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How to Break Up a Concrete Patio

How to Break Up a Concrete Patio

Patios are a superb feature of any property, providing a space to relax and socialise in the warmer months. If you need to break up your patio, though, then there are’s a few things you need to know.

Let Concrete Drilling Services Ltd talk you through how to break up a concrete patio.

How to break up a concrete patio

Tools needed for breaking up a concrete patio

Breaking up a concrete patio requires heavy-duty tools. To complete the job effectively, you’ll need:

  • A shovel
  • A sledgehammer
  • Bolt cutters
  • A mattock (similar to a pickaxe, but with a broad, horizontal blade at one end)
  • A wheelbarrow

In terms of protection for yourself and other surfaces, the following are required:

  • Safety goggles/glasses
  • Steel-toed boots
  • A dust mask
  • Gloves
  • Ear-defenders
  • Plastic sheeting


Breaking up the patio: a step-by-step guide

1 – Create a ‘void’

The first thing you need to do is to create a ‘void’ under the slabs you want to break up. Without a void, the soil/ground under the slab will absorb a lot of the force from the sledgehammer, which makes it a lot harder to break up the slabs.

By digging out some of the soil from underneath the slabs, it’ll be easier to break them up. Start by digging out the soil around the slab, and then use the pry bar to lift it up and then remove more soil.


2 – Start breaking the slabs

Once the voids are created, it’s time to start breaking up the slabs. Before you start, make sure to lay plastic sheeting over the top of the slabs; this prevents chunks and shards of concrete flying off in all directions. Put on all your protective clothing, too.

When using the sledgehammer, it’s important that you get the technique right to avoid injury. Place one hand near the hammer head, with the other close to the base of the hammer. Lift with the hand near the head, and let it fall onto the slab whilst moving the top hand to the base of the hammer – don’t swing it as this can cause injury.


3 – Try to break the concrete into small chunks

You should aim for areas within 6 inches of an edge with your first hammer blows. Don’t hit the same area again if it doesn’t crack on the first hit – aim for a few inches away. Try to break the concrete into small chunks, but not too small – you need to be able to remove the broken concrete easily.


4 – Cut any wire or mesh, and clean up the area

When you’ve finished breaking up a slab, you need to use the sharp pick of the mattock to separate all the chunks of concrete, using your bolt cutters to cut any wire mesh present. Load the chunks into your wheelbarrow – this may require multiple trips – and transport them to your skip or appropriate removal service.

You will need to repeat the above steps until your patio is completely broken up and you’ve transported the chunks of concrete to your skip or into a location where a grab hire truck can pick it up. This requires a lot of heavy lifting though, so it may be best to seek professional assistance for this.

Concrete Drilling Services Ltd are proud to provide comprehensive concrete cutting and sawing, diamond drilling, and Brokk crunching and bursting services for customers throughout Manchester, Warrington, Liverpool, Bolton and beyond.

For more information, please get in touch with us today.

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