breaking up concrete (or cement?) with a sledgehammer.

An sort-of acquaintance posts:
I'd like to borrow a 20-pound sledgehammer We're going to attempt some DIY concrete removal.
How much in square feet of a sidewalk could a healthy but not especially strong man break up, before it would be essential to rent an electric jack hammer.
Would a sledge work at all for this? Is their sidewalk or driveway likely to be concrete, or cement? OTOH, I tried an electric jack hammer once and I was tired literally within 30 seconds iirc, but I was 67 years old and not in great shape. This man is probably 30 or 35. I did break up about 2 square feet in those 20 seconds. The contractor had started that portion so there was room for my part to separate, if that is ever a problem. ??
So if one has to rest 4 minutes out of every 5, how much could he get done with the EJH before he's totally pooped?
Is there a 3rd way?
Should I try to discourage them -- husband, but wife is posting -- from using the sledgehammer, or is the electric jack hammer even less practical for them?
And why does Home Depot call them "breakers" now, and not jack hammers.
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Micky,
20 lb sledge hammer? He'll be tired in no time. I've used a 5 lb sledge for this. Maybe 3 min to break up a sq ft. Cleaning up the mess takes forever.
Dave M.
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On Tue, 21 Jun 2016 05:26:28 -0400, Micky

If you are worried about the work involved with just breaking it up - you haven't thought about disposal yet ... If you're hiring a man + machine to load & haul away - get him to break it up with the machine ... bigger pieces & less handling & time. Old home-poured concrete can be tough - full of stone and extra thick ... John T
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| I'd like to borrow a 20-pound sledgehammer | We're going to attempt some DIY concrete removal. | | How much in square feet of a sidewalk could a healthy but not | especially strong man break up, before it would be essential to rent | an electric jack hammer. |
I think it all depends on the concrete. It can vary a great deal. You'll just have to try it and see.
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On Tue, 21 Jun 2016 08:31:54 -0400, "Mayayana"

A plumber brought a compressor and a heavy jackhammer to my former brick 2 -flat to go after the basement floor drain. Ran the heavy hose from the compressor parked in the alley. Lifted the jackhammer and set the chisel to the floor. It went right through the floor before he could pull the trigger. It was a dry mix floor, where they just lay down the concrete mix. water it with a hose, and finish it. Sidewalks are tougher.
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On Tue, 21 Jun 2016 10:29:02 -0500, Vic Smith

I have broken up concrete, using a (maybe) 10 pound maul. What I found to ease the job was I lifted the concrete slabs, creating a 1 -> 2 inch gap between the concrete base and the ground. When I had a failed side walk piece, there I just used a crow bar (resting on a small brick) to lever/ pry that slab off the ground - then "pinned" up with a couple of small bricks.
I had a much thicker, driveway section to remove. There I dug a small edge side hole and used a 5 ton portable hand jack to elevate the slab, then pinned it up.
In both cases, having that 1 -2 inch gap made the job a LOT easier, in my opinion. Typically a few "slams" woud completely crack the section. If the broken section are to large to handle, again create a gap
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In wrote:

I have done the same thing -- both the pry-up method and the bottle jack method. I think the sledgehammer that I used (and still have) was 16 lb, not 20 lb, but I am not sure.
I have also used bottle jacks to jack up a slab that was too low to make it even with the adjacent slab. Then I placed a support or two under it to keep it level, then filled in underneath the slab with dirt and a water hose and let it dry out, then removed the temporary supports. For smaller slabs, like section of a sidewalk, just a crowbar as a lever worked.
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Wow.

We put in thin posts that way. Since it was hard to get water, eEventually we stopped watering them and let the moisture in the dirt do it. But I never heard of a whole floor before.

I'll tell them about this, and everything else mentioned here.
Thank you all.
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On Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at 11:29:07 AM UTC-4, Vic Smith wrote:

I had to expose a in-slab drain in order to move a basement shower. I tried to open the slab with a big sledge, then with a small sledge and cold chisel. No way! When I mentioned my problem to a neighbor, he said a very wise thing:
"If you're working too hard, you're probably using the wrong tool."
The next day he brought home an electric jackhammer from work. I had it back to him a couple of hours later. It was sweet!
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On Wed, 22 Jun 2016 10:20:56 -0700 (PDT), DerbyDad03

That's the neighbor to have. And it sounds like he works in the place I'd want my n'bor to work. My n'bor has an old pickup truck and a nice car. When he moved in, my first selfish thought was, Hey, maybe I can borrow the truck. But he got mad at me for some reason, woudn't tell me why, wouldn't say yes or no when I guessed, and he's not lendin' me nuttin.
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On Tue, 21 Jun 2016 05:26:28 -0400, Micky

If you are breaking up concrete you should try to lift up a corner and break that off, working your way into the middle. That works if you have a very long steel bar. When concrete is sitting in the bedding, it is very tough (why you build a good base to begin with). If you can even get it a quarter of an inch off the ground, it breaks pretty easy. It also helps if you have a concrete saw and you make smaller pieces to start with. Three guys broke up a 250 sq/ft slab at my house with rebar in it and loaded it in a dumpster in about 3 hours
http://gfretwell.com/electrical/addition/The%20wrecking%20crew.jpg
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On Tuesday, June 21, 2016 at 2:26:36 AM UTC-7, Micky wrote:

Anyone using a 60# electric yakhammer will soon realize it's become a #90 pound JH within 1/2 an hour (happened to me while breaking up several 200-300# fence post cement chunks a few Summers back STG
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On Tue, 21 Jun 2016 08:52:55 -0700 (PDT), Shade Tree Guy

I believe it. Muscles only do so much, at least until tomorrow or the next day.
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Concrete is strong in compression, but quite weak in tension (if there's no reinforcing bar).
If the slab is resting firmly on the ground, you could probably beat on it all day with a sledge and just chip away at the surface.
However, if you can pry up sections of the sidewalk so it is unsupported in the middle, you should be able to hit the middle of that section with a small sledge and break it easily. I easily broke up about 80 sq/ft of walkway at my in-laws with this technique. It took me less than two hours using nothing but a shovel and a 4 pound sledge (I was in my late 40's at the time). This method worked because the sidewalk was made of 2'x2' squares that were easy to lift and crack.
Last week I needed to move a 2'x3'x4" concrete step away from my pump house. I flipped it over to get it out of the way and it landed on a rock. It cracked into two pieces just from it's own weight. Kind of a bummer actually, as I was planning to reuse that small slab. :)

Drill and split?
I had to remove a 3'x8' slab last year that was about 5-6" thick and reinforced with three runs of rebar. I wasn't in a rush and didn't want to spend money renting a jack hammer. So, I used my rotary hammer to drill a series of holes, then used feathers and wedges to crack off chunks of the slab. It only took me a few hours (spread out over a couple days), to break up the slab. The hard part was loading up all the concrete chunks and wheeling them away:
http://www.watsondiy.com/20150912-patio.htm
Anthony Watson www.watsondiy.com www.mountainsoftware.com
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On Thu, 23 Jun 2016 04:12:33 -0000 (UTC), HerHusband

Very good. You do good work.
Nice looking family, too.

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On 6/21/2016 4:26 AM, Micky wrote:

I had a sidewalk that wrapped around three sides of the house. I hired a couple of guys to get rid of it for me. They showed up with a dumptruck and a bobcat with a jackhammer attachment. The bobcat's jackhammer made incredibly short work of breaking up the concrete. They then put the bucket back onto the bobcat, scooped up the concrete, and dropped it into the dump truck. Took them less than an hour. $300.00, and worth every penny to me.
Check your local rental place and find out how much they'd charge for a bobcat with a jackhammer attachment. Your guy will have a ball playing with it.
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Moe DeLoughan posted for all of us...

+1 It's brutal work without the proper equipment.
--
Tekkie

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wrote:

I've seen at least one of those. Amazing what people think of.
When I was in Nicaragua in 1970, a guy was breaking up a cement sidewalk with a 6' metal rod, about the diameter of rebar or less. I wonder how long that took him.

I'd think so too.
I think these people are short of money, but I don't know.
Originally I was giving away some fertilizer I realize I'll never use. She was one of two people who wanted it, and there were 6+ bags so I was going to split it. We had some sort of disagreement because I wanted her to call me to on the phone to say when she or her husband was coming. The phone is a lot faster than email, and I don't text.
But I still left open the possibility of email, and then she ignored me for a week, and when I emailed to ask if she still wanted it, I don't know what happened but she said she didn't want it anymore. She was brusque. I'm sure I didn't do anything really wrong, but some time I'll read all the emails again and try to figure out what antagonized her. (She said "My life does not allow me to make many phone calls. I can text and email.". Maybe she's deaf and doesn't want to say so, and I guess her husband and her kids are too. But if she's so deaf she can't use a phone, all her friends etc. must know.)
But I'm not vindictive, plus I owed her because she gave me a computer speakerphone years ago, and when she wanted a sledgehammer, I was going to lend her mine. I don't know if it's 20 pounds but it's heavy.
But I thought she needed some (unsolicited) advice too. I don't think her husband is really trained on this stuff. So I sent what advice I knew, and she wrote back that someone else had already lent them the sledge, and didn't thank me for the advice, or my renewed offer of the fertilizer. I'm glad *I'm* not married to her. All the more reason I don't want to see the guy break his back.
But still, I'm going to add up all these posts and my first one, but not this one, remove all your names and email addresses, and sent it to them, hopefully tonight. I'm sure they haven't started yet, and I think there's something doing tomorrow so they probably won't start until Sunday at the earliest.

I'm sure you're right.
I don't even know if they have 6 ft2 or the whole driveway to do.
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