Can You Use a Pickaxe To Break Concrete? (What We Found)

Concrete is a strong and durable material that requires a powerful tool to break it down completely. You might be wondering if a pickaxe is up to the task at hand.

You can break concrete with a pickaxe, but it will take a long time depending on how thick and large the cement area you are dealing with. Other tools, such as a jackhammer, a sledgehammer, or a demolition hammer, can break down concrete if necessary.

Pickaxes effectively remove concrete, but they are not ideal for the task. First, I will explain why in the following section. Then, later in the article, I will discuss the types of tools you should consider and some precautions to take when removing concrete from your home.

Is it possible to break concrete with a pickaxe?

When breaking concrete over a large area with a pickaxe, it’s not the most efficient option, and it may struggle to break through a particularly thick slab of concrete.

In addition, to complete the work that would otherwise be completed with an appropriate tool, such as a sledgehammer or jackhammer, more labor and time would be required.

Pickaxes are tools used primarily for pulling things up, such as roots, and they are susceptible to breaking under the immense pressure of breaking concrete over an extended period.

A pickaxe would probably not last long against an eight-inch (20.32 cm) thick layer of concrete spread out over a half-acre of land.

It may, however, be useful for a small project, such as breaking up a small slab of the sidewalk or breaking up a few concrete blocks, if the project is relatively simple.

Overall, it is unlikely to hold up under the pressure of a long-term project, but it does have some useful applications in certain circumstances.

It is important to note that using a pickaxe will require you to exert more force than you would with another tool to complete a task.

While this is especially true in the case of a pickaxe versus a power tool such as a jackhammer, it is also true of a sledgehammer, which is more efficient at dispersing the force you apply to concrete.

What is the strength of concrete?

As you can imagine, concrete is one of the most difficult materials to break through completely. However, concrete is unquestionably one of man’s most solid and long-lasting materials.

As a result, it is the most widely used building material globally, and it is used to pave sidewalks and create the foundations for skyscrapers, among other applications.

Concreting is made up of materials such as cement, water, and a few other ingredients. The fact that it is resistant to weather, chemicals, and abrasion makes it so long-lasting.

While other materials deteriorate and become brittle over time, concrete shows little wear and remains tough even after years of use and exposure to extreme temperatures.

Even though heavy objects or tools such as sledgehammers and jackhammers can break concrete, the material does not readily break or crack on its own.

Depending on your climate, its strength may be affected by erosion, but you can generally rely on concrete to be extremely strong and long-lasting in most situations.

The Operation of a Pickaxe

The pickaxe is believed to be one of the earliest tools ever devised. Historically, it has ties to the ancient world, the Middle Ages, and even World War I.

In theory, the pickaxe’s long handle and the curved blade should make it easier for the user to quickly get under objects and pull upward, breaking the material beneath the handle.

This is how pickaxes are used in farms and gardens to aid in the cutting through heavy roots and ground cover.

Using a pickaxe to cut through concrete

Pickaxes are used for distinct purposes from those of more modern tools such as the jackhammer. The pick part is intended to aid in the breaking up of small chunks of rock, hard dirt, and earth.

They could also aid in the dislodgement of rocks or stones in the middle of a path, particularly if they had dug themselves into the dirt quite thoroughly.

If you use excessive force over a long period, a pickaxe will almost certainly break down your concrete, but other tools are better suited for the job.

Use an alternative method to save time and labor.

Yes, your pickaxe will be useful in breaking through the concrete. However, it may take you hours and hours of hammering away with the sharper end of the pickaxe before you see any results.

When you use a tool like a jackhammer, sledgehammer, or demolition hammer, you’ll find that it reduces the required labor and time.

Consider purchasing a sledgehammer such as the Estwing Big Blue Hammer found on Amazon for your next concrete demolition project.

In contrast to a pickaxe, this tool has a strong, blunt end that can withstand the amount of force required to crack a concrete slab without breaking.

If you use one like this, you won’t have to be concerned about the tool becoming dull, bending, or breaking.

A jackhammer, such as the Xtreme power 2200 Watt Hammer from Amazon, is another excellent option, particularly if you have to break through a thick or large concrete slab.

Even though this electric-powered hammer has significant demolition power, you have precise control over the instrument.

What Kind of Tools Are Needed to Break Concrete?

The chances are that you have the time, money, and resources to go to the store and purchase something other than a pickaxe. A pickaxe isn’t the most appropriate tool for the job at hand.

The most effective tools for breaking concrete are a jackhammer, a sledgehammer, and a demolition hammer, among other things.

You can pick up these tools at any home improvement store and add them to your collection of household items.

If you’re working on a commercial project and require more heavy-duty support, you can purchase industrial-grade versions of any of these instruments.

If necessary, you could also use a circular saw to cut through concrete if the situation demanded it.

Of course, when it comes to concrete demolition, whether small or large, you must ensure that you have followed all of the necessary procedures before simply slamming a tool into the ground.

Consider whether any permits are required, and have a professional double-check that you are not losing anything important to the foundation during the process.

In addition, you’ll need to lay down plastic, protect your siding and windows, and call 811 to ensure that you don’t accidentally run into any gas or power lines while digging.

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Ensuring you have all of the necessary safety tools in place before you begin is also an important step in the process, and it is even more important than deciding which tool to use.

If you have all of your ducks in a row, have contacted all of the necessary people, and are ready to get started, you can weigh your options and determine which tool is the best fit for your needs.

When working with pieces less than four inches (10.16 cm) thick, they recommend using a sledgehammer, and for larger projects, they recommend a demolition hammer.

These investments are unquestionably worthwhile in terms of time and money, but many of us live paycheck to paycheck.

Alternatively, if you don’t anticipate using a jackhammer or sledgehammer more than once, you can rent one for a fraction of the cost from most home improvement stores.

In addition, you can get some professional advice without having to spend your entire budget on a new tool.

For example, a professional should be called in if you need to break through your cement with anything other than a sledgehammer or a jackhammer.

Although industrial-grade tools are rarely available for rent, investing in professional support can alleviate some of the stress associated with concrete removal, which can be a dangerous job.


Preparation and attention are required for all projects, no matter how small. For example, using a pickaxe to break concrete is possible.

Still, you will be hard-pressed to complete the task in a reasonable amount of time and with a reasonable amount of energy if you work on a large project.

If you’re planning a large project, investing in a jackhammer or even a sledgehammer is worthwhile to get the job done. Additionally, regardless of which tool you choose to use, adhere to all safety precautions.

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