In this article we will focus on how to cut hardened concrete. Concrete is said to be the number one most produced man made material on earth. There is about three cubic kilometers of concrete produced yearly. Generally, there is more than one cubic meter of concrete for every person on Earth. That’s a lot of concrete.
China has about 40% of the world’s concrete and the U.S. no doubt has a large share as well with concrete being a 35 billion dollar industry in the United States. Cutting concrete is a task that any handyman or layman is bound to encounter more than once in their life time.
Well no doubt, we all know that concrete is hard, but just how hard, some people don’t realize until they have to cut through it. So you definitely do not want to go about cutting into a concrete slab or structure. Normally you want to use a special saw for cutting concrete.
Most concrete slabs also have rebar in them as well. Rebar are solid steel reinforcement rods used during the concrete pouring to help it maintain its structure. You are more than likely going to have to cut through these steel bars when making a cut though concrete. You need a blade and saw that can handle it.
Cutting concrete requires expensive tools and equipment as well as the expertise to use them. If you have any doubt about doing the job by yourself, by all means, hire a contractor. You may end up saving money in the long run with the cost of tools, preparation, rentals and mistakes.
When cutting concrete, the dust is horrible. Concrete dust can cause health problems and plenty of discomfort when breathing. You will need to take measures to avoid the dust. If you want to hire a pro, it costs about $500 to have a door cut out of a solid concrete wall.
Tools for Cutting Concrete
There are saws equipped with water sprayers to keep the cutting surface wet and keep the dust to a minimum. If you don’t have water equipped tools, then you just have to wear a mask and avoid the debris the best you can. For one time cutting, you can get away with not using the water equipped cutting saws, but if you do it every day or often, then you want to use one with water.
There are all sorts of cutting tools involved in concrete cutting. For walls, the serious contractor uses a track-mounted diamond wall say that cuts up to 18 inches deep. They also have smaller handled hydraulic tools for smaller jobs that don’t need to be as exact.
If you don’t own the right equipment and go to rent it out, you will probably get a dry cut saw that rents for about $75 a day plus a surcharge for how much ware you put on the blade. Be aware though, the blade use alone can cost over $200, so ask before you rent.
Other tools you will likely need to cut hardened concrete include jack hammers, hammer drills, diamond chained chain saws, cut off saws, eye protection gear, noise protection, level, and basic construction tools.
Okay, if you are reading this far, you probably have decided to do it yourself despite the cost and advice to hire a professional, so let’s cover how to do a cut in concrete. There are different methods for different types of cutting jobs, but here we will cover a common door cut out. Again you may want to hire a pro for this work because they will have the type of equipment to do the job safely and efficiently. Even a pro will take several hours to cut out a door hole.
If you have a big enough saw blade and the wall is thin enough to cut all the way through the wall without extreme effort, then you are lucky. Chances are you won’t have a deep enough blade cut on your saw to cut all the way through.
A circular saw with a 15 inch blade can only cut about 5 inches deep though concrete. So a lot of times, you end up having to settle for making a score on both sides of the concrete wall with the saw and using a jack hammer, sledge hammer or hammer drill to knock the rest of the way though the wall.
If you don’t know what you are doing, hire someone. It is not worth losing a hand, foot, eye or anything else for. These types of saws are extremely loud, so be sure to wear earmuffs as well as eye gear, gloves and coveralls. Good luck on your concrete cutting job and be safe always.