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Common DIY Mistakes When Cutting Your Own Concrete

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Cutting through concrete might be needed if you want to install new plumbing pipes through your home's basement or tear up your old concrete driveway to pour a new one. A homeowner can typically cut his or her own concrete with the right tools and a bit of patience, but it's not as simple as cutting through wood. Note a few common DIY mistakes that are often made with concrete cutting so you can avoid these yourself, and ensure the job gets done right.

Not selecting blades according to the density of the concrete 

Concrete slabs, driveways, and other surfaces may look the same to you, but the material is actually mixed to different densities according to its use. For example, a home's basement floor may be very dense and strong as it helps support the weight of the home. If the home's driveway were just as dense, it would get brittle during cold winter months and be more likely to crack and chip. 

When cutting concrete, you need to choose your saw blade according to the material's density; if you used a diamond-tipped saw for cutting the driveway, it may cut through too quickly and cause the material to crack. On the other hand, a softer blade meant for driveways may not cut the thick, dense basement floor at all. If you're not sure the density of the concrete you'll be cutting, choose your blades according to the surface itself; the manufacturer will note if a blade is recommended for most concrete driveways, a basement floor or wall, or for cutting through a home's foundation, and the like.

 Using chalk lines

When marking off the area of concrete to be cut, you may not want to use chalk lines to keep your cut steady. If you'll be using a wet blade and creating a large amount of slurry, this can easily erase the line as you work. If your cut creates dust and this settles on the chalk line, this too can make it blurry and difficult to follow. Opt instead for a marker or grease paint that won't be as likely to get erased while you work.

Pushing the blade through

If you push the blade through the concrete too quickly while cutting, you may end up with a dull blade and an uneven cut. Many masonry and diamond-tipped blades used for cutting concrete actually get sharper as the outside edge wears away against the concrete, revealing a sharpened blade underneath. You need to let the saw get worn down this way, however, by working slowly against the concrete as you cut, so never rush your own concrete cutting job.