Renovating a driveway can be a lot of hard work. These driveway concrete cutting tips will help you to ensure that the concrete cutting process goes as smoothly as possible, keeping you safe and minimising the amount of physical effort needed to get the job done effectively.
Working with Concrete
Concrete is one of the toughest and most difficult materials to work with. It is hard and dense, and produces a huge amount of dust when it is cut into.
To work with concrete safely you need the right tools. You also need to be very patient, since cutting concrete is a slow process.
The following tips will help you to learn how to cut and break through concrete safely and neatly.
Choosing the Right Tools
If the concrete on your driveway is not reinforced, and if it is no thicker than four inches, then you can get away with using a sledge hammer – assuming, of course, that you don’t mind hard physical labour.
However, if you are cutting a much thicker surface then you will need more powerful equipment. You have several choices depending on the location of the concrete, its thickness, and the type of cut you want to make.
Most people use hammer drills, pneumatic jack hammers or electric breakers to cut up concrete on their driveway.
The first thing that you need to do is make an initial surface cut:
- Mark out the hole that you need to cut using some chalk;
- Cut along the line as deep as you can using a circular saw or a demolition saw;
- Start the breaking process
This initial surface cut helps to make the concrete a little easier to break through and also ensures that the final cut is as neat as possible.
The Final Cut
Slowly work with the tip of your cutting tool from inside the marked zone, chipping the concrete carefully along the saw line. To ensure that the cut is accurate, let the tool’s tip lean away from the section of concrete that you want to keep in place.
This will ensure that when the edges of the concrete crack, the concrete that you are keeping in place will be undamaged.
Work slowly and methodically until you have penetrated all of the concrete surrounding the saw cut. Then break up small chunks of concrete, bit by bit, until the demarcated area is broken down.
Working on your driveway is fairly safe, but there are still some things that you should consider in terms of safety.
Be sure to wear steel toed boots to protect your feet, and wear gloves to protect your hands.
Exposure to concrete dust can cause various skin conditions, and there is always the risk of getting your hand caught by some flying chunks of concrete, or snagged by some tools.
Wear safety goggles, because concrete dust is not just irritating. Dust in your eyes can actually cause you to lose your eyesight.
Wear earmuffs or ear plugs to protect your hearing – especially if you are working with a powerful saw or a pneumatic drill.
Finally, wear a good dust mask – or ideally a respirator. Concrete creates a huge amount of dust when it is broken down, and inhaling that dust can cause both short term respiratory tract irritation and long term lung problems.
Once you have broken down the concrete and finished whatever work it is you need done, you will need to arrange to have the concreted disposed of.
Many companies that offer concrete cutting equipment which you can use for driveway concrete cutting also offer concrete disposal services.
It is a good idea to take advantage of those services instead of simply trying to dispose of concrete in your normal waste bins. Many local authorities will fine you if they notice that you are throwing away concrete in normal domestic waste because it causes issues with recycling or incineration facilities.
Do things properly from the outset to reduce the amount of stress and inconvenience you face, and ensure that everything is safe as well.