If you've recently purchased a home that has a large concrete patio in the backyard but you'd rather have green space, you may be wondering what all is involved in removing the concrete patio. While concrete removal may seem like a monumental task to do yourself, proper planning can help the project go smoothly without any hitches. Here are a few important places to call to prepare for tearing out that old concrete patio and removing the concrete.
Local Building & Planning Department
You'll need to call your local building and planning department to see if you are required to obtain any demolition permits or to have any inspections done before your project starts and after your project is completed. The building and planning code authority will give you guidelines on where to post your demolition permit and how to contact the inspectors. Be sure to follow the guidelines and timelines because not doing so could result in hefty fines.
Storm Water Management Office
It's also important to call your local storm water management office. This is because any significant change to your land, such as removing a large concrete patio, could result in a change in the way storm water runs off. This could lead to problematic flooding or excessive moisture in your basement, or it could redirect water runoff to a neighbor's property. The storm water management official will be able to determine whether or not the removal of the large concrete patio will be detrimental and, if so, provide you with recommendations on how to control any issues that may come up, such as with the installation of a trench or the addition of cover soil.
Several days before you start demolition of the concrete patio and digging it out of the ground, call 811. This is a national, federally designated number to use before you dig so you don't inadvertently hit underground utility lines. Even though the number is a national number, your call will be routed to a local call center. All you'll need to provide is the address where you will dig. The call center representative will then forward your information to your local utility companies, who will then send out locators to mark the approximate locations of all buried lines. They will use flags or paint to show where any hidden lines are underground.
Equipment Rental Service
You'll need tools and equipment to break up the concrete. It's important to determine whether or not the concrete is reinforced with embedded steel mesh, rebar or other metal rods. To determine this, use a sledgehammer to break a chunk of the concrete off near one edge. Keep breaking away at the concrete until you've removed a square area of several feet. If you see metal, the concrete is reinforced, which means you'll need heavy equipment to break up the concrete, such as a mini-excavator or a backhoe. If the concrete is not reinforced, a sledgehammer and a prybar can do the trick. However, since the patio is large, you may be better off with renting an electric jackhammer.
Area Recycling Centers
Call local recycling centers to see which ones take concrete. Concrete is recyclable. Concrete can be crushed and used as aggregate for new concrete. Additionally, old pieces of broken-up concrete can be used as a base layer for asphalt pavements. You may feel that getting the broken-up concrete to the recycling center may be one of the most challenging issues of removing a large concrete patio. Fortunately, this is not the case, as there are concrete removal services that will haul your old concrete away, usually to a concrete recycling center.