Author Topic: Tips on Removing a Basement Floor  (Read 1285 times)


  • Pencil Stache
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Tips on Removing a Basement Floor
« on: July 29, 2017, 02:55:09 AM »
Old houses. The days before vapor barriers and gutters. When previous homeowners don't manage the yard and the slope becomes negative. The basement floor was garbage concrete. If you have an older house, you may know what I mean. It was full of holes, uneven, two or three types of leveler/patching stuff on that too after attempting to place vinyl and asbestos tiles on it. Some places it was 2 inches, sometimes about 1/2 inch deep. This is a small house and the basement is around 500 square feet. It took me four 4-6 hour days which also digging down and removing sand and leveling for the new pour.

I finally decided that with this house project, after hemming and hawing over the past two years that this had to be done. Since I was having some new floor plumbing put in and that part of the floor was to be ripped up anyway, and that I'm having new HVAC duct work put in including moving the furnace...the time was now.

Really, these tips are pretty common sense. Best way to do it: have someone else do it. But it was about $3k to have someone remove it for me, so I did it myself. Hopefully you'll have access to the outside where buckets go. I had a window big enough for 5 gallon buckets to go through, so I was lucky. Otherwise I would have had to go up a ladder to the first floor- (stairs had to be rebuilt since they were shit).

Get a roll off dumpster. The largest one can get to haul away any concrete is 10 yards. Place this as close to your window as possible still able to open it's door so you can walk in with the buckets.

Get some 5 Gallon buckets. Make sure they have good handles. I used eight. I think that fewer would have wasted time in making too many runs back and forth, and more may have been too much.

Rent an electric jack hammer. For this small basement it only took an hour to make enough holes to break it up. Also have a sledge hammer available for some parts you may miss, or stubborn bits still attached to the walls.

Have good dust masks. Interesting how this wet basement concrete can still produce so much dust.

I used a square shovel. Unsure if a regular shovel would work as well to get under the concrete to put in it buckets.

After that, it's all hard labor. Use good form while lifting buckets. I used a kettle ball like motion to get them up to chest level to get them up to window height. Lift with the legs. Only expect to be able to go for 4-6 hours per session. Drink plenty of fluids. Don't expect to get the same amount of fill in each bucket if you do this for consecutive days i.e. if you're 3/4 bucket full on day one, only expect maybe 1/2 bucket on day two. Pace yourself. Unless of course you're like in Jack LeLanne type of shape.

That's pretty much it. I feel like my legs are a little bigger now with all that lifting- two for the price of one. Enjoy!


  • Bristles
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Re: Tips on Removing a Basement Floor
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2017, 06:36:28 AM »

Every time I read about a hard project here, I think it has topped all of the previous ones. I guess I base it on whether or not I think I could do it. The beauty of this one is, even if you got everything set up and pooped out in the middle and hired someone to finish it, you'd still come out cheaper, with no damage done.

I have a 57 year old house with the same kind of cement floor in the basement. Thanks for posting the specifics.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Tips on Removing a Basement Floor
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2017, 09:27:19 AM »
Ponyboy agrees with renting a jackhammer.  He has used them before...word of not let the rod go all the way into the concrete...not fun getting will be stuck.