If you have a concrete project that requires concrete sawing, you’ll want to choose the right saw for the job. In most cases, if you have a small amount of concrete to cut, dry cut vs wet cut concrete sawing is the better option. But, if you have a large job that’s going to require a lot of concrete sawing or continuous concrete sawing, a wet cut saw is the right choice. If you’ve never used a wet saw before, you’ll need these cutting and safety tips.
Wear protective gear
As with any heavy machinery, when you use a wet cut concrete saw, take the proper safety precautions and wear the right protective gear. This gear includes ear, eye, and head protection. There is less of a need for a respirator or mask when you use a wet saw because there is less dust, but many experts still recommend that you wear one while sawing anything. There will still be some concrete dust in the air that you can’t avoid, so a mask is suggested.
Snug-fitting clothing is also mandatory when using any type of saw. Loose-fitting clothes create a hazard because they can be caught on the blades and ripped away, creating a risk to any body parts in the clothing. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt are also recommended for additional safety reasons but aren’t required.
Use the right blade
There are blades that are designed specifically for wet cut concrete sawing, so make sure you use the right type. Segmented, continuous, and turbo blades can all be used for wet saw applications, but continuous blades provide the smoothest cut. In almost all cases, a diamond blade is preferred for wet cutting concrete because it is more durable than other materials. A wet saw operates at a higher RPM than a dry saw, so it must be able to stand up to the faster work and diamond blades do just that.
For cutting cured concrete, most experts recommend that you use a diamond blade that has a diameter of at least 20 inches. This will allow you to make deep, continuous cuts in concrete without having to stop and allow the saw to cool.
The water that keeps the blade wet also keeps it cool so that you can perform longer cuts on larger jobs. If you use a smaller blade, you’ll have to make shallower cuts, but you’ll be able to finish the job faster anyway because you won’t have to take as many breaks to let the blade cool down.
For green concrete, experts suggest you use a diamond blade with a diameter of between 12 and 14 inches. Green concrete should be cut exactly one day after it’s poured and to avoid cracks in the concrete, only cut up to 1/3 of the total thickness of the concrete.
Inspect the blade before beginning work
Never use a saw with a warped or damaged blade, which will not only cause damage to the surface you’re sawing but can also present a major safety hazard. Always inspect the blade of your saw before you start work, particularly if you’re renting equipment. You never know who had the saw before you and what they did with it. If the saw is at all damaged, it’s far better to change it out than to risk using it.
Even if you’re the only one using the saw, you should still check the blade before starting work. In most cases, it will be in the same condition you left it the last time you used it, but you can’t take the chance that it’s damaged. It only takes a few seconds to make sure the saw is safe to use.
Read the manual
Always read the saw’s manual if you’ve never used that specific model before. These instructions will ensure you operate the saw properly, use the right amount of water in the tank, and take the right safety precautions when the saw isn’t in use, including locking it when you’re done. If you’re renting a saw and it doesn’t come with a manual, search the manufacturer’s website until you find it. You don’t want to try to operate an unfamiliar saw without understanding exactly how it works.
A wet cut concrete saw can really make your large concrete job a lot easier, especially because it will take much less time to finish the cuts than it would with a dry saw. Just be sure you know how to use the wet saw safely to avoid injuries. If you’re unsure, contact a trusted local concreter for help.