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What is Concrete Cutting?

by Guest on May 14, 2012

Concrete cutting is a process of controlled sawing, drilling, and removal of concrete performed by skilled operators using special saws that use diamond impregnated blades. Unlike the old-fashioned dusty "jackhammer" method, modern concrete cutting leaves a smooth attractive finish and utilizes water so as not to create any dust or mess. There are many different kinds of concrete cutting but the most common are wall sawing, core drilling, and slab or flat sawing.

Wall Sawing is the process of cutting openings such as doors or windows in concrete walls, usually no more than 12" thick but in some cases up to 24" thick. This is accomplished by using a saw that attaches to a track on the wall to be cut. This process utilizes an enormous 30" or even larger diameter diamond blade that can cut 12" or more of concrete all of the way through from one side. This aspect of our business requires the most skill and cannot easily be done by your average "do it yourselfer."

As stated, wall sawing may entail cutting openings in concrete foundations but may also include lowering a foundation elevation, entire foundation removal, and also the cutting of concrete retaining walls in part or as a whole. This type of concrete cutting requires skill and experience to cut perfectly smooth plumb and level openings with virtually no dust or mess, so it is a rather expensive service. Most concrete cutting companies charge a minimum of $425 just to take their equipment to a site and cut. Homeowners that build additions to their homes that have basements or cellars commonly find they need to cut into their existing concrete foundation to add an entry or passage between the new and existing basements.

It is much easier and in most cases less expensive to have this service performed during the construction process and not after. Core Drilling is the process of drilling perfectly round holes through concrete walls and floors. The diameters of the holes range from 1" to 12" round but average 5" for most homeowner applications. In commercial applications, core holes can range anywhere up to 60" round and more. Core holes are used for "utility penetrations" such as electrical, plumbing, and heating but are also commonly used for venting furnaces or clothes dryers. Although not recommended, core drilling can be performed by an advanced "do it yourselfer" and the equipment necessary to perform core drilling is readily available at your local tool rental and supply store.

Most companies have a minimum charge of $250 to core a hole for you and it can take a professional as little as 10 minutes to unload his equipment, core the hole, and reload his equipment. Yet, I have seen homeowners rent the equipment and spend an entire weekend trying to core a single hole and then call a professional to complete the project. Just like with any trade, a professional concrete cutter will make his job look easy. Slab sawing, also known as flat sawing, is used to cut horizontal flat concrete surfaces such as floors, bridge decks, and pavement.

Slab saws feature a diamond blade that is mounted on a walk-behind machine that requires only one operator. They can cut up to 33 inches in depth but generally, only 6" or less is necessary for most homeowner applications. Slab sawing is the perfect solution for making penetrations or openings in concrete floors to access and repair a broken water pipe or sewer line. When a basement or cellar is being remodeled to add a bathroom the concrete is removed to add new plumbing for the fixtures. A slab saw is also useful in demolition work to break up and remove a cracked or unwanted patio, driveway, or walkway. Sometimes a homeowner might want just part of a patio or other concrete slab cut to alter their landscaping. Attempting a slab saw project can be very time consuming for your average "do it yourselfer" however it can be accomplished. I always recommend spending a few extra bucks and saving yourself some very serious danger and aggravation by contracting a concrete cutting professional. No matter what your project is, don't let a little concrete stand in your way.

Concrete can be a homeowner's worst obstacle if he or she doesn't know that there are companies out there that specialize in removing it very quickly and neatly. To find a reputable concrete cutter I recommend that you start with the yellow pages and always check them out with your local Better Business Bureau or your local Department of Consumer Protection. To get more acquainted with the industry just search "concrete cutting" and check out a few websites dedicated to the subject. 

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