1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Easiest way to tear down a concrete wall?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by Hass, May 15, 2011.

  1. Hass

    Hass Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Messages:
    529
    Loc:
    Alabama, NY
    I have a 12" concrete wall diving my basement up that I want taken down.
    My basement is only 10x14, so it's not the biggest thing in the world.
    I believe it was an old sistern setup.

    the wall is approx 5ft off the ground, with all the plumbing and HWT on the opposite side... so I have to crawl over it every time I do anything.
    Plus the basement takes on water pretty bad on that side, with no drainage to get to the other side except for a hole about 5" off the floor.

    I tried to drill it with my 12 amp Rigid drill and a 1/2" concrete bit, ran it full power for about 2 minutes, and got through maybe an inch.
    My next plan is to just use a 7" grinder with a diamond wheel on it, and go to town... Then sledge it to pieces.
    (The grinder and diamond wheels I both own, so no extra cost there)

    I'd really like rent a 14" concrete saw, but I'm unable to find an electric powered one... Since I'd die in about 3 minutes from CO poisoning if I ran a gas powered guy down there.

    Problem with a 7" grinder, is I'd only maybe get a 3" deep cut on it... probably more like 2 1/2"
    I'm not sure if that will be deep enough to start knocking it all down.

    Any suggestions?

    edit;
    this is the old, old old school type of concrete where there are giant rocks and such included in the mix... Probably about 2" are the biggest size I see

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,511
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio
    I think I'd rent a concrete chain saw and figure out somthing for ventalation. You will need it for the dust anyhow. wear a resperator and goggles. also wet down cement as you cut. I think you can attach a garden hose to the saw. I'm not sure if you can cut rebar with those.
  3. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    How about renting an electric demolition hammer. Not too big that you can't lift it. Once you make headway, sledge hammer.
  4. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    2,061
    Loc:
    Northern CT
    A jackhammer would do it, but they are heavy and need huge amounts of compressed air. An electric one, as fishinpol said, sounds like the way to go. Don't breathe the dust - use a mask!
  5. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,052
    Loc:
    Merrimack Valley, MA
    I had a set of steps at the back of my house that had stones within it. It was the hardest concrete that I ever worked on. Sledge did not work, but demo hammer made short work of it. The vibration helps weaken the concrete and get cracks going. For a half day rental, it is worth a try. The rental desk at the box stores usually will get you the right set up. I don't think a chisel point is the way to go. Maybe a 2" wide chisel or just under that. Work smarter not harder.
  6. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,511
    Loc:
    N.W. Ohio
    check out this video if u've never seen a diamand blade chainsaw in action. beets a jackhamer easily and no rough edges.

    http://youtu.be/8VhwNx4T4qg
  7. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    I've had my Partner K650 12" gas cut-off saw for 17 yrs bought new.Bought it for cutting up to size various limestone & granite slabs 2" to 5" thick used in building patios,lawn & garden benches.Traded my 2yr old Bosch electric 12" cut-off saw in on it to save a couple hundred bucks.You wont want to attempt wet cutting with any portable electric saw,its too dangerous thats why I upgraded to a gas model,plus over twice the power.With segmented diamond blade & wet kit attached to garden hose I can fly through any masonry material,even concrete with heavy gauge steel rebar.Also I've sliced local granite & quartzite fieldstones & boulders in various landscaping projects,thats about the hardest building stone on the Mohr scale,7-9 compared to 10 for natural diamond.

    Have used it a few times in people's basements on various demo/remodeling jobs, cut & broke out some narrow trenches for new plumbing etc.You just remember to wear a good respirator (not just a paper mask either),have a good window fan running on High,make sure all windows/doors are open & take frequent breaks.

    They arent too expensive to rent on a daily basis,really make your job easier in the long run.


    Another option (maybe faster for you in your sitch too) is renting a small 15lb or so electric demolition hammer.Either a 18" point or a 3" wide chisel on the end,just remember to use any existing cracks/voids to your advantage,those really help reduce the effort needed.
  8. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    I've used those on the job a couple times,even nicer than that Partner hydraulic powered 'ring' saw.Glad my employer paid for the rentals & not me lol
  9. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,849
    Loc:
    Colorado- near the Divide
    www.micro-blaster.com
    I kid of course. ;-) I actually am thinking of that set-up for some boulders I want gone.
  10. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2010
    Messages:
    4,206
    Loc:
    Central IA
    That is awesome. I heard my Granddad used potash & sugar with a fuse to blast apart American (pi**) Elm stumps back in the 30's & 40's.Drill 1" holes with brace & bit,insert the fuse cord,pack it in,touch it off & run like hell about 50 ft out of the zone lol
  11. yooperdave

    yooperdave Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,128
    Loc:
    Michigan's U.P.
    hass-with the wall dividing up your basement and being 12" thick, could it be structural? better be sure that you don't need it there, before you go hacking on it...
    at 99 lbs house, the structure has been "added on" and "remodeled" a couple times. it is an old mining house and it simply can't stand up to all the abuse it has taken from the years of improvements.
    for example, an 8" block wall was cut out without using a lentil...only a 2x6 header used in place as the wall was cut from floor to ceiling (joists). trouble is, the span on both sides of the new opening, is not enough to carry the weight. this leads to the drywall (in the room directly above the new opening) constantly cracking.
    no real weight issue though, as the room is only a hallway...
  12. Hass

    Hass Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2011
    Messages:
    529
    Loc:
    Alabama, NY
    Thanks for the responses guys.
    I think I may try an electric demo hammer first... before taking a chance using gas powered stuff down there.

    This was my first concern when I wanted to take it down, but I don't think that's the case.

    I really just wanted to knock it down maybe to 2-3 feet or so, so I can easily get over it.
    As it stands now I have a 5 gallon bucket on each side that I have to step on, to climb over. lol.
    If my hot water tank ever stops working, nooooo way I'm lugging a new one over the existing wall! lol.
    I feel sorry for the guys that had to do it in the first place. (My propane supplier and his brother were the ones that actually ended up doing it)
  13. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2009
    Messages:
    1,849
    Loc:
    Colorado- near the Divide
    Hass, why not just cut a 3'-4' wide access entry? Rather than going to the exteme of chopping out a whole section of concrete, that may-or-may not be structural, just cut out enough for easy access? What you cut out, the remaining concrete can be re-inforced with metal to prevent buckling/ collapse. Just a thought.
  14. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,669
    Loc:
    Northern NH
    A series of holes about 6" a part with an electric jackhammer works well. Once you have a line of holes hiting it with a sledge hammer along the line will usually break the wall. There is also a product called "slow dynamite" that is actually a masonary product that expands when it sets, all you do is drill a couple of holes and pour the stuff in, then wait overnight. It does not leave a good cut line but it breaks up the concrete real well.
  15. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    732
    Loc:
    media, pa
    small bits of explosives...
    fast and easy...
  16. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2009
    Messages:
    695
    Loc:
    SW WI
    That's what I was thinking, here's one example.

    http://www.dexpan.com/dexpan-non-explosive-controlled-demolition-agent-silent-cracking-breaking.aspx

Share This Page