In the massive world of building and construction, concrete reigns supreme. Strong, able to hold large amounts of weight over time, and, with the proper saw cuts, unable to crack under pressure. This is what makes concrete a valuable asset for any construction or renovation project.
However, because making saw cuts in this concrete is the best way to ensure its durability, it’s just as crucial that you know when, where, and how to make these highly important cuts in order to have the best concrete foundations possible for your project. In this ultimate guide, we will go over all of this and more to help you finally be confident in your concrete work and sure that no internal cracking will occur over time.
When Should You Make Saw Cuts in Concrete?
The best way to remember when to make saw cuts in concrete is to understand why these saw cuts are essential to begin with. These saw cuts provide control to avoid cracking due to shrinkage during the concrete hardening and drying process.
As such, the concrete should be cut in predetermined locations after it has obtained a certain level of strength but before internal cracking can ever begin. Use your slab thickness and joint spacing knowledge to ensure that this is done right.
If you begin too early, you will surely cause raveling which is harmful to diamond slab concrete saw blades and can cause unnecessary wear on them over time. Raveling essentially is when the saw blade pulls the aggregate out of position and leaves a messy and weakened edge in its place.
Similarly, if you do the process too late, you will end up with even more internal cracking that could significantly damage your project and force you to start all over again. You won’t want to start this process over again if you don’t have to.
In cold weather, such as the weather in Boise right now, you would not want to start this process until at least 12 hours have passed. However, in warmer weather and hot weather, the saw cutting process can begin in 4 hours or less.
Where is the Best Place to Make These Cuts?
When making saw cuts in concrete, you are creating joints to ease the likelihood of the concrete cracking as it shrinks. For high shrinkage concrete, make far tighter cuts. However, you should create the average saw cut in square patterns on or at the center of column lines.
It is recommended that you have a structural engineer help you during this process if you can but the joints should be roughly spaced 24 to 36 times the slab thickness which equates normally to 10 to 18 feet apart.
One great tip for this is to start outwards during hot weather in a square pattern creating inwards joints to avoid cracks in larger areas. When it comes to cold weather, this doesn’t particularly matter.
How do You Correctly Make Concrete Saw Cuts?
There are several things to take into account when making concrete saw cuts properly. The first thing is where the cuts will be. Once you have determined this, you will want to mark these cuts on the concrete so as to avoid mistakes during the cutting process.
The next thing you will want to take into account is how deep your saw cuts will be. A good rule of thumb to live by is to cut the joints one quarter to one third the slab thickness. The main reason why this matters is that too deep of cuts won’t be sufficient to transfer loads and too shallow of cuts may lead to internal cracking nonetheless.
You can either use a wet or dry saw cutting method. Let the water run down the entire blade before the cuts are made if you are using wet equipment.
Once your blade is at the right deepness level, slowly walk the concrete through the saw to cut the joint completely. Be sure not to twist the blade or let it spin in the cut as that will just wear on the bond of your blade over time. Also, for concrete with rebar or metal within it, use a soft metal segment bond blade. Anything other than that is likely okay with a medium bond blade.
Now You Should be all set for Your Next Concrete Project!
Now that you know the ins and outs of concrete saw cuts, all that’s left is to take this knowledge out on the field and put it to good use. If you have any questions along the way or simply want to know what kinds of diamond blades are best for your concrete projects, don’t hesitate to contact us at Sawcutting Specialties today! We will gladly help you with any and all of your concrete saw cutting needs!