How to Break Up Concrete

Concrete may need to be broken up when demolishing a path, driveway, or wall. This is usually when it needs to be replaced.

The tool you need for the job depends on the amount of concrete which needs to be demolished or broken down.

The best way to break up concrete less than 2 inches thick is by using a light/medium concrete breaker, otherwise known as a demolition breaker.

For larger areas, or concrete thicker than 2 inches, floor breakers are also available, also known as heavy breakers or pneumatic jackhammers.

A concrete breaker is a hammer fitted to an excavator, designed to demolish materials which are otherwise built to last.



It is really important to wear safety gear when using power tools and during concrete demolition. Safety goggles, ear protection, gloves, a dust mask, and work boots are all essential. Any PPE you require can be purchased from Speedy Hire.


How to Break Up Concrete in 5 Steps

Step 1: Prepare the breaker

Always follow the instructions of your specific concrete breaker. If hiring from Speedy, all equipment comes with safety information and detailed instructions, so read these before use.

When you receive your breaker, it will come with a selection of attachments. Choose the right one for the job and follow the instructions to fit it. Always make sure your breaker is unplugged and switched off before changing attachments.

Once your breaker is plugged in and the correct fitting is in place, you’re good to move on to the next step.



Step 2: Prepare the area

The area you’re going to break should be free from any debris or other power tools lying around. Always clear up and move things out of the way before working with power tools.

Before breaking up concrete, use a yard brush to get rid of any dust, leaves, or twigs beforehand. You may also want to hose the area down, which will remove any stubborn dirt and also reduce the likelihood of dust escaping.

You should also ensure all pets and children are kept out of the way.

If you’re unsure about what is under the concrete, you may also want to use a cable or pipe detector to check for any underground utilities, wires or pipes. You don’t want to hit anything.


Step 3: Position yourself

Always stand on solid, unbroken concrete. Start from the area furthest away from you, so you can work backwards and always have an unbroken surface to stand on.

Make sure the power cord is always behind you and away from the breaker. Keep a steady footing, and ensure you feel stable. The breaker will be powerful, so be prepared.


Step 4: Start breaking

Once both you and the breaker are at the correct position to begin, and you feel sturdy, start to operate the breaker.

Usually, there is a trigger to pull. The breaker will start working on the area the attachment is pointing to. Keep a firm grip due to the power of the breaker.


Step 5: Remove concrete as you go

You should work by breaking down small pieces of concrete. Don’t try to break off large pieces of concrete, as these will be heavy to dispose of and could cause the breaker to become stuck and struggle.

Pause periodically and tidy up the surroundings. Turn off the breaker and safely lower it until it is flat on the ground before leaving.

You might want to collect small pieces of concrete in a wheelbarrow to make it easier to carry away. Don’t attempt to lift any concrete which is too heavy—break it up smaller with a sledgehammer until it is a good size.

Remember to keep wearing your PPE until the job is done, including during disposal.




Yes. Speedy Hire, the UK's leading tool hire company, have a range of drilling and breaking equipment and power tools for hire nationwide. So, no matter the concrete which needs breaking, we have a tool to match and make the job as easy as possible.

Speedy has more than 200 local service centres across the nation, hire counters in selected B&Qs and nationwide 4-hour delivery. It has never been easier to hire the tools and equipment you need.

You’ll find all the tools you need right here. Why not open a Speedy account today online or visit us in your local depot to start hiring today?

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