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Demolish Concrete with a “Soft Touch”

Construction How-To, Projects, Stone and Concrete January 21, 2013 Sonia



Who doesn’t love a new way to break stuff?

By Matt Weber

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of ripping through concrete or stone with a jackhammer–or even explosives–Ecobust is an “expansive demolition agent” that breaks up rock and concrete neatly and silently. The product is basically cement that swells as it cures. Here’s how it works: (1) Drill into the concrete or rock. (2) Mix the powdered Ecobust agent with water. (3) Pour the mixture into the holes. As the agent cures it expands inside the hole, breaking apart the concrete or rock from the inside.

I had the chance to test the stuff on a concrete slab at my uncle’s house. The slab was poured as a foundation to a children’s play set, the kids went away to college, and my uncle dismantled the play stet. One of the neighbors had used their tractor to push the slab against a fence, out of sight from the front yard, but my uncle still had to figure out a way to dispose of the heavy mass of concrete. That’s how I discovered our test slab.

I spaced the holes 12-14” apart.

I drilled a series of holes into the slab using a Bosch rotary hammer and a masonry bit. The Ecobust instructions recommended a 1.5-in. hole, but my biggest bit was 1-in. diameter, so I tried to expand the width of the holes as I drilled. The package also includes instructions for hole depth and frequency, depending on the material that you’re drilling. For example, I was drilling in unreinforced concrete, so the chart on the can suggested I drill 80-percent through the depth of the material and space the holes 12 to 14 inches apart.

A drill and paddle blended the agent into a smooth slurry.

The Ecobust powder is mixed with water.

The Ecobust powder is mixed with water.

Here’s the slab w/all holes filled.

I used a funnel to pour the mixture into the holes.

I used a funnel to pour the mixture into the holes.

I mixed the Ecobust agent with a paddle and drill. I used a funnel to pour the slurry into the holes, filling them 1 inch from the top. I then covered the slab with plastic and gave it 24 hours to cure.

I covered with plastic and let it cure for 24 hours.

When I returned, the agent had cured, hardened and expanded inside the holes, resulting in a slab that was spider-webbed with cracks. The whole thing was easy to pull apart into manageable chunks, ready for a wheelbarrow.

Concrete chunks ready for a wheelbarrow.

After 24 ours, the slab was webbed with cracks.

The expanding agent breaks apart the concrete using a quiet and controlled method, without a bunch of racket or flying shards of rock—perfect for removal of deteriorating porch steps, old footings and more.

The demolition creates no dust, noise, vibrations or toxic fumes, which your neighbors will appreciate. Plus, it requires no special licenses or permits.

You can check out Ecobust at www.ecobust.com or stop by booth N2276 at the International Builders Show.

 

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