Before you can construct something new, you often must demolish the old, especially when it comes to concrete.
You can rent a breaker powered by electricity, air, gasoline or hydraulics. The type of breaker you should rent depends upon factors such as the size of your project, where you will do the work and what other resources you have available.
- Electric breakers. This type of hand-held breaker rental can handle vertical or horizontal and light-duty to heavy-duty demolition jobs depending upon the breaker’s size and configuration. If there is access to electricity at the demolition site, this rental option provides a cleaner method of breaking up concrete, which makes it ideal for inside remodeling work. Moreover, it does not require an air compressor.
- Pneumatic breakers. Rent this type of hand-held breaker for the same types of demolition jobs for which you would rent an electric breaker. Unlike electric breakers, though, pneumatic breakers require an air compressor.
- Gas-powered breakers. For outside demolition projects, renting a hand-held, gas-powered breaker may offer a practical alternative to renting both a pneumatic breaker and an air compressor. Gas-powered breakers receive power from their own engines, but these engines also add weight to the breakers.
- Hydraulic breaker attachments. Most skid-steer loaders, mini excavators, backhoes and compact track loaders support a variety of attachments including a hydraulic breaker. In no time at all, you can connect a hydraulic breaker to your equipment and start chipping away to remove old concrete, asphalt or stone. Consider renting a breaker attachment for outside demolition projects if you currently have or plan to rent the equipment that supports it.
Considerations when renting a breaker
You should consider many factors when deciding which breaker to rent. Your local, ARA-affiliated rental professional can help you make a good rental decision.
- Power source. Rent demolition breakers that run on electricity, compressed air, gasoline or hydraulic power.
- A common way to classify breaker rentals is by their weight class, which for hand-held breakers can range from 7 to 90 pounds. Most breakers that are rent for horizontal demolition weigh 25 pounds or less. A 30- to 50-pound breaker falls in the mid-duty range. The 60- to 90-pound breakers work well for big demolition jobs.
- Blows per minute (BPM). Smaller, breaker rentals tend to offer more blows per minute than larger breakers do.
- Horizontal vs. vertical breakers. The design and weight of heavy, two-handled rental breakers in a T-configuration obligate you to hold them upright for vertical breaking of concrete floors or slabs. Lightweight, one-handled rental breakers are able to be held horizontally to break through walls or vertically for demolishing flat slabs of concrete or pavement. Horizontal breakers work well on a large area of concrete to break up, but vertical breakers typically deliver more blows per minute than horizontal breakers can deliver.
- Points, chisels and tools. Most rental breakers can accept a wide variety of tools — sometimes called either bits or tool steel — to suit different applications. Types of tools you can rent for a breaker include moil points for random breaking of concrete, chisels for exact concrete breaks or for scaling a clean edge and spades for use on rocky dirt and hard clay.
- Safety features. For safety, look for features in a breaker rental that dampen vibration or reduce sound.
Benefits of breakers
Rented breakers allow you to break up old concrete and asphalt for removal. They can break apart concrete driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, footings, foundations, walls and other concrete or blacktopped surfaces. Renters of breakers include anyone from concrete contractors hired to redo a parking lot or roadway to a do-it-yourself (DIY) homeowner, who wants to remove an old sidewalk or driveway. If you have a concrete demolition project to do, a rented breaker might be right for you because it:
- Reduces labor. Fortunately, the days of swinging a pickaxe to break up old concrete or asphalt are in the past. Renting a breaker allows you to accomplish the task quickly and with less effort.
- Helps homeowners. When equipped with the proper tools, a DIY homeowner can achieve professional results. If you need to demolish concrete or asphalt, you need to rent a breaker to do the work efficiently.
- Benefits contractors. Renting a breaker lets the contractor who needs the tool only occasionally use it without having to store it. It also permits contractors to continue work when their own breakers malfunction or are out on another job.
You likely will not find it difficult to operate a rented breaker once you obtain some experience with it. Here are some tips to help you use your rented breaker safely and correctly. Your local, ARA-affiliated rental store can provide you complete instructions for using your rented breaker.
- Read all manufacturer warnings and instructions prior to using your rented breaker.
- Follow safe lifting practices when loading and unloading a rented breaker.
- Properly secure rented breaker for transport.
- Wear appropriate personal protective equipment.
- Never wear loose clothing or jewelry that can catch on the rented breaker during use.
- Ensure feet stay clear of the rented breaker’s steel tool during operation.
- Let steel tool on rented breaker cool before touching it.
- Keep onlookers at an appropriate distance from the worksite.
- Check and, if needed, service fluid levels in rented breakers before use. Some breakers require frequent lubrication.
- Select a tool for the rented breaker that suits your intended application. Make sure to secure it to the rented breaker properly.
- Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for starting and shutting off the rented breaker.
- Stand with your legs apart and feet firmly planted on the ground to maintain better balance and control when using the rented breaker.
- Use both hands to hold the rented breaker by the handle(s).
- Begin work by positioning the rented breaker perpendicular to an outside edge of the work surface. Maintain this perpendicular alignment during operation.
- Do not exert physical strength against the rented breaker. Instead, guide the breaker and let it do the work.
- Do not let the rented breaker remain in one spot for very long while in use. Shut off the equipment before moving it to the next area.
- Do not use the rented breaker’s steel tool for prying or lifting.
- Shut off rented breaker before changing bits.
Contact your local, ARA-affiliated, rental store for information on available rental products and services to meet your demolition breaker and hammer needs. To locate the rental store nearest you, use the Rental Store Quick Locator above.