Do It Yourself? You'd Better Think it Through!

So! You want to do your own concrete cutting, huh?

My only piece of advice is: Sub it out. Professional concrete cutters make our lives so much simpler, and save us valuable time and money at the same time. Professional concrete cutters are set up to handle any size concrete sawing job, and even the small concrete cuts can cause big problems for an un-experienced worker. Concrete cutting isn't something you want to hand off to an apprentice with a rescue saw and a particle mask because you will scare him away forever.

Most people will agree that concrete cutting saws that use diamond blades will make short work of cured concrete and rebar, but few will argue that the best way to make a doorway, window or an opening in a concrete wall is to form it correctly while the wall is being poured. Unfortunately even experienced carpenters can make mistakes. The most common reasons for cutting a freshly poured foundation are to widen existing openings; cut for forgotten doorways, windows, add utility penetrations and to add forgotten beam pockets. Home renovations and additions have their own set of conditions, many times limiting access to the cuts. What's the best way to deal with this? Call a professional!

"I wish I could tell you how many times New Hampshire Concrete Cutting has had to "bail out" both contractors and homeowners who have started concrete cuts and cannot finish them," says Robert Short General Manager of New Hampshire Concrete Cutting located in Manchester, NH. "Everyone runs to Home Depot to rent the equipment and spends an enormous amount of time trying to perform concrete cutting just to waste time, money and make a giant mess and then they call us to finish up anyway.

When they finally break down and call us they'll either admit right away something like "I was a moron and I tried it myself" or they'll be too embarrassed and blame it on the neighbor or their brother-in-law." "We use the right equipment and our men are trained to do the job quickly and correctly." Bob's company uses track mounted diamond wall saws made by a manufacturer called Dimas USA, which can cut up to 27 inches deep when they are equipped with an enormous 60" diameter blade. Generally only a 30" blade is used to cut 12" deep from one side of a concrete foundation.

Titanium tracks mounted to the concrete wall are used to guide the large concrete cutting saw with the diamond blade along the wall for a perfectly plumb and smooth cut. The concrete saw glides along each track, cutting deeper on each of several passes until the diamond blade completely penetrates the wall. Water keeps the blades cool and helps control dust during the cutting process. Even with this state of the art setup it can still take two to four hours to cut and drop a residential doorway opening.

Remember, safety is a priority in the concrete cutting field. If you decide to do it yourself, just plan on getting hurt. Noise levels from the saws and hammers are extremely intense, dust containment is critical, eye protection is crucial, and tipping out and dropping a 2,500 pound doorway cutout can be quite the difficult task. If you do rent the equipment and try to do the concrete cutting yourself don't say we didn't warn you. Good Luck!

(c) 2006 New Hampshire Concrete Cutting and Core Drilling, All Rights Reserved. Written by: Robert Short. New Hampshire Concrete Cutting and Core Drilling provides concrete cutting and core drilling services to the contractor and homeowner in New Hampshire or NH. Visit our website at for more information on concrete cutting and core drilling.

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