Concrete is a difficult material to work with. If you need to cut, saw or drill into concrete you will need to use special drills and the right safety equipment. Here is a handy guide that will help you to make sure that your work with concrete goes as smoothly as possible.
How Concrete Sawing Works
Concrete saws come in two forms: cut-off machines and diamond chain saws.
Cut-off machines have circular blades that are good for cutting smaller pieces of concrete such as paving stones. These tools are light and easy to handle. However, they can only be used for smaller cuts, and tend toproduce some over-cut.
In contrast, diamond chain saws are able to cut much deeper, and can be used to make perfect corners with no over-cut. This means that they are much more versatile and are an ideal choice for both heavy duty jobs and jobs that require slightly more precision.
It is important that you choose the right tool for the job. Bear in mind that while cut-off machines have circular blades that can be quite large in diameter, the depth of the cut that the blade can make is dictated by how much blade is visible past the guard. The cut will usually be significantly less than the radius of the blade. For example, most 14 inch blades can only make five inch cuts, not seven inch cuts as you might expect.
How Concrete Drilling Works
Just as with concrete sawing, there are a few different kind of concrete drills. These drills can be divided into two types: impact drills and non-impact drills.
Impact drills work a lot like normal drills, except in addition to rotational force they use percussive force to speed up the drilling process. Because concrete is so hard, you must use special drill bits that are either made of a strong carbide, or have diamond tips. If you choose the wrong drill bit then the drilling process will take a lot longer, or you could end up damaging the bit, or, worse, the material that you are trying to drill.
Non-impact drilling uses diamond tipped drill bits instead of carbide drill bits. Non-impact drills can drill holes that are much bigger in diameter than the holes made by impact drills, but the drilling process takes a very long time. Because of the friction that is generated when drilling, non-impact drills must be cooled with water, and you will also need to use a vacuum cleaner to suck up the slurry that is produced by the combination of water and dust from the drill.
Some Final Tips
Whether you are sawing or drilling into concrete it is important that you clean up properly after the work is done. Many local authorities will not allow you to dispose of concrete in the normal garbage disposal system so you will need to arrange for the waste to be collected. There are a lot of specialist waste disposal companies that will do this for you, and the company that rented the drill or saw may be able to either do the disposal work in-house or recommend a company for you to call.
Be sure to wear the correct safety gear when you are working with concrete. Wear goggles to stop dust getting in your eyes, gloves to protect your hands and a mask so that you don’t accidentally inhale any dust.
If you are renting cutting equipment, choose the highest quality gear that you can afford.
Cutting into concrete can be hard work and if you skimp on equipment you are only making the job harder for yourself.
Remember that gas powered machines tend to be more powerful than electric ones. However, there are some occasions when an electric machine is a better choice. For example, if you are renting a machine for use indoors then you should choose electrical over gas to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Gas powered machines are not safe to use in areas with poor ventilation.
In contrast, if you will be working outdoors far away from a power source, a gas powered machine is the logical choice.