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How to use a digging bar to break rock or concrete?

How to break rock or concrete

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Which design is best?

Telegraph Bar For breaking through thin layers of rock, concrete or tarmac, a heavy duty digging bar should be used. A telegraph bar is ideal, but a regular digging bar at the top of the available weight range should also be sufficient.
Bent chisel bar Lighter weight digging bars such as the bent chisel/slate bar can be used as an aid when breaking up concrete slabs and other paving. However, there are other bars which are more suited to this task (see: Pry Bars).

As this task depends on leverage, a longer bar will make things easier for you by minimising the amount of force you will have to put in to lift the slab.

What else will you need?

A Sledgehammer A sledgehammer
A Helper A co-worker

Wonkee’s hoof-by-hoof guide: How to break rock or concrete

There are two ways you can break concrete or rock using a digging bar:
Telegraph Bar Using a telegraph digger or other heavy duty digging bar, you can break through thin layers of concrete, rock, or tarmac by following these simple steps:

Step 1 – Raise bar

Raise the digging bar up above the area you want to break through.

Step 2 – Drop bar

Bring the pointed end down onto the concrete, rock or tarmac, using the full weight of the bar as the driving force.

Step 3 – Turn over and lift bar

Turn the bar over and raise it again.

Step 4 – Drop bar

Bring the chisel edge of the bar down onto the concrete, rock or tarmac, again using the full weight of the bar as the driving force.

Using the pointed end of a bar to lift broken slabs of concrete up for removal

Step 5 – Lever debris apart

When cracks begin to appear, wedge the pointed end of the bar into them and lever the debris apart. If the cracks are very narrow, you can use the chisel edge to get between them – but be careful not to bend it when putting force on the end of the bar.

Step 6 – Lift loose debris

Repeat this process over the whole area you wish to break up, using your bar as a lever to separate and lift loose chunks of debris for disposal.

Bent Chisel/Slate Bar Using a lighter bar as an aid to break up concrete slabs or other paving, you can:
The chisel edge of a bar inserted under the edge of a concrete slab

Step 1 – Lift slab

Insert the chisel end of the bar under the edge of the slab you want to break up, and push down on the opposite end, levering it upward.

A sledgehammer being used to smash concrete slab

Step 2 – Strike slab

Have your co-worker strike the slab with a heavy striking tool, such as a sledgehammer, to break it up.


Step 3 – Repeat

Remove the bar, and repeat this process on each slab until all are broken up, or as desired.

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