List of Tools to Break Up Concrete

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Do-it-yourselfers often assume that breaking up concrete involves back-breaking labor and time-consuming methods. However, with a suitable set of demolition tools, breaking up concrete for demolition and renovations is clean and relatively quick. Construction and demolition professionals save time and effort during concrete removal by using heavy-duty saws to score concrete before pounding the slab with hammering tools.

Walk-behind Concrete Saw

  • Demolition professionals often saw concrete into manageable chunks before breaking it up. The walk-behind concrete saw is the most common tool for preparing large concrete slabs for demolition. The walk-behind concrete saw's internal combustion engine rotates an abrasive blade. The tool's operator lowers the blade into a concrete slab and pushes the wheel-mounted machine across the slab's surface with an attached, waist-high handle. Once scored into manageable portions, the individual blocks of concrete break easily and cleanly when pounded with hammering tools.

Cut-off Saw

  • Equipped with an abrasive, masonry-cutting blade, the cut-off saw becomes a miniature version of the walk-behind concrete saw. Unlike the wheel-mounted walk-behind saw, the cut-off is semi-portable and usually managed with two hands. Similar to walk-behind saws, typical cut-off saws have gas-powered, internal combustion engines. The cut-off saw offers a solution to scoring small concrete slabs, working in tight spaces or cutting vertical surfaces, such as concrete walls.

Sledgehammer

  • This classic, heavy-headed hammering tool is the traditional, manual method of breaking up concrete. If a slab is scored by a concrete saw, a sledge hammer can easily break the individual portions into pieces. Sledgehammers vary according to head weight and handle length. Sledgehammer head weights range from around 6 pounds to more than 15 pounds. Sledgehammer handles generally range from 3 feet to 5 feet. Sledge tools with handles less than 3 feet long are often called mini-sledgehammers.

Jackhammer

  • Familiar in popular culture as a powerful pounding tool, the jackhammer can be equipped with various chisel-like tips. Jackhammers are heavy and capable of breaking not only concrete, but also thick soil and natural stone. Hydraulic or pneumatic force commonly supplies the force required to reciprocate the tool's chisel-like attachment. Jackhammers are generally too heavy to lift and primarily used to pound floors. A variation of the jackhammer, called the demolition hammer, can be lifted to pound walls and elevated surfaces.

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  • Photo Credit jack hammer, man working image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com
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