I am building a pizza oven for the backyard and part of the build instructions said to build three concrete slabs (2 that are 47" x 20" x 5.5" and another that is 47" x 29.5" x 5.5"). It asks you to pour the slabs on a flat surface like a garage floor.

I poured them on my garage floors without thinking how the heck I was going to get them to the back yard and up on top of the CMU base that is 5 courses high (so a little over 42 inches high). I have to get them through a fence gate (when removed it leaves a 33" wide clearance side to side.

I was thinking an engine hoist would be great but the orientation of the legs I think would be too wide to get through the gate fence. My next idea was to construct an A frame to lift it onto a sled to transport it to the back and then use the A frame equipped with a chain fall to bring it higher.

What do you guys think about that approach or do you have another?

I believe the two smaller slabs to be about 450lbs each and the bigger slab to be close to 800lbs.

  • 2
    At the end of the day, it might be easier to chalk it up as experience and just pour new slabs on-site. Moving concrete is no easy feat.
    – DA01
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 0:48
  • The engine hoist I used, did not have that wide of a stance
    – Jack
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 1:14
  • 1
    If chalking it up to experience, look at a uuni 2 (no affiliation, I stumbled across it in a mis-typoed URL) - it certainly makes me think twice about the massive (and slow to heat) approach to outdoor ovens...
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 1:54
  • 1
    What type of fence? Consider removing a fence panel if it can be done easily. Sometimes you can just take off a wide enough area between posts and put it back easy. That way you open up your options. If you can rent/borrow or trade for a small skid loader or material lift if it's all paved surface that would probably be the easiest way to move and lift them into place. Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 7:19
  • We may be missing something here, but concrete gives off some nasty smells (and presumably tastes) AND isn't fire safe with refractory bricks for a lining. This has bad idea written in multiple places all over it. Commented Nov 4, 2015 at 16:59

7 Answers 7


10 stout men to tip the slabs on edge, then log rollers, Egyptian style. Maybe a bit of ramp to get them up to their final resting place.

  • On edge is far more likely to hurt someone.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 0:10
  • If they were much taller than 2-1/2 feet and were narrower than 5", I'd agree. Plus, I wasn't kidding about having lots of muscle to help. Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 14:32

155 pounds per cubic foot seems a typical number for concrete. A cubic foot is 12x12x12 inches, or 1,728 cubic inches. Your larger slab comes to 7,625.75 ci and should be right about 684 lbs. Your smaller slabs should be about 464 lbs each.

If they have not cured for a month or so, they will be weak/fragile as well as heavy. So you might want to think about it for a month while they cure and get stronger. Water them occasionally (and no, I'm not kidding.)

I'd aim for a dolly, with the slab loaded so the dolly can roll through the gate. Otherwise a 3 or 4 wheel cart. A tall (long handled) dolly will give you a leverage advantage. Wedges and jacks to lift the slab off the garage floor so the dolly can be slid under it (flat) to load.

Have someone ready to chock the wheels if there are any slopes involved.

Rollers are another option, but can be hard to manage without a crew to keep knocking them straight and running the ones from the back up to the front. You'll need a hard path (wooden planks or plywood) over the grass for those to work. You may also need that, depending what the tires are, if you use a dolly or cart.

Engine hoist still makes sense for lifting them up (can pass through gate in pieces) or there are a variety of other strategies - but I'd rent (or buy one if you have other uses) an engine hoist for the simplicity and reliability of it.


This is a tough one. I think using a vehicle would be best but I don't see that getting through the 33" gate.

I think you need something that's low and narrow. A strong metal platform truck

metal platform truck

might work, the hard part would be wrestling the blocks onto the platform. You probably also have to lay plywood on the ground ahead of the truck, I imagine the wheels would dig right into the ground. (I've never seen one of these with outdoor type wheels.) If you used two 8' pieces of plywood, cut narrow enough to get through the gates, you could swap them around and go 8' at a stretch.

A palette jack

palette jack

might be a better bet, it would probably be fairly easy to use a lever to get some wood under the center of the block to raise it high enough to lift with the palette jack. You could even build a palette for the blocks if that's easier.

If there is any kind of slope at all, you'll have to be careful these don't get away from you. Lowering it or raising it with a winch or a come-along might be the way to go, keeping a board chock just downhill of the wheels just in case.


I'd definitely second the pallet truck suggestion. I've got three and they can all handle 2000kgs (4400lbs) so weight is no problem. Use a pair of bars on wood packers to get it up off the floor until you can get trolley jacks underneath it. then run the pallet truck under it and lower the jacks.

Just set up some planks or 3/4" plywood (as long as there are no big dips in the route) for the solid wheels to run on.

Getting it up on the top I'd use a 'material lift'. I use these to lift steel beams up to ceiling level and they are super easy, super safe and very easy to manipulate, even under heavy load. They are available to hire here in the UK. Genie is the common brand here. http://www.concordlifting.co.uk/product/genie-lift-genie-machines-genie-superlift/.

Hopefully there is something similar close to you?

Also I second the waiting. Unreinforced concrete is very prone to cracking under tension. Month minimum.

Be a great story for the grandkids...


I had a granite boulder carved that weighed about that much, with an inscription as a memorial that needed to be placed. I used an engine hoist to lift it onto my truck from a paved parking lot, then carried it all to the site near a woods edge where it was to be set just so-so. I made a wood gangway to use the hoist to get it to its final resting place, it was precarious, scary at times, but i was slow and deliberate, and got it done. The gangway was only about 10 ft long.

I kept it as low as possible and watched carefully how it swung on the very short chain I had it lifted up by.


Cut the sections in half (or thirds) so that they are somewhat manageable. Once on site they can be mortared together with refractory cement. Also if you can construct a skid made from 3/4 CDX plywood for the bed and some timber framing, it should be relatively simple to tow the blocks with a vehicle.


I wonder what the outcome was from the original poster. I found this question when faced with pretty much the same situation myself, with 3 slabs to move and lift onto cinder block platform. My slabs were 47" x 18.5" x 5.5", so a little lighter. About 430 LBs each.

I ended up just getting a bunch of a big strong guys and we carried them over and into place, after using a pry bar to repeatedly raise the slabs to get under them with boards and make the initial lift easy. Four guys did the job, one at each corner. Plenty of room for extra hands.

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