How to dig up a concrete floor in your home

Before digging up a concrete floor in your home, you need to break up the concrete. You can use a mechanical breaker, also known as a jackhammer. Hiring one is a good option. They usually come with a range of chisels, including pointed and straight-edged varieties. A vibration-damped breaker is more comfortable to use, as you do not feel the vibrations so much.

Hire a vibration-damped breaker from a reputable tool hire shop. As of June 2013, a day’s hire costs about £20. A day is adequate time to break up the concrete floors found in most homes. If yours is an especially large concrete floor -- or you happen to know it is very thick -- you might want to hire the breaker for longer.

Read the safety information carefully before starting work. Breakers harness pneumatic or mechanical force to drive a steel chisel back and forth in a hammering motion. When this force is concentrated on the point or edge of a chisel, it sends vibration shockwaves through the concrete structure, causing it to fracture.

Push the chosen chisel into the chuck and rotate it until it engages. Plug the breaker plug into a mains socket. Start in one corner and aim to work away from the power cable.

Hold the breaker by the handle -- and side grip, if you wish -- and press the “on” button. The hammer action begins and you will see results almost immediately on most concrete floors, as the concrete fractures and breaks up. Continue breaking the floor until it is all chopped up into manageable sized lumps.

Stop the breaker when the whole floor is broken up. Disconnect the breaker from the mains and remove it from the room. Bring in a spade and wheelbarrow. Begin digging up the broken concrete lumps and placing them in the wheelbarrow. When the barrow is full, empty it. Continue this way until the whole floor is dug up.


Wear goggles, a dust mask and ear protectors.

Things You'll Need

  • Breaker
  • Chisels
  • Spade
  • Wheelbarrow
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About the Author

Frank Luger had his first educational resources published in the early 1990s. He worked on a major reading system for Cambridge University Press, became an information-technology adviser and authored interactive whiteboard resources for "The Guardian." Luger studied English literature and holds a Bachelor of Education honors degree from Leeds University.