How Much Does it Cost to Remove Concrete?
Last Updated: June 02, 2023
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Severely damaged concrete must be removed in advance of replacement. A concrete patio or walkway can also be demolished to make way for landscaping. In either case, removing concrete is tough work that involves a number of variables. Learn about the factors that affect concrete removal costs in this consumer guide from Cost Owl.
Conditions Necessitating Concrete Removal #
If you're interested in concrete removal because the concrete on your property is in disrepair, you might first consider patching or resurfacing. These options, however, may only provide a short-term solution. Although you should seek a professional opinion on the matter, the following conditions typically warrant concrete removal:
- Numerous and deep settlement cracks
- Sunken slabs
- Frost heaves (concrete pushed up due to frozen moisture; a frequent occurrence in cold climates)
- The cost to repair/resurface the concrete is not economical compared to the cost of removal and replacement (get some estimates for both resurfacing and replacement to determine this)
Concrete Removal Price Factors #
There's no magic formula to determine concrete removal costs. A number of factors, including those below, affect pricing:
- Concrete amount: Both slab size and thicknesses affect the cost of concrete removal. Most estimates reflect a standard 4" slab; thicker slabs are more expensive to remove.
- Reinforced vs. unreinforced concrete: Reinforced concrete has steel mesh and metal rebar running through it. More time and special equipment, often including heavy machinery, are needed to remove reinforced concrete, leading to higher costs. Unreinforced concrete can often be removed with only a sledgehammer and pry bar at a lower cost.
- Equipment: The type of equipment used for concrete removal is dictated by the type of concrete. That's not the only factor to consider, though. For example, a jackhammer (electric or pneumatic) can be used to remove unreinforced concrete faster than a sledgehammer and pry bar, but the equipment cost will be higher. If removing concrete as a DIY project, you'll have a little more say over the methods used than if you hire a pro, who might use heavy machinery such as a Bobcat with jackhammer attachment (you could also opt to rent a skid steer). Using advanced equipment can actually be cheaper than manual work, as the latter requires much more labor (if you're hiring a pro…for DIYers, it will save you time and effort). Regardless of who does the work, plan on renting a trash container/dumpster to hold the demolished debris. Other equipment that might be used includes a mattock, bolt cutters, concrete saw, power wheelbarrow, and plastic sheeting (to cover the slab and prevent wayward chunks from causing damage).
- Hauling and disposal: Unless you want a yard full of broken concrete, you'll need to pay for the material to be taken away and disposed of. The costs associated with this vary significantly by region. Concrete recycling can be significantly cheaper than landfill disposal. Check out the official webpage of the Construction Materials Recycling Association (CMRA) to find a recycler in your area.
- Permits: A permit and/or inspection are sometimes required for concrete demolition. Contact your municipality to find out more. In the name of safety, you might also want to have underground lines marked by utility companies.
Concrete Removal Average Costs #
- Concrete removal costs $2 to $6 per square foot (including demolition, loading, hauling, and disposal) but could cost more depending on the difficulty and scope of the job as well as the local market.
- Large jobs (over 1,000 sq. ft.) might be priced as low as $1 per square foot, while companies might charge more for smaller jobs.
- DIY concrete removal is significantly cheaper than hiring a pro. Renting a jackhammer and concrete saw might cost might cost $75 to $150 per day. Skid steer rental costs around $150 to $300 per day, a "roll off" dumpster costs $250 to $500 and a power wheelbarrow costs $40 to $50 per day.
- Disposal costs can run as high as $100 per ton (a simple 12' x 14' patio can have 2.5 tons of concrete); transportation costs run as high as $.25 per ton per mile. A demolition permit costs $15 to $30. Places that recycle concrete often accept it for free.
- DIYers can check out The Family Handyman for tips on concrete removal.