The idea of attempting to carefully and neatly cut through concrete is by no means simple. Cutting concrete slabs, regardless of their type or size, is not an easy task even for trained professionals. You need to have the experience, expertise and knowledge to do a good job. Having good hand-eye coordination and physical strength is an added bonus.
Although concrete cutting is best left to the experts due to the risky and technical nature of the work, anyone with the right information can teach themselves how to cut concrete neatly and accurately for the very best results.
What Do You Need?
Now, you may be wondering, what tools do you need to cut through thick slabs of concrete? Here is a list of things you need to have:
1. Personal Protective Equipment.
2. Measuring tools.
3. Markers (pens, bright coloured crayons or chalk).
4. For concrete slabs thicker than 10 cm, you will need at least a 14-inch blade.
5. For concrete slabs under 10 cm, you will need a circular saw with at least a seven-inch blade, 15 amps minimum.
Things To Do Before Cutting
There are several things you need to do before you can begin the actual process of cutting. First, you must clear the work area from any obstacles, hazards, debris, or anything that can interfere with the cutting process. Next, make sure that there is nobody near you in order to avoid accidents or injuries.
If you are using an electric wet concrete saw, makes sure your power cables or electric lines are waterproof and properly connected. If you are using a fuel or gas-powered concrete saw, make sure that your work area is free from anything that is flammable or can cause a spark.
Next, measure the concrete section you want to cut properly and make clear markings. Check the concrete saw to ensure it is running properly. Remember to wear protective gear and follow all necessary safety protocols.
Where To Cut?
Depending on how thick the concrete is, the cuts must be spaced accordingly which is anywhere between 24 to 36 times the thickness of the slab.
If you are working with reinforced concrete, control joint spacing which is usually set at 3 to 5 metres apart must be used. You can lower the cut spacing for high-shrinkage concrete.
The best depth to start cutting at is about a quarter or a third of the concrete’s thickness.
How To Cut?
Position the blade against the concrete slab and begin following the markings you made during preparation. Go easy on the blade and take as much time as you need to ensure precise and neat cuts. Avoid pushing the blade too hard and just let it glide smoothly along the concrete.
If you are using a wet saw, make sure that water is continuously running down to the blade as you cut the concrete slab. When finished, remove the blade from the concrete and allow it to spin freely for about half a minute to spin out any particles or dust and to cool down the saw.
Repeat this process until all cuts are completed. Always allow the blade to cool down in between cuts in order to prolong the life of the blade. Unplug the concrete saw when done and clean it properly before storing it away.
Cutting concrete is a risky and dangerous job that can easily put you in harm’s way if you do not follow the necessary safety precautions. It is important that you:
– Check the saw before and after use.
– Use high-quality diamond blades when cutting thick and reinforced concrete slabs.
– Do not twist the blade during cutting.
– Do not push the blade too hard during cutting.
– Always wear protective gear when cutting concrete.