5 Things to Understand About Concrete Demolition

Concrete is meant to last. There are buildings that date back to Ancient Rome that were built with concrete that are still standing today. That makes concrete demolition into a uniquely difficult task. It’s possible to take down a concrete building or remove a concrete platform from the ground, but doing it safely requires special techniques and expertise that not everybody has.

Shrapnel Control Matters

Getting rid of a concrete structure usually means breaking it up into small pieces for easy removal. That needs to be done with care, because shattering concrete can release dangerous shrapnel. In some cases, it can even break off with enough force to go through glass, and it can easily cut through skin. Demolition experts deal with this by setting up sheets or temporary walls, depending on the type of demolition work that they are doing.

Reinforcement Causes Delays

Concrete is often laced with metallic reinforcements to increase its strength. Rebar is the most common, but steel mesh is also normal. Since the reinforcements are designed to make the concrete resist shattering, they make demolition work much more difficult. Assume that a structure that contains plenty of reinforcing material will take at least twice as long to destroy as one that does not.

Water Can Help

Water can make the demolition process much easier. There are several hydrodemolition techniques that can be used, but they all rely on the same principle. A sufficiently pressurized stream of water will have enough force to cut through concrete, and it can do it with much greater precision than traditional cutting tools. That can save a significant amount of time and effort. The downside is that the process needs a lot of water, so it is not always possible to use it on large structure unless a water supply is nearby.

Skill Beats Force

Brute force can break through concrete, but it’s the least efficient way to do it. Carefully directing that force can get much better results. For example, some demolition experts will drill holes in a piece of concrete until it cracks. Then they put an expansive material in the holes and wait. When it expands, it will break up the concrete into chunks that are easy to remove. That type of trick takes a lot of skill, which is why people call on demolition professionals instead of doing this work on their own.

Disposal is Complicated

Getting rid of the concrete is the final step. Most garbage services won’t take it, so the demolition team needs to find a way to dispose of it. In most cases, that means calling in a specialized concrete recycling service. They tend to dispose of the concrete at a low price, with a slight increase if it includes metal components. The other option is for the team to handle removal on their own, but most prefer to avoid that due to the increased cost and inconvenience.