrete walkway

we have what appears to be a poured concrete walk, with joints to make it look like individual slabs

I want to replace this with pavers.

At almost 30 feet long, that's a lot of back breaking work with a sledgehammer. Any easier way (short of heavy equipment) to get it out?

Re: removing concrete walkway

You may still need to use a sledge, but you should rent an electric jackhammer to break up as much as possible.

Note - take breaks (or hand it off to others in rotation) from time to time, as the vibration can really get to your hands. Wearing gloves with padded palms will also help.

Anonymous (not verified)
Re: removing concrete walkway

To me, the hard work isn't with the sledge hammer. It's picking up the pieces and moving them to your truck or container.

I don't recommend a jack hammer on a walkway as there is a lot of dust & gravel left over. Maybe for a driveway, but not a walkway.

I use a technique where I start at the end of the slab and dig a small hole that allows you to poke an 8' 4x4. Push down on the other end of the 4x4, and the slab pops up. You need to get the 4x4 to fulcrum on the edge of the hole.

Onec the slab is in the air, one moderate whack w/ the sledge hammer will break it as long as the slab is propped up by the 4x4. Some times even just jumping on the slab will break it, or pound another 8' 4x4 on it's end on the slab between the lever 4x4 and the other end of the slab that's still on the substrate.

The key is that this is a walk way, and you pound while keep the slab in the air.

The hard part is picking up the 30-90 lb pieces and dumping them in your pick up and then dumping them back out at the local dumping/recycling station.

However, if the slabs are steel reinforced, then you're probably going to have to go jack hammer and saws-all...

Re: removing concrete walkway

I like talonts' idea best, because it allows you to break the shards in smaller pieces. It's easier to move then, and you can keep as much as you can store for future projects. When I had a contractor do this for me a few years ago, they hauled about half of the walk and patio away, but left the rest for me in a storage area behind the garage. Now, anytime I need 'stone' for a landscaping project, I have something that matches my foundation, and looks very natural. I edged a new garden bed with this last summer, and everyone wanted to know where I got the great looking stone...

Re: removing concrete walkway

I had to remove a 10' by 25' walkway last year. I found that uses a sledge and a pick ax and pull up the pieces was the most effective way. I agree that the hardest part is loading it up. You might look into renting a trailer or something, so you have something lower than a truck bed to put it on.

Re: removing concrete walkway

You all have forgotten the all important Cold Chisel with hand guard....

You should pick up a nice heavy one that is large enough for you easily use despite wearing thick gloves.

Having done exactly what you're asking about, don't be surprised that the total weight of the rubble is well over 1/2 a ton.... Like one person said.... TAKE BREAKS. And good luck!

Re: removing concrete walkway

these are all great ideas which i will note and remember for later this summer!
sledge hammering the whole thing seems a little painful though... are electric jackhammers hard to use?
we're thinking of doing exactly the same thing - remove a set of concrete stairs leading up to the front door and a 15' concrete with flagstone walkway.

Re: removing concrete walkway

Check with your local Retaining Wall Contractors, many of them will pick up the pieces and hall away so they can use it for building new walls. I even found one (no longer in business) that came and broke up the walk and removed at no expense, they were trying to get their business established at building walls.

Re: removing concrete walkway

Alfetta159 has the right idea. I have broken dozens of sidewalks up. Use these joints to your advantage. We own a bobcat, so we usually just start at one end and lift up and it breaks at the first joint. We just repeat until we are through. You might need to persuade it to break sometimes, but a moderate blow with a sledge will make it crack. These pieces are going to be heavy and I would recommend renting a bobcat. The sections will usually be either 3'x 4' or 4' x 4', so they will fit in the bobcat bucket. You can rent a truck from Home Depot with a dump bed on it and drop them right in there. You'll most likely never have to lift a thing.

Good Luck.

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