The construction industry does not always progress by means of an additive process alone. In other words, sometimes existing structures have to be modified or removed in order for construction to progress. In a surprising number of instances, such modification involves altering the size and shape of concrete surfaces using what is known as a cut-off saw.
Despite its relative prevalence, however, many people fail to grasp even the most basic aspects of concrete cutting. If you would like to improve your knowledge of this indispensable aspect of modern construction, keep reading. This article will expand your knowledge of concrete cutting by discussing the important tool known as the cut-off saw.
There are a variety of different saw types used to cut concrete. Many of these saws fall into the category of so-called walk-behind saws. As their name would imply, these wheeled saws are pushed from behind by an operator, while the blade makes cuts on the concrete surface below.
Walk-behinds are especially useful for adding joints to roads and other horizontal surfaces.
Walk-behind saws are naturally limited in their range of uses, however. For instance, sometimes it may be necessary to cut a hole in a vertical wall so that you can install a window, or utility lines can be fed through. In such cases, a handheld cut-off saw offers a much greater degree of precision and control.
Much like regular circular saws, a cut-off saw utilizes a round blade. But the blades used in a cut-off saw are composed of a much higher strength material, in order to withstand the extreme wear imposed on them by the concrete. Diamond plated steel and composite resin are two of the most common blade types.
Cut-off saws can be further complicated in terms of their power source. There are four principal varieties: hydraulic, gasoline, electric, and pneumatic. Naturally, each type of power source has its own particular advantages. When it comes to sheer power, hydraulic saws take the day, as hydraulic systems are able to generate the greatest degree of force.
The drawback of a hydraulic saw, however, is that all that power can make it much more difficult to wield accurately. Their use is, therefore, best reserved for both the very strong and the very experienced. Pneumatic saws, powered by an air compressor, possesses much greater ease of use.
Not only that, but also because air compressors serve a variety of other functions on a construction site, a pneumatic cut-off saw means less gear overall. This gives it both a practical and an economic advantage over other saws. Yet, like hydraulic saws, they are still tethered to their power source by heavy-duty piping.
This piping can easily get underfoot, where it poses a potential risk, should the saw operator lose their balance. Thus it is necessary to constantly be doing cord management when using a hydraulic or pneumatic saw. For this reason, those who value portability often turn to gas-powered saws, which offer the greatest degree of movement of all four types.
While electric saws are admittedly the least powerful, you shouldn't overlook them. For one thing, they are the most lightweight of all four types, making them the easiest to wield for long periods of time. They are also the quietest variety of saw. This advantage simply cannot be overstated, especially when working in reverberant or close-walled construction sites.
After all is said and done, the single most important thing when it comes to completing a concrete cutting job safely and accurately is experience. This is a quality that can only be earned through study, practice, and time. For more information about what it takes to cut concrete the right way, feel free to contact the industry experts at Capital Concrete Cutting.