Things to Know Before Buying a Concrete Breaker
A concrete breaker provides an effective way to break up concrete slabs and paving. They’re a great, easy-to-use alternative to using a sledgehammer
These tools are an invaluable must-have if you’re redoing your driveway or garden and don’t want to spend huge amounts of money on professional help. Small concrete breakers are a great option for your next DIY project.
If you’re considering purchasing a concrete breaker but you’re not sure where to start, the following tips will help you make an informed decision:
How to Use a Concrete Breaker
There are a few ways to go about using a concrete breaker to make sure you get the most out of it.
Bear in mind that power will change the type of approach you need to take; you can’t expect them all to work in exactly the same way. More powerful breakers will break concrete even if you start in the middle of a slab, whereas other models will require you to start at the edge.
So, here’s some general advice on how to use an electric concrete breaker. Of course, you must always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and wear the appropriate safety equipment:
- Use this tool on concrete which is around 3 – 6 inches thick.
- Ensure that the chisel is securely positioned before starting the job.
- Make sure that the cable is always out of the way – you don’t want to accidentally cut through it.
- If you want to create a straight line, use a flat chisel blade. If you’re just looking to break the concrete up, a pointed chisel will do.
- To break up concrete on the floor (paving slabs, etc.), use the breaker vertically.
- Start at the edge of the concrete and work your way in.
- Don’t use the chisel blade as a lever to remove broken concrete – use a crowbar or other tool for this.
Choosing the Right Level of Power
Concrete breakers come in a range of sizes and have varying power levels.
Higher powered tools can make the job easier, but they can also be a lot heavier. It’s highly recommended to look at the weight of the concrete breaker before committing to purchase the most powerful tool you can find!
If you plan on using the tool vertically, a lighter concrete breaker is both safer and easier.
The power of the motor is measured in watts. Those with a more powerful motor will be able to tackle heavy demolition work, while breakers with a motor of 1500W or less are best for light to medium tasks.
Petrol Vs. Electric Powered
Both petrol-powered and electric-powered concrete breakers are available. There are pros and cons to each design.
Petrol-Powered Concrete Breakers
These breakers can be extremely powerful due to their petrol motors. Plus, they are portable – you don’t need to use them connected to an external power supply so they can be used even in places where there’s no electricity.
However, they are generally heavier than electric models and can cost more to run because of their need for fuel. Petrol-powered machines also tend to require more maintenance than electric ones.
Electric-Powered Concrete Breakers
Electric breakers are generally cheaper than petrol-powered models. They often tend to be lighter as well, making them easier to use but better suited to light/medium jobs than very heavy tasks. They are cheap to run, but do have the drawback of requiring mains power.
Depending on the voltage of the electric-powered concrete breaker, you may need to use a step-down transformer. This will be required if the voltage of the power tool is lower than the voltage of the power supply. Many professional power tools have a voltage of 110 V to make them safer. However, home voltage output may be closer to 240 V. A step-down transformer will allow only 110 V to be provided to the machine.
The Importance of Quality
Concrete breakers can be dangerous if they are not properly maintained. It’s worth spending a bit more money on a good quality concrete breaker from the outset, rather than it costing you in repairs down the line.
Look for a machine with a quality build construction. Most have either an aluminium or magnesium casing.
It’s a really good idea to make sure that the concrete breaker is fully serviceable and that replacement parts are easy to source. Researching this before committing to a purchase can save money in the long run.
Comfort and Ergonomics
Concrete breakers create a huge amount of vibration, and those with a more powerful motor can be uncomfortable to use.
Certain features can help improve shock absorption which can make the machine more comfortable to use. Look for shock mounted handles that can absorb vibrations. These will allow for longer use with reduced fatigue.
Take Note of Included Parts
Concrete breakers usually come with some parts and tools included which can be easily changed.
A flat chisel and pointed chisel are the most common included chisels as they are great for basic concrete breaking.
If you’re using your tool for a range of applications, you may want to purchase a full set of chisels.
Here are the different types of chisel and what they’re used for:
Spade – this bit creates an edging in asphalt or creates a flat finish on concrete.
Bull point bit – this tip is used for general demolition of concrete.
Flat tip chisel – this chisel allows for a finer edge finish and increases direction control.
Stake driver – this bit is used to drive concrete from stakes.
Flex chisel – this chisel is handy for tile removal and scraping.
Bushing tool – this tool is handy for knocking down rough spots in concrete and cleaning up seams.
A U chisel – this chisel is perfect for chasing out concrete for electrical work.
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Concrete Breaker FAQs
How much does it cost to rent a concrete breaker?
It can generally cost upwards of £50 per day to rent a concrete breaker. It will cost more to rent a more powerful model. Depending on how much work you have to do, and how many times you see yourself needing a concrete breaker over the years, it may be more economical to buy an electric-powered concrete breaker.
What safety precautions should I take when using a concrete breaker?
You should always use heavy gloves, safety glasses that provide 100% eye coverage, ear defenders, and steel toe capped boots when using a concrete breaker.
In addition, ensure that you keep the cord of your breaker away from hazards.
Be especially careful when using the breaker vertically or overhead that no debris falls on you. If you are using the tool in this way wear a hard hat.
You should also take regular breaks to avoid fatigue as this can lead to accidents.
How can I break up concrete?
Your best bet is to either use a sledgehammer or a motor-powered concrete breaker.
A sledgehammer will do a good job on thinner layers of concrete, although it can become back-breaking work after a while if there is a large surface area to contend with.
A concrete breaker will break up concrete with less physical effort required on your part.
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