Two years ago I took out some concrete steps and built a new wooden porch off our back door. Now some of the other porches and steps need attention, so I started another project just down the driveway from that kitchen porch.
The last couple of winters have been very hard on the brick steps off the side porch. In some areas, the mortar between bricks had completely disintegrated, leave loose and hence dangerous bricks. Several weeks ago my son William and I started taking apart the steps to make way for new wooden ones that we will build later this summer. This is what the steps looked like after we did the easy work.
What was left did not yield easily to crowbar and sledge hammer and so I decided to rent a jackhammer. Most of the ones you see being used by construction workers are pneumatic, or air-driven, models, but the ones that my local hardware/rental center have are electric. I’ve planned to rent one for several weeks now, but schedule and weather have blocked my efforts. Yesterday the stars aligned and I went and got the tool.
I’m not sure exactly what it weighed, but the DeWalt model I rented was bulky and came in at something over 100 pounds and cost $35 for a half-day’s rental. You can see it in this next shot after I had used it for about 10 minutes.
While there were many bricks in the steps, there was also a wire-reinforced concrete core. That slowed me down since the bricks tended to come out easily if I hit them on the mortar lines but the concreete was tougher. Here’s what it looked like after breaking down almost all the bricks but leaving the concrete base. I think at this point William and I had hauled out three carts of rubble.
I left the bricks in the left corner because they might be helping to hold up the porch. As part of this project I will be taking off all the skirting and lattice work around the porch, putting in new concrete and brick or wood supports, and then building new skirting and lattice to match the kitchen porch. I’ll be cleaning out under the porch as the next phase of the project. The wire you see in the photo is for low voltage landscape lights, and I’ll be running a new one with new lights near the end of the project.
Finally, here is a shot of my great and hard working destruction partner William. My back and knees feel my better by having him around to help!