The effects of winter can be particularly harsh on concrete sidewalks. Water from snow melt and rain can get into the pores and cracks of the sidewalks during a thaw period. When the freezing temperatures return, the water will turn into ice and expand inside the pores and cracks. Expanding ice can break apart the concrete slabs to the point they are no longer safe to walk over. You will need to remove the broken slab and put in a new one to repair the sidewalk and make it safe for people to use it. If you are a new homeowner who has never had to break apart a slab of concrete to remove it, here's how you can do it with an impact drill, concrete breaking bar, and a sledgehammer.
You should wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from pieces of flying concrete while drilling and hammering. You should wear earplugs to protect your ears from the loud sounds caused by the drilling, and you should put on a pair of heavy work gloves to protect your hands when lifting and moving the concrete pieces.
You are going to need a large impact drill that can handle diamond-tipped drill bits up to an inch in diameter. If you don't have an impact drill, you can usually rent one at a local hardware or contractor's store. You should drill a series of holes across the width and length of the slab. Use a drill bit that has a diameter that is large enough to dig a hole to fit the tip of the concrete breaking bar in. Drill several holes evenly spaced apart near the edge on one side of the slab. You should then move back about a foot and drill another row of holes. Move back about another foot and drill one more row of holes. Keep on repeating this until the entire slab has holes all over it.
Breaking the Slab Apart
Stick the tip of the concrete breaking bar into one hole at a time and pound it into the hole with the sledgehammer. The force of the breaking bar getting pounded into the hole will cause the concrete to break apart. You may have to angle the breaker bar to split open the cracks you are making in the concrete. Move from hole to hole until the entire slab is broken into pieces.
Make sure you wear your heavy work gloves while picking up the pieces of concrete. The broken pieces will have rough surfaces that can rub the skin off of your fingers and hands. Put the pieces in a dumpster or pickup truck so they can be taken to a place to dump them.