How to Remove Concrete Steps

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Renovations are happening at your house. It's time to bring the house from the 1950's into the new millennium, so closing off one exterior door and removing a set of steps has to happen. Usually, concrete steps are set on their own foundation and not on the same slab as the house foundation. If they are, removal is easy. If they are part of the house's original slab, removal is a bit more difficult, but still not impossible.

Things You'll Need

  • 8-pound sledge hammer
  • Cold chisel
  • Small sledge hammer to drive the chisel
  • 4-inch diamond blade to make shallow cuts in concrete
  • Hammer drill with a carbide masonry bit for drilling a series of holes to weaken the concrete, so you can break them with a sledge hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Ear protection
  • Dust mask
  • Determine if the steps are pre-cast concrete. If they are, they are hollow and easily carted away with a furniture dolly and a helper.

  • Wear safety glasses. If the steps are seem to be solid concrete, give them a good whack with the small sledge hammer to see if they break. Whack it near a corner of a step. You might get lucky and find the sides were made from concrete blocks and filled with sand. If you can get a part of a step or the top slab unsupported (with nothing under it) you can hit the concrete a few times and it will break easily.

  • Check the make up of the steps. They may have a top that is a concrete slab, but is supported by sand underneath. If you can remove the sand, concrete is brittle enough just to hit it a few times with a sledge and it will break into pieces.

  • Rent a jack-hammer or buy a 4-inch dry-cut diamond blade for a circular saw. The costs will be about the same. If you have solid concrete steps, you have a long and dirty job ahead of you. Use the jack hammer on the top and the risers. Try making cuts with the cold chisel or the 4-inch saw blade to help weaken the concrete and keep hitting in the same spot. This will weaken and eventually break the concrete. Keep at it and you will eventually get the steps down to the foundation.

  • Check the joint between the foundation of your house and the foundation of your step. Rarely are they the same. Even if they look the same, check closely. You may well find that what you think is connected is just made to look as if it is with some mortar or paint.

  • If you find the house and steps foundation were on pour you can cut the concrete with a saw, which will only cut about 2 1/2 inches deep. Then break it up with a sledge hammer. Use the saw to make a line or weak spot where the concrete will break when struck with a sledge hammer. You can't cut right against the house, so you may have a 2 or 3-inch thick remnant of porch sticking out from the house. You can remove this by making cuts in the face and chipping it away with a cold chisel.

Tips & Warnings

  • You must wear safety goggles. Chips of concrete blind you in a heartbeat.
  • Wear hearing protection as well if you are using the diamond blade in a saw.
  • Wear a dusk mask so you won't breathe in the concrete dust.

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