Whether you're cutting concrete for a driveway repair job or to run new plumbing pipes through outside walls, you need to understand the basics of cutting concrete before you start the job. Cutting concrete is not like cutting wood or other softer materials, and you can easily waste time, ruin your tools, and even hurt yourself physically if you didn't understand how to do this cutting effectively. Note the following important tips for concrete cutting at home:
1. Know your blades
There are many different types of saw blades that work on concrete, but these are not all created equal. Diamond-tip blades are usually the strongest but also the most expensive. However, for very thick concrete such as for a home's foundation, they may be the only type that work.
You may also see that abrasive masonry blades, a cheaper alternative to diamond-tipped blades, take much longer to cut and need to be replaced more often as they wear down quicker. In the long run, the diamond-tipped blades may actually then be less expensive.
There are also wet and dry diamond-tipped blades; the dry blades are good for short, deeper cuts that you make to keep the blade from overheating, but they create large amounts of dust. The wet blades are good for continuous cuts as the water cools the blade and controls the dust, but you need a special saw that safely coats the blade with water as you cut.
2. Score the line
One common mistake that homeowners make when cutting concrete is to simply start cutting with their blade. It's much better to actually score a line in the concrete with a cold chisel. This will allow you to gently set the blade into the line of the concrete rather than trying to push it. You'll get a cleaner and more precise cut and may protect your blade better when you start your cut with a chisel and score the line.
3. Protect yourself
Even with a wet blade, you need to protect yourself when you cut concrete. This means not only wearing eye protection but also a breathing mask, and ear protection. The vibrations caused by concrete cutting can easily damage the inner ear, especially if you're using a hand saw and are standing very close to the blade as you cut. There will also still be dust produced no matter the blade you use, so in addition to protecting yourself, put plastic sheeting over nearby ducts and be sure there is adequate ventilation so that concrete dust doesn't settle in your home.
To learn more, contact a company like A1 Concrete Cutting with any questions you have.