Most of us don’t think about concrete much until we have to do something like cut it to meet our home improvement needs. Many people don’t have have any idea how to go about such a task, and then when the need arises they feel completely daunted by the task.
Experts say that cutting concrete mostly comes down to having the proper tools. Another important thing to remember is that cutting concrete isn’t like cutting wood or any other material in your home. Not doing the proper research before beginning the project can lead to a failed project and sometimes even injury.
What are some of the most important things to remember while undertaking this project? We’ve compiled a list of tips for any beginner at cutting concrete.
#1 It’s Critical to Wear Appropriate Safety Gear for this Task
The risk of injury is high. The recommended items include the following:
- Safety glasses
- Hard hat
- Steel toed boots
- Hearing protection
- High visibility clothing (if you are near traffic)
#2 Prepare your Work Space
Certainly you’ll want to avoid getting concrete dust in your home or any other space you might be working in. If outside, make sure all windows are closed. You may also want to consider covering doors and air vents with drop cloths and turning off any fans.
#3 There are Three Possible Methods for Cutting Concrete:
- Chisel and hammer: This method creates a jagged effect. With chalk or a pencil, mark the line that you want to cut. Chisel 1/8 of an inch for a score and proceed to chisel until you have completed the line that you mark for chiseling.
- Power saw: Using a power saw or special chainsaw will create a more polished look with a clean line. It’s important to make sure to let the power saw come to a halt before removing the power saw.
- Splitter: A third option is using a splitter which can be rented since they are expensive pieces of equipment. It will give a jagged look, but it is more precise than using a chisel and hammer. By inserting the concrete into the splitter and lining it up with the drawn line, you can then press down on the lever until the concrete splits.
#4 What Kind of Blade Should I Use for a Power Saw?
Since the power saw method is the most popular method to use, it’s a good idea to take a look at the types of blades that are on the market. There are pros and cons to each type. What are the different types of blades?
- Dry-cutting diamond blade: This works with a circular or handheld chainsaw. In spite of the name, it’s advisable to wet the concrete slightly for maximum results.
- Wet cutting diamond blade: Using this type of blade requires using more water and keeping it constantly wet throughout the whole process. Many experts recommend setting up a garden hose nearby, if possible.
#5 Is a Diamond Blade Worth the Investment?
An abrasive masonry blade is much less expensive but, in the long run, it is far better to invest in a diamond blade. Abrasive masonry blades can work well for shallow cuts, but that’s all. You will spend less time buying and changing blades with a diamond blade.
#6 How Deep Should Concrete be Cut?
The general rule of thumb is to cut joints at one quarter the depth of the concrete. It’s important to always make sure that your cuts are deep enough. If they’re not, you will have more hassles later.
#7 When Should I Use a Gasoline or Electric Saw?
Using a gasoline or electric saw is needed when cutting up to 6 inches into concrete is needed. Many, if not most projects, need to cut this deep—including sidewalks and walls. Otherwise, use the same steps as for using a circular saw.
#8 Do your Homework and Find Out if Rebar is Under the Concrete.
Rebar is sometimes used to strengthen concrete. If it is under the concrete you are working on, different tools will be necessary. If rebar is present, a diamond drill or saw will be needed because other types won’t get the job done. Detecting rebar can be done through radar or GPR.
#9 Use a Floor Saw for Flat Surface Concrete Cutting
If you are working with a flat surface, a floor saw is recommended in most cases. Another term for this method is slab sawing. This method keeps the saw in place because it makes it easier to guide by putting pressure on the concrete as it is cut.
By following all of these suggestions, your concrete cutting project should be a success. This project doesn’t have to be overwhelming with a little pre-planning along with some good old fashioned hard work. Best of luck on your concrete endeavors!
Assigned category: Concrete Service