What Is Concrete Cutting?
Whether you have worked with concrete in the past or are just experimenting around, there is a good chance that you have heard about concrete cutting. Of course, you might already know everything about the process. But, there is still a good chance that you have not quite mastered it yet, as it is a very intricate and tedious process. In fact, concrete cutting requires special saws and drills that use diamond blades and bits to penetrate the concrete. This new and improved method of cutting concrete is not only more modern than the old-fashioned jackhammer, but it leaves a much smoother and attractive finish. With that being said, you should know that there are a variety of different methods in which you can cut concrete, but the most common are without a doubt wall sawing, core drilling, and slab or flat sawing.
Wall sawing is exactly how it sounds, cutting through a concrete wall with a large saw. This process is often utilized in building structures with concrete walls to create openings for doors and windows. This is a job for skilled professionals who utilize concrete chain saws with diamond-impregnated blades. Water is utilized to moisten the dust and debris, so it is contained throughout the process.
The concrete chain saw with 30-inch diameter diamond blade will cut through concrete walls up to 12 inches thick. However, this setup has been utilized to cut through 24-inch thick walls. It depends on the contractor, but a larger diameter diamond blade may be required for thicker walls.
Wall sawing is also utilized in residential and commercial establishments to add passage or entry between new and existing structures, such as basements. This process should be approached during the construction of the new building structure, just to save money. If the process is delayed, the contractor will charge a higher fee for this service.
Finding A Reputable Contractor
As mentioned above, an unskilled individual should not attempt concrete cutting. The process requires a lot of strength, intense concentration and heavy-duty equipment. Of course, most home or business owners will not want to hire a professional, because of the added expense. However, doing so will be your best option to prevent bodily injury and structure damage.
Conduct an online search inquiry to find a reputable contractor in your area. You can also search through your local phone book, if you do not have access to a computer or the Internet. Recommendations from family members, friends and co-workers are always the most reliable. But, in this case you will probably not find someone who has hired a contractor for concrete cutting before.
Understanding Core Drilling
Core drilling is a bit of an intricate process, as it requires drilling perfectly round holes through concrete walls or floors. The diameter of the hole can range anywhere from 1 inches to 12 inches, but for residential applications the most common size is 5 inches. As for commercial applications the diameter can go all the way up to 60 inches or even more. These holes are known are core holes and they are often times used, so that contractors can utilize them for utility penetrations. For instance, you might need to run an electrical wire or a dryer duct through a concrete floor or wall, and this is where core drilling can come in handy.
While the equipment to perform this type of work is available at your local hardware store, it is highly recommended that this job be left to the professionals.
Understanding Slab Sawing
Slab sawing is also known as flat sawing and it is most often times used to cut horizontal flat surfaces like concrete floors, decks, or pavement. In order to perform this process you will need a specialized saw, which is usually pretty large in size. The slab saw utilizes a diamond blade and requires one operator. The operator usually has to walk behind the machine and push it slowly, as it cuts into the concrete. These machines are so advanced and big that they can cut up to 33 inches in depth in concrete. However, most of the time no more than 6 inches is required for most residential applications.
This process is usually utilized when there is a broken pipe or a cut electrical wire that needs to be accessed underneath a concrete slab. The process of slab sawing can also be utilized in the event that someone is remodeling their basement and needs to cut in new fixtures. In addition to this, the slab saw can come in extremely handy when it comes to demolition or removing old concrete.
For the average homeowner this can be a very dangerous and complicated process, as the equipment is heavy, hard to operate, and even hard to handle effectively.
Types Of Concrete Cutting Blades
As you can see from the above information there are a variety of methods in which concrete can be cut. Well, you should also be aware of the fact that there are a variety of different concrete cutting blades as well. Each blade serves a very specific purpose and comes along with it own benefits and disadvantages. Below, you will learn more about the different types of concrete blades that are available and when you should utilize each.
Abrasive Corundum Masonry Blades
The abrasive corundum masonry blade is available at a fairly affordable price, widely available at any hardware store, and it is capable of cutting through concrete, asphalt, and stucco. While these blades are extremely affordable, they are by no means a fast solution. In fact, they are usually only capable of cutting anywhere from ¼-inch to ½-inch in diameter. This is not to mention that the blades wear down extremely fast and get really hot. These are without a doubt an economical solution to concrete cutting, but they are extremely slow.
The concrete leftover must be removed from the building structure by a team of professional removers. The main reason for this is because the concrete slab or pieces will be extremely heavy and may have sharp edges. The contractor responsible for the concrete cutting project may remove the concrete, as part of the contract. If not, you will need to hire a removal company to do it.