A Guide to Concrete Cutting

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What is Concrete Cutting?

Concrete cutting is the process of cutting or drilling away concrete to clear a path for electrical wiring, HVAC systems, plumbing or other systems; making linear cuts to create joints allowing slabs and walls to shift without cracking or breaking; or cutting away elements of concrete walls or slabs to install passage was like an egress window. A variety of tools and equipment are used to create accurate cuts (depth, angle, location), minimize damage to surrounding structures, reduce debris, and ensure the safety of the operator and integrity of the structure.

As you read through the rest of the article you will come to better understand what it takes to cut concrete, and the measures Concrete Cutting Salt Lake takes to ensure quality and safety.

What is Involved (i.e., equipment type, skill)?

Concrete cutting is a labor intensive process, but can be made easy when the right skills, equipment, and people are on the job. First, each concrete cutting job is unique. Make sure you have the right equipment. Some examples of concrete saws and drills are listed and explained below and linked to industrial suppliers for you to view and read up on.

Beyond the machines themselves, power source and blade type play a large part in how long the job will take to complete and how expensive it might be. The two primary types of blades used for cutting concrete or diamond and corundum. To make things simple, diamond blades tend to be significantly more expensive but last longer before having to switch out for a new blade. However, dependent on the extent of your project, corundum blades may fit the bill as they are less expensive but wear out sooner than diamond blades.

Lastly, projects around the house might fit your skill level with a saw. However, if you plan to install an egress window for your basement, then it might be worth having one of our professionals at Concrete Cutting Salt Lake to come take a look to evaluate and provide a free quote.

Concrete Chain Saw | A concrete chain saw may be a good option depending on your needs. These machines offer deep and accurate cuts into concrete and other surfaces like stone and masonry. Additionally, chain saws will offer dry, wet, or both options for cutting.

Floor or Handheld Saw | Floor sawing units come in forms and likely have the largest selection of saw types. Handheld saws machines may come with or without cords, may be gas-powered or hydraulic, or come in large units or a simple circular hand saw. The complexity of your project will best determine which kind of saw you will use. Those projects will most often include removing some layer or section of concrete to make way to wiring, piping, or some other inlay or cross-section of your project.​

Wall Sawing | Don’t be confused between wall saws and handheld saws. There is some definite crossover. Handheld saws are capable of making cuts to a concrete wall. However, depending on the accuracy and complexity of the project, a wall saw unit might be your best bet. These systems may come with a track system designed to be pre-installed and have the primary saw unit attached to then cut an extremely accurate linear cut. They may be hand operated or commonly today, remote control operated. Again, these units will often complete dry and wet cuts with the use of a diamond blade.

Walk-Behind Concrete Saw | Walk-behind concrete saws are likely the most recognizable saws to the public. You may recall seeing contractors working on stretches of highway pushing a boxy looking machine throwing large plumes of debris in the air. Chances are that was the largest of concrete saws. These powerful machines also will cut dry or wet, and with diamond blades. These machines most often make cuts for the purpose of creating expansion, contraction or isolation joints. These joints allow for large structures to flex and move depending on the terrain they are built so the concrete slabs themselves do not crack or break altogether.

The Basics of Concrete Cutting

As you have read and understood so far, there are a variety of saw types and cutting methods. Again, each job will be unique in the skills and equipment needed. It will be helpful to better understand the cutting methods as well.

Diamond saw | As mentioned above, the use of diamond blades for cutting concrete can be more expensive; however, it might be worth the price as they cut faster than other blade types. They will produce less recoil, less noise, and they can cut through other metals with little resistance. These saws though are mostly only used by contractors.

Concrete Wall Sawing | Wall sawing is only done by circular saws. As mentioned earlier, the track systems the saws are mounted on allow for accuracy and safety. Wall saws can cut up to 36” deep.

Wire Sawing | You will likely have never encountered this type of saw as it is typically a last resort. When other saws cannot get the job done, contractors will use this saw type to get the job done.

Core Drilling | Core drilling is specific to creating space for wiring, piping, and HVAC units installed. Similar to how a wall saw or walk-behind saw creates a linear cut, core drilling uses a diamond bit to drill holes in concrete.

​Flat Sawing | Lastly, flat sawing, also known as slab cutting, is done with a handheld or walk-behind unit. These machines are used to make linear cuts to access channels and wiring that need repair behind the concrete, remove broken concrete, or cut expansion, contraction or isolation joints.

Final Word

Concrete cutting equipment is available for rental at many of your local hardware stores. Be realistic in your knowledge and skill level. If you are unsure whether you can complete the project alone, unsure about codes/licensing, etc., call us and we will send out a member of our team to give you a quick analysis on complexity of the job. We will also provide a free quote upon request.

Best of luck in your concrete cutting adventures!

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