How to Chip Concrete

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Chipping or breaking concrete often is the first step in a demolition or repair project. The process breaks up the concrete for removal in small pieces. The end project may involve the complete removal of a concrete slab or a portion of a slab, or the removal of loose pieces before pouring new concrete. Contractors often perform the task, although do-it-yourselfers can complete this job with the assistance of some rental tools.

Things You'll Need

  • Power chipping hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Hearing protection
  • Hard hat
  • Dust mask
  • Hacksaw
  • Shovel
  • Mark the area of concrete planned for removal. Check the area for any known cracks or defects that can serve as a starting point for the chipping project.

  • Position a chipping hammer, an electrically or air-powered tool that powers a chisel, within the planned work area. Rent an appropriate chipping hammer. Lighter chipping hammers work best on walls or overhead projects, while heavier hammers are used on floors or slabs.

  • Chip one area at a time, creating chunks of concrete you can lift away from the work area. Use a shovel and wheelbarrow to remove the chipped pieces. Chip the concrete away from any reinforcing rods or wires embedded in the concrete. You will not be able to chip them away.

  • Cut the reinforcing rod with a hacksaw or cutting torch to cut the metal reinforcing materials. In some situations, if new concrete is planned for the project area, the reinforcing rods can be left in place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hold the chipping hammer with both hands. These devices commonly have two hand positions, and many are adjustable for left- or right-handed work. These tools work based on impact with the concrete and create vibration and jarring actions. Take a break if your hands or arms become numb or painful.
  • Wear safety gear and appropriate clothing when working with concrete chipping tools. This includes safety glasses, work gloves, hearing protection and steel-toed shoes. Wear a hard hat if you're working on a ceiling. If the project results in concrete dust, wear a dust mask.

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