How can I remove a brick patio set in concrete and on a concrete slab? Is it possible for a woman to do this herself?

  • Why are you trying to remove it? – user23752 Jul 25 '14 at 4:56
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    For what it's worth, I'm a firm believer that a woman can do anything a man can do. Basic strength isn't that different, women may have an edge in stamina, and tools are a great equalizer. – keshlam Jul 25 '14 at 5:35
  • Are you trying to remove the slab, or just the brick on top? – Chris Cudmore Jul 25 '14 at 13:40
  • my dad always said: if it's too hard, then you've just got the wrong tool or technique. There was no mention of being a man or a woman. – Christian Fritz Oct 9 '16 at 3:50

If you have plenty of time, and don't want to hire power tools, you can do it a bit at a time over several weeks (months?). It will be hard work but anyone can do it.

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That's a brick bolster and a club hammer, which is what I had to hand when I needed to break up some brickwork. You could try some other type of cold chisel or hammer. It depends what you can borrow or what advice you can get from the local store.

The brickwork I was attacking was set with mortar. If your concrete turns out to be too tough you may have to try power tools instead.

It so happens I have an old cheap Chinese-made SDS hammer drill that had been used to break up a large heap of set asphalt (you can buy these very cheaply, they won't be very durable but OK for occasional light use). These things usually have a rotation-stop lever and come with a chisel. I'd probably escalate to that before considering hiring a jackhammer.

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A tool-hire shop should be able to advise.


With a jackhammer. If that woman can use a jackhammer, then she can do it herself.

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    Strictly speaking, you don't need a jackhammer, A sledge hammer, a four-pound hammer and a large brick chisel should do fine if you have the time. – Edwin Jul 24 '14 at 20:43
  • @Edwin - Concrete is incredibly strong in compression and weak in tension. Breaking with a sledge hammer is really difficult unless you can pry it up off the dirt to put it in tension. – Comintern Jul 24 '14 at 22:34
  • I'm with @Edwin on this - cancel the gym membership, grab a pair of safety glasses, and think about things that irritate you, imagine them on the patio, and smash them. You can do it yourself and come out in great shape to boot. Having done a bit of it, I'm going to suggest that Comintern's comment appears to come from book knowledge rather than experience. Concrete will break when you ask it to, forcefully. Prying up is rarely practical or necessary. – Ecnerwal Jul 25 '14 at 1:05
  • One tip would be to start at one corner and break up a brick, then chip away the subsequent bricks in the direction of the empty space. That way rather than having to reduce the bricks to dust you should be able to pop them out whole. I should warn you that you might find a slab underneath the bricks and that will require some different tactics. Let us know if that's the case. – user23534 Jul 25 '14 at 1:43
  • @Ecnerwal - Comes from experience of breaking up a bunch of sidewalks. Even an 1/8" lift makes a huge difference - I have an old 5' railroad pinch bar I use for this. – Comintern Jul 25 '14 at 12:35

Sounds like it is on a concrete slab. Nevertheless the suggestions of using a small slam hammer first, and see if that is sufficient, is the way to go. The bedding for the brick is mortar so it should break up pretty easily.

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