You can be forgiven for having mixed feelings about concrete. Yes, it is an extremely valuable material when it comes to creating tough and durable surfaces, but it can also be tricky to maintain. It is weather resistant and long lasting, but not impenetrable – eventually, daily wear and tear does grind concrete surfaces down and cracks start to appear.
And when the time comes for repairs and renovations, you had better expect the heavy tools to make an appearance. In fact, if concrete develops more than just the tiniest of fissures, it needs to be cut in order to make successful repairs or replacements.
The good news is that there are plenty of tools out there which can help get the job done. With a top quality concrete cutting saw, fixing aberrations and cracks in concrete is easier than ever. The question is, how you find a great concrete cutting saw? What features should you keep an eye out for and how will they benefit home renovations and repairs?
This guide to the top five tips for choosing a concrete cutting saw will help you get to grips with the basics and make sure that concrete driveways, paths, and walls are always flawless.
1. Always Opt for Diamond
You know what they say about girls and diamonds; well, they are pretty popular with DIY enthusiasts too. Whilst it is possible to pick up blades made out of corundum (and these do have a cheaper shelf price), they almost always turn out to be costlier on a per cut basis. The best option is to rent a diamond blade, because most lenders will only charge you for the precise amount which has been used.
Diamonds are the number one choice for concrete cutting for a reason – they are an unparalleled choice when it comes to efficiency and precision, therefore you should always prefer them to anything else. And when you factor in that there’s even an economical incentive to go with them, there’s really just no reason to even consider the corundum blades.
2. Take Torque into Account
It is also important to think about how much torque your concrete cutting saw will need. This will depend on the type of tasks that you are planning to carry out (type of concrete, thickness, intended use, etc.) and how often you are likely to be using it.
For instance, if you only need a little lightweight cutting every now and again, the machine does not need to be supremely powerful. However, if you are cutting through thick wedges of concrete, you might need something with quite a high level of torque.
This decision can have a big impact on your overall concrete cutting costs, therefore it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional who will be able to provide an accurate estimate of what kind of torque will be adequate for your project.
3. Laser Guided Cutting
There are lots of modern concrete cutting saws on the market which come with integrated laser guidance systems, as standard. Whilst this is not an essential feature, it can come in very handy for anybody planning to make lots of linear cuts in concrete. It saves a lot of time and fuss, ensures that cuts are always flawless, and it increases the safety of the cutting machine too.
Utilizing this type of technology is just another way to ensure that a difficult and sometimes even dangerous process of concrete cutting is executed as flawlessly as possible. Any mistakes that might occur in the process can greatly increase your overall price tag, so if you have a chance, getting a technological edge that directly affects the process is always a great idea.
4. Wet Vs Dry Blades
There are two main types of concrete cutting blades available on the market; wet cutting blades and dry cutting blades. Generally speaking, wet cutting blades are superior to dry ones, because they use small amounts of water to eliminate dust as they are operated. However, they also come with a heftier price tag, so if you are not planning to use your concrete cutting saw for heavy duty repairs, dry cutting blades could be all the investment that you need.
Of course, when using a dry cutting blade, you are always creating a health hazard, so taking all the necessary steps to ensure a safe working environment becomes more important than ever. And if you have the option, it might simply be smarter to use web blades, as they are the generally accepted better choice and the price different is usually not worth the added disadvantages of using a dry blade.
5. Keeping Diamond Blades Soft
It is common for diamond blades to stop cutting efficiently if the material being manipulated is too soft. So, if you buy or rent a diamond cutting blade, you might need to give the mineral some time to adjust and break free from its metal composite shell. The best way to help the process along is to make some cuts in an extremely hard material – do this and you should see shiny new diamond surfaces spring to life.
Of course, if you hire professionals to do the job for you, they will be more than equipped to handle the entire process without you having to worry about it.
Concrete cutting can be quite a challenge – the heavy duty machinery and precision required can make it quite a pricey and difficult project. Luckily, today’s advances in concrete cutting technology have allowed for the process to become much more efficient, safer and affordable even for simpler home renovation projects.
The most important aspects to remember whenever taking on a concrete cutting saw for a home renovation are opting for diamond blades over the seemingly cheaper alternatives, factoring in your personal requirements for torque, utilizing newer technology such as laser guide cutting to ensure precision, using wet blades whenever possible, and making sure the diamond blades are kept soft and ready to cut through with the necessary precision.
In the end, it’s always a good idea to simply consult a professional when considering taking on such a project as concrete cutting – it will not only allow you to properly choose the equipment and find out all the necessary information about your specific project, but can also allow you to get great deals on renting equipment and even use the expertise of on-site specialists to ensure the quality of work.
This article is written and submitted by Matthew Funnell, who works with Supercut (WA) Pty Ltd, a privately owned concrete cutting and core drilling company serving Western Australia for 20 years.