/ / / One Way to Cut through Cement

One Way to Cut through Cement

Sorry but today we are talking about cement again… and we will be again soon, sorry but that’s what happens when you have plumbing issues in a basement. Do you remember the day we talked about our new plumbing? Well I talked about us changing our minds and wanting to add a drain in our storage room. This way we can move our water heater into that room. But before we fill in the holes with new concrete, we wanted to finish the plumbing. We only wanted to re-cement one time.

redo plumbing

Last time when we remove the concrete, we used a jackhammer but this new area would be hard to lug a jackhammer around. Plus the area is small not worth renting a $100 jackhammer. So after some research, we discovered that we could use a standard circular saw with a concrete blade and cut through the concrete. After cutting through the concrete then you would take a sledge-hammer and break the concrete up. This method would give us a straight cut into our concrete plus it would only be the cost of the blade (we had everything else on hand).

So when I was at the hardware store one day (I am there a lot), I picked up a $15 diamond concrete blade. Then that weekend we went to work, making sure we had our face respirators and safety glasses on…

Let us give you some tips before we even start this project because I wish we would have known them…

TIPS:

  1. Buy the $30 dollar blade first! It’s a better blade and will save you time…
  2. This method is dusty so tape off everything and open windows before you begin. And make sure you are wearing a respirator.
  3. This one we were told after we finished the whole project so we did not try it but this is how my dad does it. Have a water hose right next to the saw and have it on just a little bit (like the saw that is used to cut tiles). This will help with the dust.

 Well I hope those tips will help you if you are cutting through concrete and please let me know if the water helps…

circular-saw-used-to-cut-co

Another thing we did do was have our shop-vac on with one of us trying to vacuum up as much dust as possible. OK, now let’s get back to the process.

First, we taped off the water heater & door into the bathroom with plastic (we had to stop halfway through and tape off everything because dust was get everywhere plus open windows). Before we started cutting we taped the floor for where we would be cutting, to give us a guide. After installing the concrete blade, we started cutting along the tape line, there will be sparks and have I told you lots of dust…

After cutting the first line we discovered that the $15 blade was already going dull. So another trip to the hardware store for a better blade. Lesson learned again, purchase the better one first because the $30 blade cut a lot better. But it did start acting up towards the end. We pushed through finishing our cuts only for us to discover that our blade was defective and the piece that holds the blade to the saw had broken. That’s why the blade was not spinning all the time, the hardware store was amazing and took back our defective blade. 

After cutting the area we took a sledge-hammer to break up the cement, we did also use our rotary hammer. Do you see how dirty the plastic is that is covering our water heater? And you should have seen our hair… it was a double wash day.

sledge-hammer-concrete

But of course, this project turned into removing the workbench also because we were having a really hard time breaking up the concrete under the bench. We were hoping to get around not removing it but its one of those things that will have to be removed one day, it just happened earlier than planned. I feel like that has been happening a lot lately… The bench did come out all in one piece and we are hoping to reuse the wood.

Removing-work-bench

But the bench had a lot of our tools, painting supplies, and other random house supplies on it. SO now our basement is even more of a mess…

Messy-basement

But here is our cement under the bench, almost ready for plumbing…

cutting-concrete-with-saw

We found there to be pro’s and con’s to using the circular saw and the jackhammer.

Circular Saw:
PROS
– Cuts straight lines
– Gets the job done
CONS
– Dusty, dusty, dusty
– Takes more time
Jack Hammer:
PROS
– Faster
– Gets the job done
CONS
– Not a straight cut
– Heavy
– Hard to get into some areas
And here is a picture that shows the difference between the jackhammer & circular saw cut.
Difference-between-jack-ham
One more exciting unexpected thing that happened. After we had finished and we were ready to close the windows. Someone happens to put their hand right through the window while trying to close it, we had a time trying to get it open. Do not worry he was wearing gloves, thank goodness! But now we are adding another thing early to our list, replace the basement bathroom window. Right now this is what you would see if you came over…
Broken-Window
Hope this helps if you are breaking or cutting cement in the future. Now we can finish the plumbing and then fill in all the holes in our basement, YAY!!! What projects are you working on?

5 Comments

  1. Thank you for the help. I am trying to help my father work on the pipes beneath his shed. We will need to cut the concrete to reach them. It seems like it would be helpful to have a circular saw and a jackhammer for different parts of the process. The speed of the jackhammer would help greatly. How long does it take to break through about 6 inches of concrete?

    1. Hi Alex! We personally had a better experience working with the jackhammer because it was quicker. To answer your question, our cement was about 4 inches and if you would like to cut it, I would suggest getting a bigger saw because you will need a bigger blade. For the jackhammer, it just depends on the area your are removing but for an example we did all our pipes in our basement in one day. Hope this helps!

  2. I didn’t know that you could find blades for normal circular saws that could cut through concrete. I suppose they’d be fine for smaller projects, but I also wonder if it would be easier on bigger projects to just hire a company to do it. I suppose there is always a jackhammer, but the cutting seems to be a little cleaner. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I like how you suggested to tape off your area before using a concrete saw. It was helpful that you included to open the windows and wear a respirator before you begin. My brother has had some plumbing issues with his house, so he needs to gain access to some pipes located underneath the concrete. He has been looking into using a concrete saw to do this, so using some of these safety tips as he starts this project could be useful to him.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Brynne. I really hope these steps help because it can be a messy job! I have also heard that you can have some water dripping by the blade to help with the dust but I have not personally tried this. Bust of luck to your brother!

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