Here's an extensive article on concrete saws which explains the main types of concrete saws as well as some key tips when cutting concrete.
A concrete saw is a power tool that is used for cutting concrete, tiles, asphalt, and other solid materials. It is also known as consaw or road saw. The blades of a concrete saw are diamond tipped that owes to its easy cutting through hard materials. Concrete saws are more powerful than conventional saws.
Concrete saws are an everyday essential for the construction industry. It is used for cutting concrete and other masonry in a precise and safe manner. It is used for building work and remodeling quite often. Numerous types of concrete saws are available for different purposes and types of sawing techniques.
Methods if Sawing Concrete
There are two different methods of sawing, which are:
- Dry Sawing
- Wet Sawing
This technique of sawing is best suited for outdoor projects as it produces a lot of dust on the sawing site. The blade of the saw can be kept cool in the absence of water if it is made up of diamond. A diamond blade can contribute in reducing the dust build-up. In order to prevent the blade from heating, this technique involves making brisk cuts that are quite small that are gradually made deeper.
Wet sawing is an environmental friendly sawing technique that is also kinder to people’s health. Due to the presence of moisture, less dust is produced. The water in wet sawing technique keeps the blade lubricated and cool. Because of this, the lifespan of the blade is greatly increased.
Types of Concrete Saws
Based On How They Are Handled
There are two types of concrete saws, based on the way they are handled.
1. Small, Handheld Concrete Saw
As the name suggests, these concrete saws are small in size, held by the hand, and are extremely lightweight. They are easy to move around and carry. They have low horsepower and are slow in cutting.
2. Bigger, Walk-Behind Concrete Saw
The second type of concrete saw is the bigger, walk-behind concrete saw. It differs from other saws based on the way it is handled. Walk-behind concrete saws are heavier and larger. They are not as easy to move as small, handheld concrete saws. They are held from behind while operating. They have high horsepower and are super fats in cutting concrete.
Based On How They Are Powered
Based on how a concrete saw is powered, there are three types of concrete saws.
1. Gas-Powered Concrete Saw
A gas-powered concrete saw is suitable for outdoor jobs as it produces a lot of dust and exhaust. It does not need an electrical source. Hence, it can be used anywhere, even if there is no electricity or electric outlet available.
Gas-powered concrete saws are easier to use. Most contractors are familiar with the gas-powered type which adds to the ease and comfort of use.
They are more powerful than electric concrete saws. They can tolerate rough handling and are made to last a very long time. Since no electricity is involved, it can be used in the dry sawing technique. These saws come with a dust containment system. Therefore, using them for dry sawing technique is also suitable.
Gas-powered concrete saws require regular maintenance. They are not recommended to be used in areas without proper ventilation as they produce considerable fumes. They are very noisy. These saws do not start up immediately. Thus, they are suitable where the saw is to be turned on and off frequently. Most importantly, gas-powered concrete saws are heavy which makes them more cumbersome to handle.
2. Electric-Powered Concrete Saw
Electric-powered concrete saws are best suited for indoor projects as they do not produce a lot of dust or fumes and are less noisy. They cannot be used in construction fields, as these areas do not have any electricity till later stages of development.
Since they do not have a fuel chamber, they are lighter in weight as compared to gas-powered concrete saws. Storage of this type of concrete saw is easier as it poses no fire hazard.
They are easy to start and hence, they are faster and simpler in use. They are easier to maintain too, as compared to gas-powered concrete saws. Since they do not produce harmful exhaust fumes, they are environment-friendly. They may be corded or cordless. A cordless concrete saw runs on battery. it can be connected to an electric source when the battery dies out.
3. Battery-Powered Concrete Saw
Battery-powered concrete saws are a type of electric-powered saws without a cord. As mentioned earlier, they do come with an option to be connected to an electric source if the battery runs out before the job is completed.
Battery-powered concrete saws are very convenient. If the battery is fully charged and you have another charged battery in spare, you can use them in any given condition, no matter how harsh it is.
As there are no cords, the hazard of tripping over a wire and getting hurt is out of the question. This makes working less dangerous and more comfortable.
Based On the Nature of Job
Concrete saws can be categorized according to their application. Detailed explanations for these types of concrete saws are given below:
1. Chainsaw and Ring Saw
Specialized chainsaws are used for concrete cutting. They are small and handheld. They are suitable for small projects. Their compact design, easy handling, and their ability to be used in hard to reach areas make them popular. They are ideal for cutting walls, bricks, concrete pipes, and floors. There are different types of chain and ring saws that are available, depending upon the job that they have to be used for. They are used where overcuts have to be avoided. The round blade of ring saws makes them accessible to areas where usual road saws cannot reach.
2. Floor Saw
These types of saws are used to cut through flat surfaces like floors, slabs, and roads. Floor saws are most commonly used for roads and pavements along with work for joints, trenching, and demolition.
3. Wall Saw
Wall saws are also called track saws. These saws are used on vertical surfaces, usually used for making openings in walls. They are used to create windows, ventilation ducts, and doors. These saws are secured onto the target with the help of a track-mounted system. They cut accurately, precisely, and cleanly.
4. Wire Saw
With wire saws, no job is too big and no structure is too large. They are used to cut openings into structures made of reinforced concrete. They are extremely useful for jobs where awkward sizes and shape are to be cut.
They are made of cables that are diamond-laced that are pulled through the material that is to be cut. With this technique of concrete cutting, there is a great reduction in wastage. This is a flexible technique. It does not cause significant vibration which ensures that no cracks are opened around the area that is being cut.
Concrete saw features to consider
When you are purchasing a concrete saw, there are certain considerations you should be mindful of.
- You should consider the amount of torque that you will need for handling nature of jobs for which you are purchasing a concrete saw. If you have to use the concrete saw for some light cutting, such as cutting through drywall, you will not need a concrete saw with very high power requirements. However, if you want to cut through larger pieces and more layers of concrete, a concrete saw with more torque will be suitable.
- If your job involves linear cutting in concrete, a concrete saw with a built-in laser guide is what you should get. It will ensure a straight and an even cut.
- If you are opting for a battery-powered concrete saw, consider the battery life.
- If you are purchasing a plug-in electric concrete saw, the length of the cord should be given considerable attention.
Types of Concrete Saw Blades
The types of blades used for concrete saws depend upon the job it is being used for. There are two types of blades that are usually used.
1. Corundum Masonry Blade
Corundum masonry blades are only used when short and shallow cutting is required. Concrete is a tough material to cut and that is why masonry blades do not last long. They wear off or break rather quickly.
2. Diamond Blades
Diamond blades can be used for both wet and dry sawing. Diamond blades have a metal and diamond composite on its edges. They cut the concrete with greater efficiency. They are used to cut deeper and longer. They have serrated edges that keep the blade cool during operation when used for dry cutting. However, they produce a lot of dust.
When using diamond blades for wet cutting, the blade has smooth edges. They are kept cool with the help of water. They provide the fastest, cleanest cuts.
Concrete Sawing Tips
Concrete saws can cut through the concrete which means that they can cut through bones and flesh as well. If mishandled, concrete saws can result in serious injuries.
- Before and during use, check the fluid levels in your saw. If you are using a gas-powered concrete saw, mix the fuel with the oil that the manufacturer has recommended.
- Before and during use, ensure that the guide bar and chain are lubricated properly.
- Before and during use, check the tension in chainsaw type of concrete saw. Make sure that the chain is not too tight or too loose. Adjust the tension according to the recommendations of the manufacturer whenever needed.
- Depending upon the type of target surface, choose the correct blade.
- Make sure that the blades that you are using are not damaged.
- Make sure that you operate a concrete saw in the presence of a guard.
- Before starting the concrete saw, hold it firmly on a leveled surface.
- While operating, hold the concrete saw firmly.
- Let the concrete saw do the work for you. Do not exert any unnecessary pressure while operating it.
- When you are using the wet sawing method, make sure that you are using the right amount of water to prevent any liquid slurry from forming.
- If there are any onlookers on the site, keep them at a safe distance from the concrete saw.
- If you are using an electric concrete saw, connect it to grounded outlets only.
Concrete saws are extremely important in the construction industry. Concrete cutting is something that is an inevitable part of any construction. Hence, understanding concrete saws thoroughly is vital for ensuring correct and safe usage.