• Article

11 Reasons Why to Avoid Breaking Concrete

Mar 28, 2022

By webfx

Since 2020 we have spent a significant amount of time around our home. Now more than ever we have gotten creative and more adventurous with at home projects. Suddenly, adding that new bathroom in the basement, garage, or pool house doesn’t seem THAT out of the question. We have desired and adapted to make our spaces more functional for our families and friends by adding more spaces, including bathrooms. However, it is not always affordable.

Let’s just say it, breaking concrete is a dirty job, and not meant for every project. If it seems labor intensive, exhausting, and challenging, you’re right…it is! In the perfect world it may be an easy way to save a buck by doing it yourself but that may leave you with many trips to the home improvement store and a few chiropractor bills. On the other hand, hiring this out to a local contractor could cost you upwards of $2,000. Neither option is ideal.

Zoeller is here to encourage you to skip the step of breaking concrete because it is possible to have a clean, modern and fully functional bathroom without breaking any concrete. This is where the Zoeller Qwik Jon® above grade plumbing solution comes in. We’ve put together 10 reasons why you should skip breaking concrete and go for a trustworthy, convenient above grade plumbing solution such as the Qwik Jon® Premier.

#1 Health. Hired contractors may not put a ton of thought into that cloud of dust that instantly occurs when concrete is cut or broken. Concrete contains a compound called crystalline silica, and when airborne it can be a health concern. You don’t want your friends, family or construction crew breathing in that polluted air.

#2 Dust. Dust with construction is an unfortunate reality. While contractors can do their best to contain it by barricading or taping the area off it is nearly impossible to stop it from accumulating. Spaces containing a lot of concrete often lack good ventilation, causing that cloud of dust to linger longer than usual.

#3 Cost. Hiring a crew to break your concrete to find your drain line could cost you over $1,500. That is just to remove it. You still need to fill it back in. If you want to do-it-yourself you may save a few bucks but end up paying more in disposal fees, or potentially worse, doctor bills.

#4 Time. Time is valuable! You could be making memories with your friends and family rather than dedicating your time, money and resources to this time-consuming project.

#5 Leaks. A jack hammer can end up breaking up more of the floor that you expected to. Especially near the foundation walls. You do not want to get too close to your foundation to risk it shifting or causing more cracks and leaks. Once a crack is caused, radon and ground water infiltration can be a major issue. The last thing your newly constructed bathroom needs is a major flood or an overly wet Spring season to trigger unwanted moisture and mold via this pesky crack.

#6 Property Damage. While breaking and hauling off your broken concrete, flying debris can damage your walls, break window glass or even cut you. Setting up plywood to protect your windows and walls also adds cost, time, and trips to your local home improvement store. With each blow to the slab you risk disrupting the foundation. No matter how careful you are it is just something that cannot be avoided, and you will need to hope that you can patch the hole better to blend in with the original.

#7 Effort. Breaking concrete is just simply a lot of work. With each blow the fill under the slab will absorb the energy. You will quickly end up fatigued with very little to show for it. Even worse, deep cracks help you remove portions of the slab faster and with this route you will have only pulverized the top layer, meaning there’s a lot left to go!

#8 Noise. This should go without saying but jackhammering concrete is not quiet. Your typical pavement breaker can generate up to 100 decibels  of noise, a piercing 15 decibels greater than OSHA’s recommended upper limit of exposure for an eight-hour day. With more people at home this noise is incredibly inconvenient for those taking meetings, studying, or doing non-traditional learning.

#9 Heavy mix and gravel. There are other ways to get your workout in rather than carrying heavy mix and gravel throughout your house to fill in for the concrete taken out. A typical bag of dry concrete weighs 80 lbs! That does not include the weight of the gravel or the water needed to mix the concrete. Plus, you’ll need a suitable place to mix concrete in the basement.

#10 You Need a Crew! This is a project where it really pays to have extra bodies around to help with the heavy lifting. Even the friends who owe you favors will suddenly be busy when it’s time for this project. Since this is not a one-person job, your team will need to consist of two to break up the concrete and at least two more to haul away the rubble.

#11 Logistics. If your basement is not a walk-out basement, logistically breaking concrete is a nightmare. When the concrete is broken up it must be carried away somehow. Not one wants chunks lugged around their house or through their newly groomed yard with wheelbarrows. Concrete also must be disposed of properly meaning you will need to rent a dumpster, preferably with a side door, so that you aren’t having to heave chunks 6’ into the air.


#12 Unknowns. Part of the issue of connecting to your existing drain pipe may be that you don’t know exactly where it is. It would not be wise to do an exploratory surgery to map this out. Then you must rely on a plumber to come out and tell you exactly where they may be located. If your plumber is coming out you could expect a $2,500 bill.

If you still are not sold on WHY you should not break concrete when installing a new bathroom give Zoeller a call and let us show you how a Qwik Jon® can save you time and money while providing you a dream bathroom.