How to Remove Cement Floors (pt 2 of 2) How to Remove Cement Floors (pt 2 of 2)

What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Steel-toed work boots
Work gloves
Concrete chisel

Removing cement floors often happens in two stages. Once you have the concrete pieces cut and up, there is still clean up and removal of the remains of the floor to go. A complete removal of a concrete floor can take a few days, depending on the size of the floor. Remember that a concrete floor is not always going to come up in nice easy pieces. That is why you should be patient and be prepared to do the job in stages. Always wear a long-sleeved heavy shirt and long pants to protect yourself from any sharp pieces of concrete that may be falling or flying around during the job.

(Rental Tools)

  • Air-driven jackhammer
  • Air compressor

Step 1 - Breaking the Big Chunks

By this point you have cut the floor into large squares and removed them. As you look at your cement floor, you are quickly realizing that it did not all come up in nice and easy squares. There are still several large chunks of cement and a lot of debris to deal with. Use the jackhammer to carefully break up the larger concrete pieces. Be extremely careful with the jackhammer not to severe any water pipes or power lines. Only use the jackhammer for pieces of concrete that are 12 inches wide or bigger.

Step 2 - Hitting It with a Hammer

Use a sledgehammer to break down the remaining pieces. For the very small pieces that are still not coming up you will need to use a concrete chisel and the hammer to break them. Be careful with the concrete chisel as it normally requires two people to use it properly. Use a smaller sledgehammer when using the chisel, and do not take big sweeping swings with the hammer when striking the concrete chisel.

Step 3 - Major Clean-Up

The worst thing you can do is try to do any of the remaining clean-up by hand. Use a large industrial shovel to remove the large debris the right way. Remember that this is concrete and it can get heavy. If you have a bad back, then be very careful when lifting the shovels full of material. Go slowly and bend at the knees when lifting debris from the floor to the wheelbarrow.

Step 4 - Final Clean-Up

The important thing about removing a cement floor is to do a thorough job. Concrete debris left behind will cause problems when installing the new floor, especially if that floor is a tile floor that needs to sit on a flat surface. Use a stiff-bristle janitor's broom to sweep up the rest of your debris. Use the shovel as a dustpan to get as much debris in each trip to the wheelbarrow as you can. You may also want to hose the floor down, allow it to dry and then sweep it one more time before you install the new floor. The concrete dust can sometime float for quite a while. Using water can accelerate the dust falling time and get you to installing your new floor sooner.

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