In this How To we will look at the difficulties of dealing with materials that are attached to concrete with Concrete Nails. It is important to deal with hardened nails of this type correctly or you could find yourself with a costly repair.
A friend asks: I have these ramps leading up to my house and I’d like to remove them, but they are held in with concrete nails.
Most likely these ramps were installed to help someone with disabilities. Although they are not really the best way to provide permanent access to a home for someone in a wheel chair or someone using a walker it seems the owner of the home did the best they could to improve the situation.
I really admire people who do things like this to help others and I will never talk down their methods. If what they do improves the life of someone else even if it is not perfect then it is admirable work.
The problem that the new home owner has is that they need to remove these ramps and they need to do so in a way that causes the least damage to their concrete.
Concrete is a very brittle material and although it is porous enough to accept a concrete nail being shot into it the same is not true if you decide later that you want to remove it with the same force.
If you attempt to use a pry bar on these ramps it is highly likely that at minimum the concrete will crack and at worst that a large chunk of comcrete will come up with the nail. The chances are worse the longer the nail that was used to attach the ramps. Normally since the ramp material is only about a 1/4″ thick it would be best to use a one inch nail. However nails do come in longer lengths. If you were to pry on a 1″ nail you might be fine but you can never tell.
The best way to remove the ramps is to use a hand grinder to remove the heads of the nail and then remove the ramp. This will leave hardened nails protruding from the concrete. At this point its best to continue to use your grinder or use a metal cutting wheel to cut the nails flush with the concrete and leave them in the concrete.
You will still see the nail in the concrete but hopefully it will be flush and won’t stand out too much.
Don’t expect to be able to cut these nails with a normal steel cutting blade. Because they are shot into concrete they are hardened like tool steel and if you were to take a hacksaw to the nail you would destroy the hacksaw blade before you got anywhere.
Use the right tool for the job and you will be much happier.
If you find that someone has used a product that you don’t know how to deal with it is always better to find advice before you jump in.
In this case the new home owner may have tried to remove the nails with a crowbar or simply by yanking on the ramps. This would probably result in damage to the concrete. Concrete repairs can be difficult to accomplish if you want to hide them so even if the holes were patched with some mortar it would still look much worse than a couple nails cut flush to the concrete.