The Work Of Concrete Contractors

The Work Of Concrete Contractors

Concrete Cutting 101: What Novices Should Understand

Jeffery Hayes

If you've been in the planning stages of a significant construction project that includes poured concrete as part of the structure, concrete cutting may be a part of your plan. Whether you're cutting joints for structural stability and fit or you're going to need cutouts for plumbing and other infrastructure, it's important that you give as much attention to the concrete cutting stages as you do the rest of the construction. Even if most of your project is DIY, it's typically best to leave concrete cutting to a professional. Here's a look at what you need to know about concrete cutting projects.

You Need To Adjust For Weather Conditions

When cutting concrete, the actual cuts must be done when the concrete is set enough to be structurally stable but not set so much that cutting it will cause cracking. This requires some precise timing sometimes, especially given the fact that full concrete set times fluctuate with the temperature. Generally, the warmer it is, the faster concrete will set. However, you also need to account for humidity, rain, and other weather issues.

If you cut the concrete too early, it will cause the aggregate to dislodge and the concrete to slide. This interferes with the cutting process and weakens the structural integrity of the concrete. If you cut the concrete too late, it may have set so much that the cutting blade's force and vibration actually cause cracks throughout the concrete structure.

When you work with a concrete cutting contractor instead of trying to do it yourself, you get the benefit of their professional experience. They know how to assess the concrete's condition and what allowances to provide for weather issues.

You Need To Account For Shrinkage

Since concrete cutting happens before the concrete mixture is fully set, another issue that many novices encounter is a final measurement that's off because the concrete shrunk more once it was fully cured. Shrinkage is normal in the concrete curing process, but the amount of shrinkage you'll experience varies based on the specific concrete mixture, how quickly it cures, and more.

Even if you measure your joint precisely and mark your cuts carefully, you may still fall victim to a joint that's not properly square or doesn't fit correctly because the concrete shrunk as it cured. That's another great reason for your concrete cutting job to be done by a professional.

Most concrete cutting contractors have experience with all sorts of different concrete mixtures, environments, and issues. They have a solid idea of how much each type of concrete mixture will shrink, even given the allowances for weather fluctuations. With that knowledge, you're far more likely to get joints that are cut to the dimensions you actually need. This saves time, money, and a lot of frustration for you.

You Need To Take Safety Precautions

Concrete cutting is not without its safety risks. You need to account for everything from cutting blade safety to protection from dust inhalation. Unfortunately, many novices don't get these steps right because they lack the professional training to understand exactly what the safety hazards are and how to mitigate them.

When you're cutting concrete, the heat generated by the friction of the blade in the concrete can be dangerous. You risk thermal cracking of the blade, which can make that blade a projectile. That's why many concrete cutting professionals opt for wet cutting instead of dry cutting. With wet cutting, you have water or a cooling solution that's consistently applied to the blade and cutting area as you work to keep friction at bay.

Dust inhalation is another serious concern. The components in concrete can be hazardous to your health if you inhale them. You'll need to have a proper respirator mask before you start a concrete cutting project. In addition, you'll need other safety gear, including goggles, gloves, and more. 

Investing in the safety gear as well as the necessary equipment can be costly. It's typically safer and more affordable if you work with a concrete cutting contractor to do the work instead of trying to tackle it yourself.


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The Work Of Concrete Contractors

Hello, my name is Dean Lansing and you have arrived at my blog about concrete contractors. When I wanted to build a garage, I contacted a concrete contractor to pour the foundation. While the contractor was at my house, I watched in amazement as he and his crew did their job. I had no idea what it took to pour a foundation and they did excellent work. I didn't want to be a bother, but I asked the contractor many questions about the process and he eagerly told me everything I wanted to know. If you're interested in learning about the job of a concrete contractor, you should definitely read this blog to learn the answers. I believe that you'll find this type of job just as interesting as I do.