Clean, efficient concrete cuts are a necessity for a variety of jobs, but they’re usually easier said than done. Making these cuts and doing the job right requires some planning and preparation along with proper execution. Here are a few tips to ensure your saw delivers top quality cuts every time.
Choose your saw wisely
Not every concrete cutting job is created equal. Specific jobs call for specific types of saws. So, be sure to carefully evaluate the environment and requirements of the job before choosing your saw. Wet saws offer the ability to control dust and clean the cutting area for small, straight cuts. Diamond blades and bits are capable of the cleanest and sharpest cuts, and are best used for intricate work and adding detail. Handheld cutting edge saws live up to their name and are intended for flush cutting in tight corners or on embedded rebar. Finally, walk-behind saws handle big jobs like cutting an entire slab or wall.
Maintain your blades
While each different type of saw offers its own benefits and capabilities, none of them can do the job if your blades are lacking. A dull blade will often fracture your cut, and it puts additional stress and heat on your saw, which causes it to wear out faster. Cuts with duller blades will also produce more dust. If your concrete cutting project requires a lot of cuts, you’ll want to invest in heavy duty blades to avoid having to switch them out constantly. For smaller jobs, simply watch for signs of wear, and change blades before cut quality is compromised.
Diversify your blades
There are different types of blades available, as well, which each have different capabilities. For example, a diamond coated blade is preferable when cutting reinforced concrete, but a wet blade will perform better against dust. Even when a single saw will handle a project, different blades may be needed depending on the specific cut, so be sure to evaluate the environment and have multiple blades handy.
Plan for buried materials
If you’re dealing with a slab that has pipe, rebar, or wiring embedded in the concrete, you need to do some additional planning before cutting. Similar to marking pipelines and electrical wires underground before you dig, it’s important to know where these materials are in your slab. If you have no way of knowing, you’ll need to use a saw and blade equipped to cut through them. Your other option would be to not cut deep enough to come in contact with them, but if you need to cut through the slab, that won’t be possible.
Wait for curing
If you’ve equipped yourself with the proper saw and blades for the job, and properly planned for the environment, the last step to a perfect cut is to wait for the right time. There’s a perfect time in the curing process when the concrete is no longer wet, but isn’t completely set, that allows for high quality cuts. Wet concrete is difficult to cut, and if you are able to, it results in fraying and splitting. Completely dry and set concrete fractures at the surface when cut. For some jobs, you may not have the option to cut the concrete before it’s completely set, but if you’re working with a brand new slab, try to cut it when it’s fully hardened, but only about half cured. This allows for smooth edges and straight cuts while producing minimal dust.
These tips will help you create high quality cuts in concrete, but for the concrete saws, blades, and even the concrete itself that you’ll need, come see us at Maxwell Supply in Tulsa. We carry the supplies you need to do just about any job.