How to Properly Use a Concrete Saw

Using the right technique with a concrete saw is critical no matter if you’re cutting concrete slabs, blocks or floors. How to use a concrete saw is a fundamental skill in a range of fields. Combining that know-how with the right tools will ensure that the job is done correctly—and safely.

Here are our leading concrete saw use tips to help you on any job.

Tools for the job

Before you get started, you’ll want to make sure you have all the following on hand:

  • Drop cloths
  • Chalk line
  • Wet/dry vacuum
  • Diamond masonry blade
  • Ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) extension cord if needed
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Mason chisel
  • Pry bar

Prepare the workspace

Once you have the gear you need, then it’s time to look at where you’ll be working. If there are any furniture, rugs or other items that could get in the way, move those elsewhere. If you’re cutting a concrete slab in a basement, you’ll want to drape protective plastic in the doorways to keep the debris contained. Switch off and cover the HVAC system to avoid spreading dust throughout the home.

For those working outdoors, dust is less of a concern; still, you’ll want to cover any items that could suffer damage. Trim back trees or bushes that might be in the way to keep the workspace clear.

Protect yourself

A concrete saw can expose you to dangerous airborne particles and flying debris, so you’ll want to put on protective gear to shield your face, eyes and ears before you get started. You’ll also want to dress in the right clothes for the job. Make sure you have all the following:

  • Ear protection
  • Face shield
  • Steel-toed boots
  • Work gloves
  • Knee pads
  • Dust mask
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Pants
  • Shin protectors

Find the right time and the best saw

You don’t want to be cutting wet or fully-cured concrete if it’s possible to avoid it. Instead, cut concrete when it’s hard and half-cured to avoid fracturing. This will also mean you’ll have a smoother cut with less dust.

Your saw should also be fit for the job. Whether you use a wet or dry saw depends on your preference. Handheld saws are best for concrete cutting, while wet saws generate a mess of slurry but do result in less dust.

For a larger job, you may want to consider a walk-behind saw, which will make straight, deep cuts. Other possibilities include cut-off saws, air concrete saws, street saws and air walk-behind saws. These each offer different benefits and drawbacks. Speak with an expert before beginning work to find the best saw and the right blade for a particular job.

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