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drh 12-04-2007 08:38 AM

How can I remove an old concrete porch?
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Hello fellow DIY'ers:

Looking for some much needed advice. As a proud new homeowner in a great area, I recently discovered that underneath our wooden front porch, is a giant old concrete porch slab sitting behind it (I've attached two pictures to this post to illustrate what I mean).

My question: how can I go about myself removing this slab? As you can see from the second picture, it's starting to pull away from the house, causing it to shift the concrete block foundation behind it.

Is this something I can rent a small jackhammer for and slowly chip it down? The pro's are quoting me in the region of $4,000 to have their guys jackhammer it out, but it seems as though something I should be able to do myself also.

Many thanks!

Chris Johnson 12-04-2007 09:03 AM

If that's a solid chunck of concrete, even me in the concrete business would pay the 4k to get rid of it. If it's hollow you can do it yourself, there is probably a bunch of fill below the concrete slab, some you may be able to spread down there the balance would need a home somewhere else.

Good Luck

drh 12-04-2007 09:51 AM

Chris -- I'm 99% sure it's a solid piece of mass given that I can see someone appears to have chipped away at it previously, likely to determine the very same thing. And also the fact that it's heaving so badly it causing the foundation to crack behind it.

You think the sweat labor involved in removing it myself wouldn't be worth saving the money to have it professionally taken out?


Chris Johnson 12-04-2007 02:19 PM

Some people are cut out for cutting out concrete, I look for the easiest route when getting rid of the stuff and if it's solid that is a ton of work to break it up in that confined area and get it out of there.

Assuming you have a day job and this would be done on nights and weekends, kiss them good bye for a while, that is a hugh task. If you were to remove the deck prior to getting it out, that's a little different of a story.

Have some one come in with a core drill even a 1" hole is fine, drill and see if it is solid. If it is someone spent an awful lot of money where not needed and you are paying a heftyier price to remove it now.

ponch37300 12-04-2007 03:46 PM

If you are set on saving the money then rent a jack hammer for a weekend and see where you get. It looks solide from the pics. Once you chip away at it for the weekend you can see if it is something you want to keep doing or not. Do you have a way to dispose of all the cement, truck and dump? See how much it is going to cost to get ride of it also.

Handyman50 12-04-2007 05:10 PM

It could be that to save concrete, they may have filled the center of the slab with rock and concreted around it. It could still be 6" to 8" thick or more. I have seen this done. The only way to know is by chipping away at it.

I would rent a small jackhammer for the weekend as previously suggested. If possible, you should remove some of the wooden porch to allow you access to it from the top. This would be much easier than getting even a small electric jackhammer under the porch.

jogr 12-05-2007 11:47 AM

I would think the stuff here called CRACK.AG would work but don't know how expensive it is.

Use a hammerdrill to drill a series of holes, pour in the slurry and in the morning that area will be broken up.

drh 12-07-2007 08:25 AM

Jogr - thank you for the slurry tip. I've looked at this as a potential solution also, but my only concern is that the concrete is resting up against the foundation of the house and I'm not sure whether the slurry might cause additional potential damage to the foundation?

kiwi54 12-09-2007 10:20 PM

I gotta agree with Chris, that's a fair chunk of concrete and it's looks solid from here given that someone has tried to eat into it before.
Look, there's a ton of things that might go wrong, we don't know what's behind your wall, what it's holding up, what the block might now be holding up given the home looks an older one.
I would maybe get more than one quote but if it's a reputable company then although they may not describe exactly what they need to do, there's usually a reason a company charges a certain figure. It may be that the price includes some form of bracing before concrete removal. An older home sometimes requires that.
If this is your new home, unless you're fully conversant with what you need to do or have someone on site that is, then go to the professionals. The pics you have sent in, while not giving me a full idea, suggest that this could be a disaster waiting to happen when or if you tackle it alone.

Zero Punch 12-11-2007 10:23 AM

$4000 sounds like a I don't want to fool with it bid. Can't believe it's a solid pour. Rent a jack-hammer and take it out.

jogr 12-11-2007 11:02 AM

You have to work from above for the jack hammer. As far as what size jackhammer to rent - bigger is not necessarily better unless you are very fit and strong.

If you proceed on your own keep an eye on the condition of your wall as you work down. You may find that the old concrete porch is the only thing holding it up/together. You would want to stop removing the concrete at the first sign that this could be the case and think about whether you want to continue and how to repair the wall.

Jeekinz 12-11-2007 01:41 PM

I rented, I think a 10 yard dumpster to get rid of various concrete/stone from around my house. It's definately hard work, but I can't see spending $4 G's and only have an open space to show for it a week later.

Another option would be to use an air compressor and pneumatic chisel. It would take alot longer but the cost of the tools are inexpensive and can be used for other things later on. Plus you save $4000.

NateHanson 12-11-2007 02:37 PM


Originally Posted by Jeekinz (Post 79827)
Another option would be to use an air compressor and pneumatic chisel. It would take alot longer but the cost of the tools are inexpensive and can be used for other things later on. Plus you save $4000.

You gotta be kidding, or masochistic! :)

You can rent a diesel compressor and jackhammer for $200 for the weekend. You can rent an electric breaker for $60. If you want to do it yourself get the right tool.

I'd consider doing this myself, but figure out how you're going to transport and dispose of the debris. That's probably a few tons of concrete! And you're gonna have to move it all (twice if you don't have a dump truck/trailer!) A dumpster will probably cost you $500 for that stuff.

jogr 12-11-2007 03:39 PM

How about a concrete chisel and a hand sledge. Hammer out a little every evening and sneak it into your houshold trash. Think of it as a fitness program. It be gone in just a few years, well quite a few.

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