The average cost to replace an existing driveway that has been damaged beyond
simple repairs is about $4000 and of course depends on a number of factors like
geographical area and type and size of the driveway you are replacing. One of the ways
that some homeowners find to save money on this type of project is to remove the old
driveway themselves. But be warned – concrete removal is not an easy project to
tackle! You must be physically able to exert the effort that will be required and
comfortable with using the necessary tools like a jackhammer and skidsteer loader. If
you’re ready for the challenge and ready to save some money by DIYing the demolition
phase of this project then read on for some helpful tips from the pros!
First Things First! Does Your Driveway Really Need to Be Removed?
Before tearing into your current driveway with that newly rented jackhammer take a step
back and evaluate if your driveway really needs to be removed. In many cases, a
damaged driveway can be repaired, resurfaced and/or resealed to restore it back to its
former glory. A damaged driveway will need to be removed and replaced if it has
cracked and has had prior repairs, cracks that are more than 2 inches deep, or in some
cases if the concrete is sunken and no longer level with the ground. If after evaluating
your current driveway situation and determine that it requires replacement then keep
reading for the proper concrete removal steps to follow.
Step 1: Where Are Your Utility Lines??
All pros will tell you – the VERY FIRST step to beginning any type of construction
project is to find out where the utility lines are! Skipping this very important step can
derail your entire project, not to mention make a huge dent in your wallet– ask me why I
know! In order to find out where the utility lines are located you will need to contact the
city. The city will send out an inspector to mark the location and depth of any utility lines
that may run underneath your driveway. Once you know where utility lines are located
beneath your driveway it is important to take extra precautions when removing concrete
near those areas.
Step 2: Determine The Volume of Concrete Debris
Most people are very surprised at the amount of debris that concrete removal
creates so pre-planning what to do with all of that concrete debris is an
important step. In order to choose the best method for disposing of all that
concrete you must first determine how much it will be by calculating the
Concrete volume calculation:
Step 3: Schedule Concrete Debris Cleanup
Once you’ve calculated your driveway’s volume in cubic yards it’s time to plan for the
removal of the concrete once demolition is completed. Here are a few ideas to start
Step 4: Plan of Attack
If you are demolishing and removing your concrete driveway yourself you will need to
determine the most effective method prior to beginning the job. There are two main
methods to consider:
Using heavy equipment: If you decide to use some heavy equipment to help you
tackle your concrete driveway removal project you will need to rent or borrow a
skidsteer loader with a jackhammer attachment and a bucket. The use of heavy
machinery is the best option for homeowners with really large or long driveways and will
significantly decrease demolition time. Don’t worry about not having experience using a
skidsteer or jackhammer, most DIYers find it relatively simple to get up to speed on their
By hand: A viable option for those with smaller concrete surfaces to break up is by
using a jackhammer to break up the concrete into small chunks and them shovel them
by hand into a dumpster or pickup truck to haul away. While this method will be slower
(a few days) it can also help save you money with only the rental of a jackhammer.
Step 5: Get To It!
Now that you have these fabulous tips and tricks from the pros it’s time to begin your
concrete removal project! Before beginning to use the jackhammer to start breaking up
the concrete be sure to make a mental note of where the inspector marked the utility
lines. It is important to use caution when you are removing those sections of driveway.
Effeciency is Key!
1. Begin at a corner, break up a small section of the driveway using your jackhammer.
2. If necessary, use a sledgehammer to break any large chunks of concrete into smaller
3. Use a shovel and wheelbarrow to move the debris into your concrete dumpster or
4. If you’re letting DIYers take the concrete, shovel it into a pile somewhere out of the way.
5. Repeat this process until you’ve removed the entire driveway.