4 Tips for Concrete Cutting and Breaking
You may have to undertake some concrete cutting at some point in your home improvement projects. Repairs on a concrete floor, driveway or patio sometimes become necessary due to damages. Underground utilities may also develop faults which demands that you break through the concrete. Be prepared for some tough work. Concrete is one of the most difficult materials to work with due to its hardened nature. Special tools are needed to get the job done right. You also need to be patient due to the slow pace of work involved. Below are 4 tips to help you cut and break through concrete.
Use the Right Tools
The right tools will help you work more effectively and safely. If the concrete isn’t reinforced and the width is less than 4 inches, a sledge hammer will suffice. However, for thicker concrete surfaces, power equipment is necessary. An electric breaker, hammer drill or pneumatic jack hammer are some of the appropriate tools if you have to cut through heavy concrete.
Begin with a Surface Cut
It helps if you first mark the location where you intend to cut. Use a chalk to demarcate the hole to be cut out. Cut along the line as deeply as you can with a circular saw or demolition saw. This will leave you with a much neater edge once you’ve broken through the concrete. A surface cut also helps to break the compactness of the concrete, which makes it easier to break through.
To Cut Through
Work with the tip of your tool from within the marked zone and chip the concrete along the saw line. It helps if you allow the tool tip to lean away from the section of concrete that is to remain. This helps to ensure that as the edges of the demarcated area crack, the other side remains intact along the edges. Work steadily until you penetrate the concrete all along the saw cut. You can then begin to chip at the concrete close to the cracked line from within the cut hole so that small portions break loose. It is best to work from one corner. Once you’ve extracted a chunk of broken concrete, it becomes easier to break through and remove the rest from the demarcated zone. Work systematically until you’ve broken through the entire demarcated area.
When you work with hardened concrete, be sure to protect yourself from the material. Chunks of concrete may fall onto your feet and harm you. Wear steel toe boots for maximum protection to your feet. Heavy duty gloves help to protect your fingers from any accidental hard impact by concrete or injuries from the tools. Safety goggles help to protect your eyes from dust and flying chips of concrete, which can cause serious injuries. The job also involves a high volume of noise. Use plugs or headsets to protect your inner ears from injuries. A dust mask or respirator is also a good idea. A lot of dust is generated when concrete disintegrates. If you inhale the dust it can cause serious problems in your respiratory tract.