How to Remove Cement Floors (pt 1 of 2)

What You'll Need
Chalk line marker
Tape measure
Safety glasses
Work gloves
Steel-toed work boots

If your remodeling project requires the removal of cement floors, then you have a lot of work ahead of you. It is not impossible to remove a cement floor, but it does require heavy lifting and some skill with a cement cutting saw. You will want to spend some time becoming completely familiar with how a cement saw and jackhammer works before you get involved in this project. Mishandling these powerful cutting tools can cause a great deal of property damage and can result in serious injury as well.

(Rental Tools)

  • Air-powered jackhammer
  • Air compressor
  • Concrete saw

Step 1 - Establishing a Grid

Use a chalk line marker to create a grid on your cement floor. You are creating blocks that you will be cutting out and removing from your cement floor, so make the grid boxes a size you are comfortable with. In many cases, 18 inch squares work best. If you have some help with you, then you may be able to go as big as two feet squares. Make sure you snap the chalk lines down good because you will need to follow them closely with the concrete saw.

Step 2 - Determining the Thickness of the Floor

You can use either the concrete saw to do this, or the jackhammer. Since you have more control over the saw, it is a better choice. Cut down through the cement floor to establish how thick it is. This is important because there could be water pipes, sewer pipes or electrical lines under the floor that you do not want to cut. Cut a small chunk out of the floor and determine the depth. Set your concrete saw to cut only down to that depth. If your saw cannot be set for a cutting depth, then you will have to remember how far to cut each time.

Step 3 - Cutting the Grid

Once you know your cutting depth, begin cutting the floor up into grid pieces. Make sure that the room is secured with no extra people around that can get injured. Everyone that is working in the room should be wearing safety glasses, steel-toed boots and work gloves for safety.

Step 4 - Bringing Up the Floor

Once you have the grid cut, you can begin removing the floor in square pieces. Get the jackhammer under each piece, and use it to pop the cement floor pieces up. Once again, it is critical to be very careful when removing the concrete pieces. You will want to avoid the same water pipes, sewer pipes and electrical wires with jackhammer that you avoided with the saw. Take your time with each piece, and remove pieces one at a time.

Once you get a piece up with the jackhammer, remove it from the room with the wheelbarrow and get it into an area were it is out of the way and can be disposed of later. Make sure everyone working on the floor is aware of the moving concrete. A wheelbarrow full of concrete can cause very serious bodily injury to someone who is not paying attention.