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amakarevic 04-12-2007 03:12 PM

Redmodeling basement bathroom
My bathroom has basic bathroom waste facilities, i.e. a toilet and shower drains. However, I want to change it all, i.e. rearrange the pieces. The floor is solid concrete and the main sewer pipe is, i would say, 2-3 ft below. This is a federal style city row-house, all-brick, built 1909 in Washington, D.C., to help with framing a reference.

When it comes to breaking the concrete floor in the bathroom, I was thinking of using a 1" SDS rotary hammer, such as this:

with some masonry chisel bits. Is this the right tool? I am sceptical to use a jackhammer because I fear it is not precise enough and it might cause unwanted cracks outside the bathroom frame.

Also, any other insight would be much appreciated from anyone who has related experience ...

Much obliged,

- a

Ron The Plumber 04-12-2007 06:24 PM

It will take a long time using a chipping hammer, jack hammer is best option.

Manuel6 04-13-2007 07:25 AM

Since I live in slabland Florida and have had the displeasure of ripping through a few slabs, I thought I'd help you out.

When selecting a hammer, first look at how much impact energy the hammer delivers to the surface (2.2 ft-lbs is very low). On a concrete slab, 4" thick, I would not chip with anything that did not deliver at least 10 ft-lbs of impact energy. Therefore, you should get either a good mid-size demolition hammer (makita makes really good ones) or go with the jack hammer.

Secondly, if you are worried about run away cracks while chipping, score the surface of the concrete at least an 1" deep. This can be accomplished by attaching a dry cutting diamond blade to a circular saw. Dry cutting is going to create a lot of dust- so be ready. You could use the dry cutting blade and have somebody with you sprinkling water on the dust while you cut to keep the dust from going everywhere; however, you have to work fast or you will soon find yourself in half and inch of water.

If you have a somewhat large area to rip out, by far the easiest way to rip through slabs is with a concrete cut-off saw, a jackhammer, and a pickaxe. Use the cut-off saw to cut through the slab and establish your perimeter. Then, cut that area into smaller quadrants. After which, somebody will use the pick axe to pull the sections up while you jack hammer close to the center of the piece, forcing the section to crack into even smaller pieces that can then be pulled up completely and hauled away. I hope this helps, good luck, and don't forgot your respirator.

Mike Finley 04-23-2007 07:36 PM

Like said above, score it with a masonary blade in a circular saw, but forget about that rotary hammer and rent a nice big electric jack hammer from Home Depot, you'll be there all day with that little chipper. Old concrete can be like hardened steel.

AtlanticWBConst. 04-23-2007 07:53 PM

Yep...Jack hammer...or a demolition hammer....

Tears the concrete up easily......

FWIW - We have this Bosch and love it:

Ishmael 04-23-2007 08:36 PM

I prefer to cut the area out with a water-cooled concrete/masonry saw. When the slab is cut right through around the perimeter, it's easy to break-up the area you'd like to remove with a large sledge hammer - and you don't have to worry about damaging the slab outside the proposed excavation area. Much less dusty, too; but you'll have some water to mop up when you're done.

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