Concrete Cutting: 10 Common Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

Concrete is one of the more difficult construction materials to work with, requiring more patience, expertise, and precision than other materials. Due to the difficult nature of concrete cutting and drilling, it’s even more important to take extra time to avoid mistakes that can impact the safety of yourself and others as well as impact the quality of the project itself.

Whether you need to service concrete, removal concrete, or just need to perform some core drilling, this handy advice will keep you working safer and more effectively.

Why It’s Important To Avoid Mistakes

Safety

Like with any construction project, keeping yourself and others safe is incredibly important. You do not want to risk anyone’s health or life due to unsafe practices.

Schedule

Cutting or drilling concrete improperly can lead to a range of problems including the structural dynamics of the project. This can completely ruin a schedule if the concrete needs to be replaced, and cutting and drilling redone. 

This can have a domino effect on other aspects of your project that must wait on the concrete cutting and drilling to be finished before they can begin; such as installation of air conditioning.

It’s best to get the job done correctly the first time to ensure that your project can be finished on time.

Cost

Improper concrete cutting or drilling can not only damage your concrete cutting tools but can incur additional costs if you need to fix any mistakes made. Increased cost of labour being the most obvious.

Reputation

Completing your project to a high standard and delivered on time is crucial to maintaining a good reputation in the construction industry. Don’t ruin your reputation with poorly done concrete cutting or drilling, and potentially lose future projects. Take the time to avoid common mistakes.

How To Avoid These 10 Common Mistakes

1. Not Taking Your Safety Into Consideration

By not taking proper precautions for the safety of yourself and others you put everyone at great risk. Regardless of how much training or experience you have, you’re not invincible.

Recommended safety gear includes:

  • Respirator
  • Safety glasses
  • Hard hat
  • Steel capped boots
  • Hearing protection
  • High visibility clothing

It’s also a good idea to not wear loose-fitting clothing or jewellery that can get caught in the moving parts of a concrete cutter, diamond drill, or other machinery.

2. Assuming Every Concrete Is The Same

Keep in mind that no two types of concrete are the same. For example, different mixtures are used for a concrete foundation than for a concrete driveway.

You will need to use both different tools and cutting techniques for every type of concrete. A masonry drill bit is suited to work with softer concrete, while you might need a rotary hammer to break up dense concrete before you can begin cutting the concrete slab. 

It’s a good idea to adjust the pressure used when you cut through concrete dependent on the type of concrete. If you don’t adjust the pressure used, you can cause cracks to form.

3. Not Knowing What’s Under Your Concrete

This particular mistake poses a significant threat to safety. Before you begin to cut through concrete, you must know if there is anything behind, under, or inside the concrete. A concrete wall might hide plumbing, live electrical wires, or rebar. 

Rebar will require different concrete cutting tools such as a diamond blade concrete cutter or drill bit.

Check all blueprints before you begin your concrete cutting project. Concrete imaging and scanning can also help.

4. Not Starting With Just A Single Cut

This is a simple mistake to make. Starting with a single cut not only helps you cut more accurately by acting as a guide, but will also ease any surface tension held in the concrete slab.

5. Improper Dust Control

This becomes a bigger problem when your concrete cutting project takes place indoors.

Dust – particularly silica-laden dust – poses a serious health risk to anyone exposed to it. At worst it can cause chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and at best it will irritate your eyes and throat while you try to work. 

It is best to use wet cutting to reduce dust production and seal off any rooms where you need to cut through concrete. Always vacuum well once the job is done.

For more on controlling the amount of dust on your worksite, click here.

6. Wrong Choice of Tools

Whether you’re cutting concrete with an angle grinder or cutting concrete with a circular saw, you need to ask yourself “am I using the right tool for this job?”. 

Before you even begin to get to work cutting concrete slab or starting to drill you must identify the characteristics of your concrete.

It might seem obvious, but it needs to be repeated that the more dense a concrete, the stronger your concrete cutting tools should be.

If you use the wrong tools during construction then you risk damaging both your concrete cutting tools and the concrete itself. Don’t just barge in with a concrete cutting disc, take the time to carefully choose the right tool for the job ahead.

7. Using Blunt Blades

By using the wrong types of blades that aren’t sharp enough you place yourself at risk. Why? By using blunt blades on your concrete cutting saw you will have a harder time cutting concrete which means greater effort and a longer time being exposed to harmful dust.

It’s recommended that you invest in a concrete cutting diamond blade for your concrete cutting saw as this will stay sharper for much longer than an abrasive masonry blade.

8. Not Using Water Properly

It’s a good idea to use water properly when you cut through concrete. Wet cutting is actually one of the best ways to manage any amount of dust that is created when cutting or drilling concrete. 

Ideally, you want to pour just enough water to rinse away dust. Remember that you want wet concrete, not a flooded working area. If you do not see either a chalk line or drill bit as you work, it’s time to stop cutting or drilling and wash the area.

Remember that it’s a smart idea to adjust your water use as you’re drilling or cutting concrete slab.

9. Going Too Fast

Patience is key when you cut through concrete. One of the common mistakes people make when cutting concrete with an angle grinder is that they work too quickly. 

By going too fast, you run the risk of damaging the diamond blade of your concrete cutter or angle grinder. Instead, make a number of shallow passes as this will minimise the risk of damage to your concrete cutter tools.

If you do need to work faster, it’s a good idea to instead use a larger concrete cutter so that more pressure can be applied, allowing for faster cutting.

10. Improper Curing

Another of the common mistakes in a concrete cutting project is remembering to properly cure your concrete. 

Concrete takes only two days to set, but a staggering 28 days to properly cure.

Improper concrete curing can cause crumbling, cracking, and instability. Proper curing is also very important if you plan to paint the concrete at all.

Regardless of what your concrete cutting project is, from industrial to commercial and everything in between, the concrete cutting Perth experts at Diamond Cut can get the job done. Get in contact and experience rock-solid results today.

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