Cutting a concrete slab can be a complex task that requires proper skills and equipment. It isn’t a job where short cuts can be taken. Ideally, it should be done by those who have the proper experience and expertise. Highlighted below are some information and tips in using power tools for cutting a concrete slab.
Tip #1: Choosing the Concrete Cutting Equipment
It all begins with the right tools and accessories. The quickest, easiest and safest tools for this job are power tools that are capable to tackle the job at hand.
The Right Saw
The type of cut you will be making determines which saw to use. If you only need to make small rough cuts, you can do this manually with a sledgehammer and chisel. The much faster and more effective method is to use a circular saw with the right choice of blade.
The Right Concrete Cutting Blades
Quality is the key here. You may find some great prices on some of the blades that can cut through this type of material. You need to determine though, what is the cost per cut. If you are only going to get half the cuts completed before having to replace them, then you are wasting time and money.
Many professionals like to use the diamond blades when cutting a concrete slab. If this isn’t a job you need to do all the time, then you can rent these types of blades. You will likely be charged according to the number of inches used on the blade. Some of the inexpensive blades tend to slow down the cutting process. This is because they only allow for shallow cuts during each pass. With constant use, they can create an odour, fine dust and get really hot. When making the choice to use the diamond blades, you will have to choose the appropriate one.
The dry cutting blades are used when you want to make gradual deeper cuts. The blade won’t heat up, but you will create a lot more dust with a dry cut. You can also choose to use a wet cutting diamond blade. This means you will need to use a saw that is able to distribute the water that the blade needs to operate efficiently. This is a great blade for speed and efficiency as well as in keeping the dust down.
Tip #2: Techniques for Cutting a Concrete Slab
In some areas, there are regulations regarding the depth that you can cut a joint. You need to check this out first. The normal cut is at the minimum ¼ of the thickness of the slab. Keep in mind that the deeper the cut, the bigger the chance of cracking in the control joint. Don’t cut down to the level of the steel reinforcement, which should be in the middle of the slab.
You need to determine the best time for making the cut. This is determined by the size of the slab. To help you make a straight cut, draw a chalk line on the concrete slab. Or you can use a 2×4 as your guide. Before the concrete becomes hard, groove the control joints. Use a grooving tool that has a blade capable of cutting through a semi solid concrete.
Tip #3: Proper Placement of Joints
Where you place the joints will depend on the purpose the concrete slab is being used for. Sidewalks do well with joint placement with cuts made the same distance as what the width of the walk is. Large slabs are best done by determining the thickness of the slab then double this in feet.
Tip #4: Cutting Concrete Slabs with a Saw
If you don’t want to take the time to hand groove or the concrete has become too hard for this, you can still complete the job with a saw. The concrete should still look a little damp and dark in colour. You should be able to walk on it. If the concrete slab is fairly small, you can use a heavy duty circular saw, fitted with the proper blade. For larger concrete slab cutting, you may want to use a walk behind concrete saw.
You may be faced with the task of cutting through concrete to get at some faulty plumbing or other repairs needed beneath the concrete. These are normally slab foundations and are far thicker than slabs used for sidewalks and other outdoor venues. For this type of job, you would need to rely on the use of commercial concrete saws.
Personal safety when cutting a concrete slab using power tools is something that must be made a priority. The proper safety gear must be worn. Keeping the dust under control is another issue. Using power tools with the proper skills to avoid personal injury is a must. You must also be aware of the environment around you when taking on the job of cutting concrete slabs.
Time and money has to be taken into account as well. Purchasing the proper concrete cutting power tools can be expensive. They are not cost-efficient unless they are going to be used on a constant basis. Renting them is equally as expensive and there is the risk of improper use. Make sure that the individual who is going to take on the concrete slab cutting job has the proper skills and training in the use of the power tools.
Looking at a concrete cutting slab job at first appears straightforward. However, there are a lot of potential problems that can arise. If an error is made during the cutting process, correcting them may not be easy. A much better alternative to taking on this job yourself if you are in Melbourne or the surrounding areas would be to bring in the experts like those at MegaSaw.
They have the right equipment for every type of concrete cutting task. They also have the expertise in being able to use the different types of hand saws. These are often needed for hard to get at places or when time is of the essence. Concrete hand sawing requires precision working and takes time to be done properly. You also have to consider the cost factor required for this task. Determine the most cost-effective solution. Will it be either buying this type of equipment yourself and then developing the proper skills to use it or using the alternative of being able to rent such equipment and services from reputable providers like MegaSaw.