In the construction industry, it is often necessary to make an opening in a monolithic concrete structure. Reinforced concrete has a different strength than normal concrete, so it must be cut in a different way using different tools.
Each method and tool has its pros and cons, so the choice depends on the capabilities and desire of the owner of the object. There is equipment for manual cutting and heavy units for a large production process.
How to Cut Concrete With Rebar
Here’s how to cut reinforced concrete:
- Start by putting on safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself from flying debris.
- Then, use a hammer and chisel to score a line in the concrete where you want to make your cut.
- Next, use a concrete saw to cut along the scored line. Be sure to use a blade that is designed for cutting concrete.
- Finally, clean up any debris and dispose of it properly.
Why Is It Necessary
Often during repairs, builders are faced with the need to make an opening in the concrete. But it happens that this concrete is not usual, but reinforced. Ordinary tools will not be able to cope with such concrete, moreover, it can be dangerous. For example, an ordinary disk grinder collided with the armature can break into pieces, which is very dangerous. To cut such concrete you need to use special nozzles and special tools.
When cutting reinforced concrete, certain safety rules must be followed. Personal protective equipment should be used:
- Respirator. A lot of dust is generated during concrete cutting, a respirator should protect you from it.
- Safety glasses. Dust from concrete can get into your eyes. Use special construction goggles to protect yourself.
- Tight protective gloves. Wear gloves to protect your hands.
- To protect your hearing and your ears, use special ear muffs and protective headphones.
Don’t neglect personal protective equipment, so you can minimize the harmful effects of cutting reinforced concrete and prevent possible injuries.
Tools and Materials
An angle grinder
An angle grinder for cutting concrete has replaceable discs that are attached to the machine with a screw device. The construction market offers a wide range of equipment of different sizes and capacities.
The handheld cutter is easy to move from place to place and cut in hard-to-reach places. The disadvantages of such a device include the application of great effort by workers, which reduces the volume and time of the uninterrupted process.
A wall saw is another tool for cutting concrete equipped with a diamond disc. The machine consists of a motor, a hydraulic pumping station, guide rails (for vertical and horizontal fixation), a cutting disc (over 9,8 inches in diameter), and a control panel.
Machines of this type provide a higher quality of cutting. In addition, the unit has the following advantages:
- The depth of the opening can reach up to 3 inches.
- Suitable for volume works of increased complexity.
- The unit cuts reinforced concrete as fast as possible.
- Low noise and vibration level.
- Reliable fixation on the treated surface.
The disadvantages it is worth highlighting:
- The high cost of the machine for cutting concrete.
- To use the unit, it is necessary to undergo training.
- High power consumption.
For cutting horizontal concrete floor slabs, and creating expansion joints and openings, joint cutters are often used. Joint cutters consist of a metal frame on wheels, a motor, and a cutting wheel.
Joint cutters can be:
- Stationary. Apparatuses of this type are used for thick layers of the monolith.
- Portable. Such units allow you to perform cuts of different depths and configurations.
Among the advantages of this equipment is the ability to cut thick surfaces with minimal vibration. Among the disadvantages are the high cost and the possibility of processing only horizontal surfaces.
Wire rope machines (cutters)
Wire rope cutting machines are available with both hydraulic and electric drives. Machines of this type are also equipped with oil stations, rope stands, rollers, and cooling systems.
Rope cutting of concrete is used for dismantling large constructions (bridges, piers, columns, and much more). Such a specialized cutter can make holes up to 19.7 inches deep. The cuts are made in any direction.
The main cutting element in such machines is a special rope coated with diamond spraying.
This type of equipment is considered expensive and difficult to work with, that is why rope cutting machines are used for various works (dismantling, cutting reinforced concrete, blocks and pipes) on large construction sites.
Concrete Cutting Saws
Gasoline or compressed air-powered concrete chainsaw is often used for hand sawing concrete. This lightweight and accessible tool does not require any special skills, so it is best suited for construction work performed with your own hands.
A chainsaw differs from a chainsaw for wood in that it has a more complex bar, which is equipped with special channels for water supply (which makes it possible to cut concrete without dust) and a diamond chain.
Such cutting equipment allows you to make cuts up to 11.8-15.8 cm deep, and the unit rotates 90 degrees, which is very convenient for creating niches, apertures, and other holes in the concrete.
In order to cut reinforced concrete structures, it is recommended to buy products with notches for normal concrete and without notches if you plan to cut reinforced concrete structures because the protruding elements of the disk will cling to the reinforcement.
Concrete Cutting Methods
Concrete cutting is done by punching, drilling, crushing, and grinding. There are two methods according to the way the work is done:
Dry. In this case, the work is carried out with breaks, which are necessary for the equipment to cool down. In addition, when dry cutting concrete walls will have to use a special vacuum cleaner or wait until the dust settles (because of the amount of dust you, elementary, do not see the place of cutting). Another disadvantage of this method is the small depth to which you can immerse the cutting unit. Because of the strong side friction, the disk will get very hot and fail faster.
Wet. This dustless method of cutting is considered the most proper and less time-consuming because you don’t have to wait for the equipment to cool down. Water flowing on the cutting wheel performs several functions at once: it cools the cutting tool and “nails” the dust.
How to Cut Concrete With Rebar Step-By-Step Guide
After preparing and checking the equipment, follow a few simple steps:
- Mark out the line along which the cut will be made.
- To make your work easier, fasten wooden blocks along the cutting line. This prevents the blade or saw from “dragging” from side to side and you will not accidentally make the cut deeper than necessary.
- Turn on the equipment and make a test cut.
- Continue working, plunging the equipment to the desired depth (remove the bars).
What is the best tool to cut concrete?
There is no definitive answer to this question as the best tool to cut concrete will vary depending on the specific project and concrete mix. However, some common tools that can be used to cut concrete include saws, chisels, and grinders. For cutting reinforced concrete it is necessary to use special nozzles with diamond spraying.
Can I make a hole in reinforced concrete myself?
If you have the proper tools and know-how, then yes, you can make a hole in reinforced concrete yourself. However, if you do not have experience working with concrete, it is best to leave this task to a professional.
Is it possible to cut reinforced concrete with tools for normal concrete?
No. It is not recommended to use concrete nozzles when cutting concrete with rebar.
I hope my article helped you. Cutting concrete is a dangerous job, but if you take the proper precautions, it is possible to do it yourself. Always wear protective gear, including gloves, goggles, and a dust mask. Also if you have any questions, please leave them below in the comments!