Concrete demolition is one of the less sensitive construction jobs, but it’s still really important that you use the right tool for the job. If you’ve ever witnessed any roadworks, you’ve probably seen a jackhammer in action—but can you cut concrete with a jackhammer?
Concrete can be cut using a jackhammer. For any concrete that is three inches or more in-depth, a jackhammer is a key cutting tool. Jackhammers come in different sizes and shapes to help break up and cut all kinds of concrete. They should be paired with a demolition saw for precise concrete cutting.
Breaking and cutting concrete requires a bit more care and precision than you might think, and it starts with choosing the right tool. A jackhammer could be the power tool you’re missing!
Can concrete be cut with a jackhammer?
Concrete can be cut with a jackhammer; for most concrete cutting projects, a jackhammer is one of the best tools to use. For small bits of concrete, you can get away with using circular saws alone. But if you want to cut concrete that is thicker than three inches, you should have a jackhammer on hand.
To cut concrete with a jackhammer precisely, you should also use a demolition saw. The demolition saw creates initial cuts up and down the surface as a guide for the jackhammer. You can then use a jackhammer to break up these sections of concrete. The demolition saw isn’t used to cut through the concrete, it is a shallow guide to help keep the concrete cuts more precise. The jackhammer is what will properly cut through and break apart concrete.
Most roadwork and construction projects will use a jackhammer to help cut concrete. This is because of the power a jackhammer has. Concrete is one of our strongest and most durable construction materials, so it takes a heavy-duty quality cutting tool to break it.
How well can a jackhammer cut concrete?
Jackhammers are one of the best tools for cutting concrete. You can get a range of different jackhammers depending on the concrete project at hand. To cut thick concrete, a heavy-duty jackhammer is one of the best tools to use. It is easiest to break up concrete thicker than three inches with a jackhammer compared to trying to only use construction saws.
Pneumatic and electric jackhammers provide all the elbow grease for you, meaning you’ll need to put in relatively little effort to break up the concrete.
Breaking up concrete is never a quick or easy job, but a jackhammer will make it easier than any other tool would. I would only say that how precisely it can cut the concrete, again, depends on the individual jackhammer. If you are looking for a very fine edge to the concrete, then be sure to use a demolition saw to carve out guidelines and a smaller jackhammer where possible.
Can a jackhammer break concrete?
A jackhammer can break concrete, and it is the best tool for the job over a certain depth. Jackhammers pack the power and control needed to break up thick concrete, using a high-powered, fast-moving chisel to break into the concrete. The repeated intense chiselling of a jackhammer is the key to cutting thick concrete. It’s hard to get this power without electronic or pneumatic assistance. Plus, a jackhammer can reach further than most saws used to cut concrete.
A circular saw can be used to cut concrete that is less than 3 inches deep. But for most large-scale concrete projects, the depth will be more than this. So, a jackhammer is best for breaking the most concrete. You can use a jackhammer to cut out concrete sections or to completely break up a concrete slab.
What kind of jackhammer is best for cutting concrete?
For most heavy-duty concrete cutting projects, a pneumatic or hydraulic jackhammer is best to use. Jackhammers are categorized in two ways: how they are powered and how heavy they are. The best kind of jackhammer for cutting concrete is going to depend on the job at hand. At the shallow end of the spectrum, around three inches deep of concrete, a good, light, electric jackhammer will do the job just fine.
For a more heavy-duty job, though, you’ll want either a pneumatic or a hydraulic jackhammer. Hydraulics are generally considered to have more force for jobs like cutting through concrete. But hydraulics are really used in the most heavy-duty jobs, and probably aren’t necessary for smaller jobs.
The specific best jackhammer is going to depend on the particular job you are doing. For most domestic jobs, up to around twelve inches of concrete, you’re never really going to need anything stronger than a pneumatic jackhammer.
But some jobs won’t even need a jackhammer. So, what can you do if you don’t have a jackhammer to break the concrete?
How do you break concrete slab without a jackhammer?
To break a concrete slab without a jackhammer, you will need a metal sledgehammer and lots of strength. The first thing to do is make sure you have appropriate protective gear on. This includes gloves, a hard hat, a mask, and safety goggles.
Make sure there aren’t utilities under the concrete that you want to break. These could be water and gas pipes, power lines, and other underground utilities that you don’t want to disrupt. Prise up one of the concrete slabs and dig under slightly to check what lines might be underneath the concrete.
Depending on how close you’re working to any actual property, it’s best practice to put down a polythene sheet over the area you’re breaking up. This will prevent chunks of debris from flying out and makes cleaning up easier. Lightly dousing it with water also helps, too.
Check the depth of the concrete you want to break up. Use a spade to dig out to the base of the slab. If it’s three inches or less, you can use a sledgehammer to break it up. Otherwise, you’ll need to get yourself a jackhammer—your sledgehammer will most likely just bounce off.
Use a crowbar to prise up the slab as best you can, then start breaking it from the corners. Using a sledgehammer should engage muscles all throughout your body. Plant your feet wider than shoulder width. Use your core, back and arm muscles to swing the hammer and hit the concrete. Work your way to the centre from the outside of the slab.
If the sledgehammer bounces off the concrete, you won’t be able to break it without a jackhammer. But for smaller projects, you can break concrete with a sledgehammer.
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