How to Remove Concrete Off of Paver Walkways

Jennifer asked: How do I remove concrete from a paver walkway? A thick coating of concrete was accidentally applied over the RINOX pavers in my walkway that was newly installed. Now, I have a white layer over my new tan colored walkway, and the edges of the pavers are encrusted with concrete. Power washing with water has helped much. Please help!

It won’t be easy to remove a thick coating of dry concrete, but it can be done.  The following steps, along with a lot of hard work, will help you restore your pavers to their former glory.

You Will Need:

  • Chisel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Muriatic acid
  • Water
  • Eye protection
  • Acid resistant gloves
  • Cheap paint brush
  • Scrub brush

Steps to Remove the Concrete:

  1. Wearing eye protection, position the chisel against the concrete and tap the end with the rubber mallet. Repeat until you’ve broken off most of the concrete, but don’t hit the paver directly or you may crack it instead. This may be a long, tedious process. If possible, gather some friends or others to help speed up the process.
  2. Once you’ve removed the thicker chunks of concrete, wet the concrete with water.
  3. Put on the rubber gloves and use a cheap paint brush to apply muriatic acid to the remaining concrete. Wait 10-15 minutes for it to work. You will know it is working when it bubbles. The acid will break down the concrete so it can be removed.
  4. Use the scrub brush to remove the broken down concrete.
  5. Once you’re no longer making progress, repeat steps 3 and 4. You may need to apply the acid several times to remove the concrete completely.
  6. When you’re satisfied with the results, rinse the paver with clean water. Be aware that the acid runoff will kill any vegetation in its path. If this is a concern, guide the water as best you can to a safe drainage location.

Additional Tips and Advice

  • If it’s possible to remove the affected paver to replace it with a new one, do it. The cleaning process is a long and difficult one. Replacement in most cases is probably easy by comparison.
  • Muriatic acid may be used full strength or diluted according to label directions. ALWAYS dilute by adding acid to water, never vice versa.
  • If the pavers were poured instead of premade, make sure they’ve cured for at least two weeks before you clean the concrete off the top. If you don’t, you may damage the paver with this removal process.
  • If possible, check with the paver manufacturer to make sure acid will not discolor or bleach the pavers. If that’s not possible, spot test in a hidden area before you apply the acid.
  • Avoid breathing the vapors from the muriatic acid. Follow all instructions for use, storage and disposal as indicated on the label.

Comments

  1. Brian says:

    Where can I purchase the cleaner, and what is the cost?

  2. Melanie says:

    Brian,
    Muriatic acid is another name for hydrochloric acid. It is available at most hardware stores in the US. It is sold in the UK as well, but is more likely called either “hydrochloric acid” or “spirit of salts.” The price varies.
    Source: Wikipedia – Hydrochloric Acid
    Source: DIYstompboxes.com – Where to buy Muriatic Acid in UK?

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