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Does Wet Concrete Break Apart Easier Than Dry Concrete?


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#1 ggsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 03:09 PM

I have a 25 year old 10" sonotube concrete deck footing that I am sledging down below grade to install a patio. I work on it about 15 minutes a day after my workout. Before vacation we were in a long drought, and the dry footing begrudgingly gave up dust and small chips. We just had a week of good soaking rain and now, either I've gotten stronger or the sledging has become easier. Larger chunks are breaking off and I think I dropped it about an inch today. I ought to be done tomorrow. Could dampness make the concrete that much softer, even after 25 years?

#2 John@Reliable OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 03:21 PM

a little but not really, you just happened to hit it right. Did you try drilling, and then use a wedge/chisel in drill hole, that will get more to break off in big chunks than a solid hit.

#3 massey driver OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 03:24 PM

I sure hope not??? If so then any concrete structure [ overpass bridges for one sure would be unsafe] plus many different things built above and below water.Larry

#4 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 03:25 PM

Could be that the moisture in the dirt is helping you out.

#5 Ryan313 OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 03:26 PM

Concrete absorbs water (I think) but I dont think it would have much affect. I agree with John completly, you must have been hitting it different. And like he said, drill some holes and put something in it to split it. That will save a lot of work! :thumbs:

#6 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 03:37 PM

Could be that the moisture in the dirt is helping you out.


Yep, if the ground under the concrete is damp, then the soil will give more, allowing your sledgehammer to do more damage.

#7 Team_Green OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 03:43 PM

Drill it and get some feathers and wedge...


  • caseguy said thank you

#8 ggsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 03:46 PM

Yep, if the ground under the concrete is damp, then the soil will give more, allowing your sledgehammer to do more damage.


If the ground gives more shouldn't it absorb more of the energy from the blow, thus reducing the effect on the concrete? Kind of like the modern race cars that break apart spectacularly carring the energy away from the driver with the various parts.

#9 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 03:55 PM

If the ground gives more shouldn't it absorb more of the energy from the blow, thus reducing the effect on the concrete? Kind of like the modern race cars that break apart spectacularly carring the energy away from the driver with the various parts.


Not when working around the edges of a slab, or at the end of a footing. With the ground underneath giving some, it allows the concrete to break off in chunks easier. If there is no give under the concrete, then the shockwave must literally crumble a large area, rather than breaking off an end. I've sledged quite a bit of concrete here on the farm, and that's just what I've experienced. I have no scientific backing for what I say, but it works for me.

#10 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 04:02 PM

Got any C4?? LOL

#11 olcowhand ONLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 04:06 PM

BTW....I don't care to sling a sledge these days though....tears my right shoulder up bad!

#12 GTTinkerer OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 04:32 PM

Should be able to rent an electric jackhammer at most equipment rental places.

Me too Daniel had surgery on the right one a year and a half ago and the left one soon. Doc said the right one will need to be replaced in the next few years.

Edited by GTTinkerer, August 15, 2012 - 04:34 PM.


#13 LilysDad OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 04:38 PM

Got any C4?? LOL


Diesel fuel and fertilizer is cheaper.

#14 Amigatec OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 04:54 PM

Yea go down and buy 500 lbs of Nitrite and a few gallons of Diesel Fuel. We will see how long before the FBI shows up. LOL

Used to use ANFO to blast with at the Rock Quarry.

Edited by Amigatec, August 15, 2012 - 04:54 PM.


#15 ggsteve OFFLINE  

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Posted August 15, 2012 - 05:43 PM

BTW....I don't care to sling a sledge these days though....tears my right shoulder up bad!


It's good exercise, I've added 10-15 yards to my drives over the past couple weeks!




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