How do you remove and replace concrete?

Concrete is one of the most sturdy and durable materials out there. However, nothing lasts forever, and concrete certainly isn’t the exception to this rule. If your concrete driveway or pavement is starting to look a little worse for wear, it might be time to think about renewing it. But how do you go about removing and replacing concrete? And is it possible to do it on your own?

When should I remove concrete?

Concrete is favoured because of its durability and versatility. The material is a highly popular choice for outdoor spaces because it stands up well against a variety of climates and conditions, and can be used in a variety of scenarios. With regular maintenance, a concrete surface can easily last for over 20 years. 


However, concrete isn’t a magic, bulletproof material. Over time, even the highest quality concrete surfaces will deteriorate and decay. So, what are some of the tell-tale signs that it’s time to remove and replace your concrete? Some of the major signs you can look out for include:  

  1. Cracks: Cracks are one of the most obvious signs that a concrete surface needs to be replaced. Deep, visible cracks that are wider than 6.5mm-7mm usually mean that it’s time to remove the concrete, rather than resurface it;
  2. Multiple potholes: Potholes are not only unsightly but dangerous. An odd pothole is usually an easy fix, but if there are multiple potholes then it’s a good idea to consider replacing the concrete altogether;
  3. Faded colours and/or other signs of weathering: Faded colours don’t pose any sort of danger, but they can certainly age your property and damage its curb appeal.


In other scenarios, concrete might be removed not because of any structural or aesthetic issues, but because it simply isn’t needed anymore. For example, concrete removal may become necessary if you want to install new flooring or a new driveway, or if you want to get rid of a structure in your property. 

How do you dig up concrete?

Getting rid of concrete in your yard is no small feat. It requires expensive and heavy equipment and machinery, a significant time commitment, and also some technical know-how. That’s why many people opt to hire a professional from the get-go when they’re faced with a concrete removal hurdle. 


Removing concrete usually happens in four steps:

  1. The first step involves doing safety checks with your local council and performing service location checks to ensure that you won’t accidentally dig into any cables or other underground services. Trust us – this is an expensive mistake to make, so you definitely don’t want to be skipping this step! 
  2. The second step involves using a jackhammer or sledgehammer to break the concrete slab into smaller, workable pieces. 
  3. The third step involves using an angle grinder to cut through metal reinforcements.
  4. The fourth step involves disposing of the rubbish in a skip and clearing the site of dust and other debris. 


You might be thinking, ‘This all seems straightforward, so is it possible to remove the concrete myself?’. Removing concrete yourself is theoretically very possible, but you should only attempt it if you feel confident in your abilities to use all the necessary equipment and to manoeuvre it in a way that doesn’t cause any long-term damage to your property, or even worse, to yourself. 

How long does it take to remove concrete?

There’s a lot of variables at play when determining how long it will take to remove a slab of concrete. Most obviously, the size of the slab that’s being removed will dictate how quickly the job will be completed. Small removal projects can be removed in a few hours, while larger projects may take days.


For large projects, we always recommend hiring a professional to do the job. Professional diggers will be able to complete the job efficiently and safely, and will also come fully equipped with all the necessary equipment. 

How much does it cost to remove existing concrete?

Concrete removal costs are usually priced per square metre. In Australia, the average concrete removal price is set between $35 and $50 per square metre.


One of the best ways to keep your costs down is to recycle or reuse your concrete waste. A little known fact is that broken up concrete can actually be recycled and repurposed as aggregates, gravel, and even retaining walls. Choosing to recycle your concrete instead of sending it to the tip is not only great for your bank account, but also great for the environment. You can speak to your removal specialist to learn more about recycling possibilities. 

How do you prepare the ground before pouring concrete? 

Removing concrete is just one side of the equation. Once your surface has been removed and cleared, you’ll have to pour a new layer of concrete (or another material) onto the ground.  


Unfortunately, pouring concrete isn’t as simple as pouring concrete directly on dirt. First, you have to prepare the site. Prep-work for concreting typically involves multiple steps, and covers everything from preparing the soil, to building a solid foundation, to levelling the ground. Luckily, there are plenty of professionals out there that can provide comprehensive site clearing and levelling services at affordable prices.


If you’re looking to pave your surface with another material that’s not concrete, there are plenty of other materials out there that can work well within a variety of different spaces. A professional paving company will be able to recommend the best materials for your space, so it’s worth reaching out and getting in touch with your local expert. 



At Jim’s Diggers, we stand by our professional and friendly service. If you’re in need of a comprehensive and high-quality concrete cutting or concrete removal service, get in touch with one of our specialists today. Call 131 546 or enquire online for an obligation-free quote.