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My neighbor and I have a cinder block wall between us. The wall is leaning towards her side of the property. She has planter beds next to the wall.

What tools and technique would I use to neatly demo the block wall...I.e. Remove the cinderblocks from too down individually so that we won't damage the planter beds?

update The wall is not part of our residence. It is a freestanding wall. I'm not sure if it is filled with concrete. How can I tell? Just try to demo a block from the top?

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    Are the blocks filled with concrete or just mortared together. If mortared together and not filled see @isherwood answer below. If they are filled a masonry saw blade used to cut through the concrete will be needed and possibly any rebar that was added for strength. I have done this with a skill saw and fiber blade but perfer to rent a cement demo saw as it is much faster. – Ed Beal Sep 10 '17 at 15:24
  • Please clarify: Is this part of your residential structure? Or is this an exterior wall (fence)? – wallyk Sep 10 '17 at 15:47
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This may be a bit overkill, but put a netting on her side of the wall, then climbing on a ladder/scaffolding (which may well be entirely on your property) start hitting the wall from her side through the netting, starting at the top of the wall. The pieces should fall entirely on your property that way. Depending on the netting, you might still get some dust on her property though.

For the dust part, you could offer to temporarily install a dust sheet over her plants. Also, you could probably use/rent a (powered) demo hammer, although using it (from the top) at slight angle from her side may be a little tricky, unlike swinging a sledge hammer. If she gives you access to her property for the scaffolding as well, then using a demo hammer would probably be best. You might be able to regularly demo just from your side using the demo hammer horizontally, but it will take a strong netting to contain all the stuff if you're pushing it into the netting on purpose all the time.

You may be able to do that last bit (demo from your side with a demo hammer) as shown in this vid by just loosening the mortar holding the bricks/blocks together, but it depends on the mortar (strength) and it takes a bit of experience/finesse.

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Unless there's some sort of steel or other reinforcement in the wall, you should just be able to knock each block loose from its mortar bond with a heavy hammer. A 24 ounce framing hammer or 3lb small sledge would do the job nicely.

If you don't have suitable hammer, a 3-5 foot length of 2x4 works well. Strike the block using the end of the lumber so that its full weight impacts the block and knocks it loose.

Striking the blocks at their ribs will be more likely to dislodge them intact, but expect breakage depending on age and condition. Strike blocks at hollow cells to break them up.

  • Will the hammer break the concrete blocks? Should I hit it a certain way or air for a certain part of each block? – milesmeow Sep 10 '17 at 4:25
  • See updated answer. – isherwood Sep 10 '17 at 12:52

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