Love it or hate it, concrete is pretty much everywhere in our world, from huge urban construction to slab foundations under rural homes. This means that no matter where you are working, you will likely run into preexisting concrete in some form, and eventually, you will have to deal with cutting into or through it. Most often, this is in the form of concrete slabs, either on the ground or as walls, but it may also include cinder blocks or other small pieces of concrete. It is essential to understand the different methods for cutting concrete that are available, especially before you are faced with it on the job and on a deadline.
Wall sawing is the specialized process of cutting holes through concrete wall slabs. This is most often done to accommodate windows, doorways, or equipment (such as HVAC). The tools and skills needed for wall sawing are incredibly specialized, so this is a job best left to professionals.
Flat sawing is often also called road sawing since roadways are a common place where this type of concrete cutting is used. The process involves cutting down into or through a concrete slab that is laying along the ground, and it is an alternative to jackhammering an old slab and replacing it with new. The danger with this process comes from the unknown – you have no idea what is in or under the slab. There could be hidden rebar that could damage equipment, conduits for community utilities like water or electricity, or other dangers that could injure your workers. Concrete cutting professionals will use ground penetrating radar to detect what is in the slab so that the process is as safe as possible.
Chainsaws may work in some concrete cutting situations. It is important to remember that this is not your average chainsaw. Chainsaws for cutting concrete have special diamond blades and particular usage scenarios based on the environment.
Handheld electric saws can also be used to cut or shave smaller pieces of concrete like cinder blocks. In most cases, this type of saw can only reach a depth of about six inches, which makes them ideal for making small cuts or shaving off small areas. This is not the tool for making deep or large cuts to thick slabs.
Wire sawing is also called wire cutting, and it is the process of using wires to make deep cuts and break apart larger pieces of concrete. Wire sawing allows you to make much deeper cuts than hand sawing so that you can break down and handle larger pieces of concrete. Wire sawing is done with specialized, diamond-edged wires and lots of water.
Concrete Visions Will Get The Job Done Right
Concrete Visions has been working with clients for over 25 years. Our G&M Services installers are certified with the industry’s major firestop product manufacturers. As part of our firestop service, we can assess abnormal field conditions and, with the manufacturer’s technical support assistance, provide engineering judgments in a timely fashion to comply with contract specifications. Our Field Mechanics undergo ongoing training, including mandatory monthly safety meetings, weekly Toolbox Talks where safety and equipment information is shred, and trainings on safe work standards and safety best practices.