How much does it cost to remove concrete?
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Concrete Removal Cost Guide
Updated: August 19, 2022
Concrete is a strong and long-lasting material used for driveways, patios, sidewalks, and house foundations. It lasts for years, but eventually settling, movement, and climate cause it to crack and fail. When that happens, you may need to have it removed to start fresh.
Concrete removal has a wide range of costs, depending on the concrete thickness, its location, and whether you are removing a section or the entire thing. The national average cost range is $500 - $5,000, with most homeowners paying around $1,856 to remove 600 square feet of concrete sidewalk.
Cost to Remove Concrete
|Concrete Removal Costs|
|National average cost||$1,856|
|Average range||$500 - $5,000|
Cost to Remove Concrete per Square Foot
The cost to remove concrete averages around $4 a square foot. However, thin sections lifted by a skid are as low as $2 a square foot, and large, thick sections with rebar or that require robotic cutting and removal or cutting and removal by hand go as high as $6 a square foot.
Concrete Removal Price by Type of Concrete
There are two basic types of concrete: unreinforced, which is just a concrete slab, and reinforced, which has rebar embedded in it. Both have a range of removal costs, depending on the location and size of the area, thickness, and how difficult it is to get machinery into the area:
|Concrete Type||Removal Cost Range per Square Foot|
|Unreinforced||$2 - $4|
|Reinforced||$4 - $6|
Unreinforced Concrete Removal
Unreinforced concrete is any type of concrete that does not have rebar in it. It has aggregate, or it is smooth. It is much easier to break into pieces, so it may be cut and removed quickly, even by hand if necessary. It costs between $2 and $4 a square foot to remove, depending on thickness and location.
Reinforced Concrete Removal
Reinforced concrete has rebar embedded in it for strength. Because of this, it is harder to cut and is usually lifted up in large sections by heavy equipment. It is also less likely to be recycled, so it has higher disposal costs. It has removal costs of $4 - $6 a square foot, depending on thickness and location.
Concrete Removal Cost by Area of Removal
There are many types of concrete surfaces that may need removing. The total cost to remove each of these areas depends on how large it is, concrete type, how difficult it is to get the equipment into, and whether recycling is available nearby. Below are the average costs to remove some of the more popular concrete surfaces:
|Steps||$250 - $400|
|Footing||$350 - $500|
|Gutter||$350 - $500|
|Slab||$600 - $1,000|
|Patio||$1,000 - $2,000|
|Sidewalk||$1,200 - $2,200|
|Block wall||$1,500 - $2,500|
|Driveway||$1,500 - $2,500|
|Foundation||$4,000 - $10,000|
Remove Concrete Stairs
It is common to have concrete stairs in landscaping or as part of a bulkhead. They are generally not too high or steep but crumble over time. They are easy to break up because they are not reinforced. They cost between $250 and $400 to break up and remove on average.
Concrete Footing Removal
Footings are used for many things, from securing a basketball hoop to holding the base of a retaining wall. The average cost to remove a footing is from $350 - $500.
Concrete Gutter Removal
Concrete gutters are used to line sidewalks and other areas. They are occasionally found on certain types of houses. They are also easy to break up and remove at an average cost of $350 - $500.
Concrete Slab Removal
Slabs come in all shapes and sizes. They can be a few inches thick to a full foot thick, so they have a wide range of costs associated with their removal. The average range is $600 - $1,000.
Remove a Concrete Patio
Concrete patios are functional but crack over time, becoming an eyesore. They are typically not reinforced but may be thick, depending on your climate. They have an average cost to remove of $1,000 - $2,000, depending on the size.
Remove a Concrete Sidewalk
Concrete is a fairly common material for sidewalks. These are usually paved in sections, which are easily lifted and removed individually. The average sidewalk removal cost is $1,200 - $2,200.
Concrete Block Wall Removal
Concrete block walls are part of an old foundation or garden retaining wall. They are usually not reinforced, but some may be reinforced or insulated, making them hard to recycle. The average cost to remove is between $1,500 and $2,500.
Remove a Concrete Driveway
Concrete driveways are very common. They range in size and thickness, so they have a wide range of average removal costs, but most fall between $1,500 and $2,500.
Remove a Concrete Foundation
If you have an old foundation that needs to be removed to replace an existing foundation or make way for new construction, the cost to remove an old one is between $4,000 and $10,000, depending on the size and how it was reinforced.
Labor Cost to Remove Concrete
Labor makes up a big percentage of the cost to remove concrete, which is partly why prices range so much. The more labor required for the job, the higher the costs. Of the $2 - $6 a square foot cost range, about $0.50 to $2 is the cost of disposal, which ranges depending on whether it is recyclable. If it is not, you have higher prices.
The remaining $1.50 to $4 a square foot is made up of the labor costs, and the costs of bringing the equipment to the job site and other fees, with labor making up the bulk of the cost.
Concrete may be broken up by hand, cut by hand, removed by hand, cut or broken by equipment, or removed by equipment. The more work involved, such as breaking up a 1-foot thick slab by hand, the higher your total costs. On the other side, using a skid steer to lift a single piece of concrete and remove it at once costs considerably less.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Concrete Removal
Many factors ultimately impact the cost of your concrete removal. This includes whether machinery is used or if the concrete needs to be broken and removed by hand. The concrete thickness and size also have an impact. The thicker the concrete, the harder it is to remove. Large areas are more difficult to remove, and you also have more concrete that needs to be disposed of, which further increases costs particularly if they are unable to be recycled.
Having reinforced concrete or a hard-to-reach slab or section also increases your expenses. If the concrete has to be moved long distances by hand in a wheelbarrow, expect higher costs.
Concrete Removal vs Repair
Not all concrete that is cracked or in rough shape needs to be removed. Some concrete may be resurfaced or patched. If the cracks are on the surface and the structure is in otherwise good shape, it may be patched and resurfaced for a lot less than removing and replacing the structure.
However, if you have deep cracks, frost heaves, sunken slabs, or signs of major settlement, removal is often your best option. If the cost to repair the concrete starts to become higher than the cost to remove it, you may want to put the extra money toward replacing it altogether.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
A lot of rebar in your concrete increases your costs because it needs to be removed before the slab goes. This requires cutting through both the concrete and the rebar and costs between $4 - $6 a square foot.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- It is always good to contact your local utility companies before you begin removing the concrete to ensure that there are no buried lines or pipes you may be disturbing. The company marks them as needed to avoid these areas.
- While permits are not required for all jobs, you may need a permit for large demo work. When having new concrete poured, this permit usually covers the demo as well.
- Part of the fees charged for concrete removal includes disposal. When breaking up the concrete yourself or you want to save on this fee, rent a truck to haul the concrete yourself.
- Breaking concrete is a difficult job, particularly if you are doing it yourself. While you may rent jackhammers to make it easier, this is expensive because the project takes many hours to complete.
- How do you remove old concrete?
This depends on the concrete type and its location, but in most cases, it is cut or broken up then hauled away.
- How much does it cost to remove old concrete?
The average cost range is $2 - $6 a square foot for concrete removal.
- How long does it take to remove concrete?
This depends on the size of the job, thickness, and how it is being removed. It might take an hour or a week, depending on the situation.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.