If you have to dig up a concrete floor, be prepared for some heavy work. Even if you rent a concrete cutter to cut the floor apart, you still must manually haul the pieces out. Depending on where the floor is, the dust generated by a concrete saw might make it an undesirable choice. There is an option that will allow you to dig up a concrete floor with less mess in the rest of the house. The following steps tell you how.
Walk the surface of the concrete floor you want to dig up. Look for any cracks, chips or missing pieces. Mark them with spray paint so you won't have to hunt for them again later.
Start with the largest crack. Drive a cold chisel into it with a hammer, just enough to get the chisel set. Drive the chisel the rest of the way with a sledge hammer, then remove the chisel by lightly knocking it from side to side with the sledge hammer until it is free.
When the chisel is out, use the sledge hammer on the concrete floor around that point until the the first piece breaks free. Alternately, you can rent a small jack hammer to break through the concrete, although jack hammers require almost as much effort to use as the hand method.
Use a metal saw to cut through any rebar or small gauge mesh that might have been used when the concrete was poured to make the floor. Then remove the piece.
Use your pick ax to dig as far as you can underneath the remaining floor to create a small pocket between the earth and the concrete. This will make breaking out the next piece easier.
Continue breaking, removing, digging and breaking again until the entire floor is removed.
Things You Will Need
- Spray paint
- Cold chisel
- Sledge hammer
- Jack hammer (if necessary)
- Saw with a blade for cutting metal (if necessary)
- Pick ax
- If your floor has no cracks for you to use as a starting point for your cold chisel, look for expansion joints. These will be breaks in the slab of concrete, usually filled with an expandable material. Dig the material out with your pick ax, and start to break the concrete along this edge. If you do not have expansion joints, drive your cold chisel in at a corner or another spot where the slab meets the wall.
- Concrete shatters. Wear appropriate eye protection and clothing while performing this work. Also, wear ear plugs, especially if you decide to use a jack hammer.
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