You’re no stranger to hard work. Managing your yard isn’t easy. And the less time you roast under a hot sun, the better. Pulling weeds, mowing lawns, and general maintenance is one thing. But once in a while there are bigger jobs, like breaking concrete. You’ve done it by hand—you remember the blisters—and you’ve vowed to find a better way next time around. Luckily, there’s a tool that’ll make your life easier.

It’s Easy to Learn How to Break Concrete with a Jackhammer

A jackhammer is usually something you associate with construction. It conjures up images of men in hard hats and high vis vests hammering away at a chunk of concrete. But there are jackhammers out there that can be used for smaller things. And they don’t come at the cost of a large investment—they can be rented from an equipment yard for a single task and returned when you’re finished.

What Kind of Jackhammer Do You Need?

All you need is to break up some old sidewalk, or maybe your walkway needs some rehab. You would describe these types of jobs as medium size—just big enough to be a pain but not quite worth investing in professional contractors. Fear not—renting and using a jackhammer isn’t just easy, there are models made for precisely this type of middle-of-the-road work.

For yard work, you’ll want to stay away from traditional pneumatic jackhammers. They require you to have an air compressor on-site, which are heavy and extremely noisy. Unless you have that set up already, or are comfortable with that arrangement, it’s best to look into renting a gas jackhammer. Just remember that not all gas jackhammers are created equal—make sure you get one that is highly rated and reliable.

How to Use a Jackhammer

Don’t be dismayed by your equipment—jackhammers may seem unruly but there are some simple guidelines to follow that’ll ensure you’re using the tool efficiently and safely.

Choose the correct material for your jackhammer tip. For concrete, you’ll want to make sure you use a chisel point for breaking up concrete. Different tips are used for different materials, just like drill bits. Using the wrong tip, or not checking the tip before you start will lead to damage to the jackhammer.

Inspect your jackhammer before starting. Like any large tool, a complete inspection is necessary before use to ensure there are no points of failure. A jackhammer packs serious power—make sure it’s working correctly before you start it or you may cause expensive damage to your property or to the tool itself.

Work at a slight angle. You want to always use the jackhammer at a slight angle, tilted towards you. You’re not trying to sink your chisel straight into the concrete—that’ll lead to the tip getting stuck or even breaking off entirely. Working at an angle will serve to break up the concrete and will give you better control in the process.

If the chisel gets stuck, work it back out in a side-to-side motion. If you’re new to hammering, it’s almost inevitable that the chisel will get stuck a few times. And if it does—don’t try and force it out—you’ll strain your back trying to manhandle such heavy machinery. Instead, rock the tip in a side-to-side motion until the chisel is freed.

Do not work below the depth of your tip. It’s easy to get overeager, especially once you’ve really gotten the hang of your jackhammer and see a day’s work of breaking up concrete look like child’s play with your new tool. But don’t sink your chisel tip below the depth of the bit. Doing so will lead to you getting the entire tip stuck or having it break off. Nothing will prolong a job more than breaking your bit.

Follow safety precautions until the job’s done. Don’t get too comfortable, even if you’ve been jackhammering all day and feel like you’ve got the hang of it. Make sure to wear safety glasses at all times as well as a thick pair of vibration dampening gloves. And it goes without saying that you should wear a solid pair of steel toed boots. Lastly, and something people often overlook; spray down your surface as you go to minimize dust.

Make Your Job Easier with a Jackhammer

Do some research to choose a quality, preferably gas-powered jackhammer for your job and you’ll never understand why you spent all day breaking your hands and back with a sledgehammer. You’re already tired—you balance a full time job with being a homeowner. Save all the hard work for your tools and work more efficiently. If you don’t know where to start, our GB-70 Jackhammer and GB-90 Jackhammer are both fantastic solutions.

While you may have thought that a jackhammer was inaccessible to the average homeowner, you’re now aware that that’s not the case at all. In fact, renting the tool is less expensive than you could ever imagine; gas jackhammers don’t require the planning and space that traditional pneumatic models would. With that said, it’s time you make your big landscaping job a little smaller so you can have the rest of the evening to sit back and relax. If you take a moment to learn how to break concrete with a jackhammer, you’ll never do it any other way.