How To Move Large Pieces Of Concrete Safely And Effectively

If you’ve ever done a large paving project at your house or business, you’ve probably had to deal with moving massive chunks of concrete and/or stone. Pavers are a functional, and pretty addition to a building exterior. They are not poured in place like much paving. They need to be brought to their final resting location. These materials can range from large rocks that will be in landscaping/pavement to giant blocks/slabs of concrete. 

Large chunks of paving material are difficult to move around because of their size and heaviness. The fact that they are rough, stiff, and hard increases the likelihood of them damaging the things around them as they move as well. The ground, such as a carefully paved walkway or manicured lawn can be ripped, scraped, and dug up by awkward concrete block corners. Other stacks of materials can be knocked over, scraped, and damaged as well. You also run the risk of spilling knocking over chemicals/paints that may be in the area while it is moved and causing damage and hassle. Finally, the paving block yourself can also be hurt during movement. If it rubs against anything else hard, it can get it’s own scratches, cracks, and broken corners. 

What is the safest way to move large slabs or blocks of pavement? Fortunately, there are a few different solutions that will help you figure out what to do. Each movement tactic is useful in a given context, so there isn’t really a one-size-fits-all answer. 

Biophysical force

You got this. Don’t get intimidated by the size and weight of what you are working with. Even if it’s a couple hundred pounds, you can probably handle it. Remember, to simply move something, you don’t need to dead lift it or pick it up cleanly from the ground. You (and maybe a few others) have all the strength you need to move massive concrete. Here’s how to do so safely, and with minimal contact with surroundings.

Roll/flip the pavers

Flipping concrete blocks over and over again to get them where you want is time and energy consuming. Be ready to sweat. Also make sure you have some tough work gloves for this task.

If you are dealing with something more cubic, like chunks or blocks of concrete, this solution is viable. It’s also best when the ground you are rolling it across is incomplete and soft. Because the pavers are hard and tough, they will dig into soil and scratch other pavement. Be sure to NOT do this on a nice looking lawn or finished pavement. Use the flip method on ground that still needs work, so you can cover any torn up areas after. If flipping is your only solution and you have a mostly finished lawn/courtyard/outdoor area, you can put down mats or other layers to protect surfaces.

Walk the slabs/blocks

This method takes a big more finesse than rolling. It also tends to work better with more oblong or slab-shaped blocks. When you walk the blocks, you will balance them on a smaller face (the flat side of a block/slab/paver). Once the concrete is balanced on a smaller face, tilt it onto a corner, and then swivel the other corner in the direction you want it to go. Land the other corner gently, and then tilt up the concrete on the just-landed corner. Now, swing the opposite corner in the direction you want to go, safely land it, and repeat. This process is much faster than rolling, but is associated with more damage to the ground.

As the corners will dig into the ground below them, make absolutely sure that you have some protection laid down. Rubber mats or padding, like those shown here, are ideal ways to protect your land. You will also want some heavy duty gloves for this activity, and some back-up, to prevent dropping anything.

Using equipment

These solutions come closest to providing a general solution that will work in most situations. The ground may not always be level or sturdy enough for wheeled or heavy equipment use. However, most construction areas will allow at least one of these methods.

Use a dolly

Use a dolly with two or four wheels for the following reasons:

  • A dolly doesn’t require you to lift the whole paver off the ground.
  • Cost effective. 
  • A dolly will have other uses in a construction site too.

You can use a four-wheeled dolly or even a cart when the area is flat and wide. Use a two-wheeler when you are moving things up and down slopes. Honestly, you should have a dolly at just about any construction site. It will pay for itself on day 1.

PVC piping

Get higher schedule (higher wall thickness) PVC pipes. Lay them down in the area you wish to slide your concrete. Slowly roll the concrete across the pipes. As the concrete rolls off the pipes in back, move them to the front, and continue until you get it where you want it to go. The ancient Egyptians used this same method with logs to move the blocks that the pyramids were made from. Just be sure to use thick enough walled pipe so it doesn’t collapse. 

Just like a dolly, PVC piping is easy to get, cheap, and inherently transportable.

Heavy equipment

If the pavers or concrete blocks you have to move really are beyond your means, then bring in the big guns. Unless you are a trained professional with cranes, bulldozers, or boom trucks, then you will want to get a professional construction or paving contractor to handle this for you. Fortunately, that’s where we come in.

Choose a reliable contractor for your paving needs

If you are in over your head paving your house or business, then reach out to Reliable Paving. We are an experienced and large team of professional paving contractors, with a whole range of service capabilities. Whether you need asphalt paving, repairs, painting/striping, ADA compliance, or anything else related to the pavement and asphalt industry, we can help. Let us do the heavy lifting so you can focus on what’s important to you.