What is Concrete Cutting?

January 2014

Concrete cutting is a process of controlled sawing, drilling and removing concrete. Skilled operators use special saws to cut concrete and asphalt with precision, accuracy and very few mistakes. In the past, concrete cutting companies would use jack hammers to break up the concrete, but that method left everything dusty and messy. Modern concrete cutting techniques involve the use of specialized machinery to leave a smooth, attractive finish of concrete, asphalt, metal and rock.

To accommodate the various material types and strengths, concrete cutters will often be found using different specs of diamond blades. The proper diamond saw blade cuts more quickly and need less water to create a sleek finish. Modern concrete saws also have local vacuum systems which capture most of the dust. A high-standard commercial concrete cutting company should be using these modern concrete coring strategies and tools. If you hire a concrete cutting company to do a project for you, be sure they are using modernized techniques. Otherwise, their services won’t be high-quality, accurate or worth your money.

Concrete Cutting Methods: How Many Are There and What Are They?

Although some methods of cutting concrete are more common than others, there are actually various ways of core cutting in concrete. Here are the five most common methods:

  •          Diamond sawing. Diamond saws are faster, more precise and require fewer operators. They can also cut rebar and other metals, and they are quieter and create less vibration than other saws. However, diamond cutting systems are usually used solely by contractors.
  •          Concrete wall sawing. Cutting concrete walls is a process only circular blades on a track-mounted machine can handle. The track makes it possible for the saw to climb walls or cut ceilings. This method is used to cut walls between 16 and 36 inches thick.
  •          Flat sawing. Floors, bridge decks and pavements require the flat sawing method, also known as slab sawing. The saws used for flat sawing are placed on a cart that the operator pushes from behind. This particular method is used to get to broken pipes or wiring beneath a concrete floor. It’s also used to fix a highway road or cut plumbing trenches.
  •          Core drilling. Core cutting in concrete is a method used for creating openings for pipes, wires, ventilating or air conditioning vents to fit through. Core drilling is basically another way of saying the cutter is making precise, circular holes. A concrete coring company will use core drills—steel tubes with diamond-tipped bits—to get the job done.  It’s smart to hire core cutting services to perform core drilling because, although it may seem easy, it’s a method that requires lots of skill and precision.
  •         Wire sawing. Commercial concrete cutters resort to wire sawing when no other methods work or are impractical. This method is usually used for much larger concrete cutting jobs. Made from a cable with tiny diamond segments put through pulleys attached to a hydraulic-powered drive, wire saws are complex machinery that should only be handled by professionals.

What Tools Are Used for Concrete Cutting?

In addition to wire saws, wall saws and flat saws, concrete cutters use many other types of tools. Many concrete cutting services employ the following machines to make sure the job they do is thorough, precise and accurate:  

Concrete Cutting Machines

  •          Concrete cutting machines are hand-held saws with abrasive wheels or diamond blades.
  •          They are powered by a two-stroke gas engine, a hydraulic power unit, an air compressor or an electric motor.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Type of Concrete Cutting Machine

  •          Electric saws are lightweight, less noisy, simpler to use and better for enclosed environments.
  •          Hydraulic saws have the highest power-to weight ratio and are more convenient. However, they are more expensive and   less forgiving than pneumatic saws.
  •          Pneumatic saws are convenient because of the air compressor. Plus, operation is simple and has fewer potential hazards.
  •          Gas-powered saws are most popular due to their portability and familiarity, but they do require more maintenance.

What’s the Basic Concrete Cutting Process?

It’s important to have a basic understanding of concrete cutting in order to know if the job is being done right. Although the method of execution is going to differ based on the job, here are the basic steps of cutting concrete:

  1.        Lay out the area of concrete to be cut.
  2.        Use a hand saw to cut up to 4 inches deep.
  3.        Use an industrial grade machine when working with concrete deeper than 4 inches.

In addition to following these steps, concrete cutters must also keep the following tips in mind:

  •          Cut concrete to the correct depth
  •          Proceed slowly, maintaining minimum RPMs of the cut-off saw
  •          Keep chalk line free of dust made by the saw cut
  •          Have knowledge of how the material behaves and how strong it is

Where in the U.S. is Concrete Cutting Prevalent?

The need for concrete cutting can be found anywhere. When it comes to having concrete cut, Utah is an especially great example due to the number of concrete cutting projects done there. However, certain places may have more proof of employed concrete cutting services than others. Here are some examples:

  • Concrete Cutting Texas. Concrete cutting companies take on projects ranging from fixing highways to setting up residential areas. Many residential areas in Texas have needed the expertise and tools of concrete cutting companies.
  • Concrete Cutting Arizona. Due to the extreme dry heat, Arizona’s roads are always in need of repairing due to cracked and crumbled surfaces.
  • Concrete Cutting Utah. Utah was home to the I-15 Core Project in which the highway was cut, drilled and sealed to construct a roadway that was smoother and a better fit for heavy traffic.
  • Concrete Cutting Idaho. In Idaho, the 230-foot, 97-year-old Amalgamated Sugar Plant was demolished safely through various concrete sawing methods.
  • Concrete Cutting Washington. Sometimes too much moisture can be just as much of a problem as not enough. Washington residents are grateful for concrete cutting services that eliminate the problems caused by erosion.
  • Concrete Cutting New Mexico. A concrete cutting company performed all the sawing and sealing of green concrete on the runways at the up-and-coming site of Spaceport America.
  • Concrete Cutting Wyoming. Whether it was replacing bridges or repairing residential roads, concrete cutting companies in Wyoming have fixed concrete in many locations.
  • Concrete Cutting Oregon. Residential areas in Oregon have received much attention from concrete cutting services in order to improve driveways, basements and more.
  • Concrete Cutting Nevada. Five years of quality, precise concrete cutting brought forth the 2,000-foot-long Hoover Dam Bypass in Nevada. It lies 900 feet above the Colorado River and connects the Arizona and Nevada Approach highways together.
  • Concrete Cutting Montana. Contracted to enlarge a concrete opening in a pump house above the Absarokee Mountain Range, concrete cutting specialists used the best tools to cut and remove an opening four feet thick and 10 feet below grade.

For Assistance with Any of Your Concrete Cutting Projects, Contact A-Core Today

No job is too small or large for A-Core. We can handle all your concrete cutting needs, whether they have to do with highways or homes. Our team of specialists has experience in concrete sawing, demolition of concrete, grooving and grinding concrete and concrete drilling. The level of expertise of each team member surpasses that of other concrete cutting companies’ employees due to the years of experience everyone on our team has. Contact us today for more information.