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I've been in my home for 10 years and have finally decided to get rid of this mysterious eyesore in my backyard. It's a roughly 4' x 4' concrete pad, with two 1/4-inch x 6-in steel pipes installed vertically, but cutoff with a torch before we bought it. The pipes are ~27" apart, extend at least 2-ft below the surface and the concrete is at least 6-in thick at the edge of the pad. I've chipped away at the edges with a 6-lb sledge and found it's not going to break up easily! I'd like to satisfy my curiosity and also figure out how I need to upgrade my removal strategy.

So what is this thing?!

4-ft square concrete pad Closeup view of a cutoff 1/4" x 6-in steel pipe

Extra details: The house was built in 1995, I live in Michigan, the pad is ~50-ft from house with no other structures nearby.

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    a barbeque support? or a support for a basketball board / hoop? – Solar Mike May 13 at 15:05
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    I agree with solar mike it is some kind of support, who knows for what. Some of the parks in my areas have very similar supports for BBQ, some have 1 but the larger ones have 2. – Ed Beal May 13 at 17:37
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Removal strategies vary depending on what equipment you already have, can negotiate to borrow, or are willing to rent or buy.

The pipe stubs don't leave much to grip but if you or a neighbor (etc) can get a welder there, a chain could be attached to each pipe. That provides an attachment for lifting. Otherwise, it does work to tie chain around an object just the same as one could do with rope. A long towing chain could be tied around the concrete in a variety of ways. The block could then be lifted with compact heavy equipment like a skid loader or mini excavator.

In case heavy equipment goes a little too far there are good alternatives. The slab will have to be broken first though so the posts can be dealt with one at a time. Consider upgrading the attack to a 60 pound electric demolition hammer from a tool rental store. That's generally the last option short of renting a towable air compressor and pneumatic jack hammer. The powered hammers aren't likely to crack the concrete clear through, but either will chip away at it faster than the sledge does.

With the slab broken each post might be lifted out with simpler tools. A chain hoist hung from a frame, such as 2x4 lumber lashed into a tripod, could work (I've pulled up many fence posts with a 1 ton Harbor Freight chain hoist and a lashed tripod). An engine hoist might do the job as well.

In case the posts must be dug out manually, here's one last suggestion: use a large wet/dry vacuum. Loosen the dirt with a digging chisel and vacuum the loose stuff out of the hole. You'll get away with removing less soil as compared to digging with a spade and, for the depth you have to go, it could be less work too.

  • Thanks for some great ideas. I was also considering digging out 12-in deep on one side to give enough room to put a base and 6-ton bottle jack underneath to lift it up. I was hoping someone might recognize its function, so I could better guess how thick it's likely to be and if it will have rebar, etc. – retriever123 May 13 at 21:38
  • Base for a slide. – user101687 Jun 12 at 21:15
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Was probably a ham radio antenna--the kind with a center pivot and a single pole above. I had one like it on a property I owned. I just flexed a reciprocating saw blade down to the concrete and cut them off flush.

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