Concrete blocks are usually made with gravel and cement which make them hard. Cutting cleanly through concrete blocks is not a task that can be executed with just any saw or power tool.
The circular saw however is one tool that can cleanly cut through concrete easily, leaving you with desired and accurate results. Though the circular saw can cut through concrete blocks, this doesn’t mean you can just pick up your circular saw, plug it in and start cutting concrete blocks.
Cutting concrete with a circular saw requires care, precision, and the right tools. Luckily, this article will highlight the easy steps, tips, and tools needed to effectively cut through concrete blocks in seconds. So, let’s get to it.
What is a Concrete Block?
A concrete block is a rectangular block used in construction. The concrete block varies in size and thickness. Regular concrete blocks are usually measured in inches or millimeters.
The common concrete blocks are “4-inch, 8-inch, and 12-inch” blocks. Common concrete blocks are made with concrete, sand, and gravel. However, certain building needs require different sizes and make of blocks. Reinforced concrete blocks are usually made with concrete, gravel, steel, and wire mesh.
These types of reinforced blocks are used in the construction of dams and used in building foundations.
Why Should You Use Circular Saw To cut Concrete Blocks?
The circular saw has to be hands down one of the most aggressive power cutting tools ever made. When attached with the correct blade, the saw is capable of cutting just about any material from steel to concrete.
Cutting concrete blocks is a daunting task because of the materials that were put together to make the block. You need a diamond cutting blade with your circular saw to accurately cut clean through the block without damaging it.
Methods of Using a Circular Saw to Cut Concrete Blocks
There are two methods that can be used when using a circular saw to cut concrete blocks. Each method comes with a type of diamond blade that suits it.
When cutting through concrete blocks, there is usually a large amount of dust and sand that is sawed out. These dust particles can affect the blade you are using and also the result you will get when you complete the task.
The dry cutting method: Dry cutting method involves using serrated or toothed diamond blades that can get rid of the sand particles while working.
The wet cutting method: This method requires using a smooth diamond blade. With the wet method, water is constantly needed to be applied to the concrete you are cutting. The water eliminates the problem of dust particles and also cools the blade while working.
What are the tools required for cutting concrete blocks?
- A diamond circular blade. The “DEWALT Diamond blade for block and brick” is highly recommended. Diamond blades can be segmented, serrated, or continuous. Any of these types of blades will work just fine.
- A circular saw. Any of the “DEWALT” “MAKITA” or “SKIL” circular saws is advised for cutting through concrete.
- A pair of gloves.
- A piece of chalk.
- A source of water.
How to cut concrete blocks with a circular saw?
Put on your safety gear
Your safety is vital when using any tool. The reason a diamond blade is advised for cutting concrete is that it is capable of ripping through the hardest of materials.
If the blade can saw through concrete, think of what it could do to your fingers. So to protect yourself from cuts, use a pair of really thick gloves.
The goggles protect your eyes from flying debris like little stones and dust while the mask prevents you from inhaling dust particles.
Remove the old blade
If you have a blade in the circular saw, you need to remove it, so you can attach the diamond blade. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Firstly, make sure your saw is unplugged. If you are using a battery-operated saw, remove the battery and switch off the saw.
Secondly, slide the blade cover and make sure the blade is locked firm. You can’t remove a blade if it is spinning around as you try to unscrew it.
Modern circular saws have a “blade release switch” that allows you to remove the blade. If yours doesn’t have the switch, use a wrench to loosen the bolt holding the blade in place. Remove the screw and the washer. Then take out the blade.
Attach the diamond blade
To fix in the diamond blade, slide the blade cover backward. Attach the blade and the washer, and then tighten the screws.
Fixing the serrated diamond blade is a tad different from regular blades. With regular circular saw blades, you fix the blade in the saw with the teeth angled upwards. With the diamond blade, the teeth are usually angled downwards like the shape of a comma (the punctuation mark).
Place the block down on a surface that will prevent it from vibrating and thus, moving. This will not allow you to cut well.
Mark out the line you want to cut
Simply make a line on the concrete block, so you know which part you want to cut. Marking out the area is like marking out the route the blade will follow. This step is a deciding factor on the type of cutting result you will get after sawing.
Power-up your circular saw
Plugin the circular saw if you are using an electric saw. If you are using a battery-powered saw, slot in the battery. This generates power for the circular saw. If you are making use of a smooth diamond blade, remember to use a saw that can apply water on the surface, or gently pour water as you are cutting.
Place the blade of the saw on the concrete block
When you have completed the steps above, place the diamond blade on the marked point of the concrete block. Hold the saw firmly in place with both hands and turn on the saw.
With the diamond blade placed on the point marked out, pull the trigger of the circular saw to start cutting. Push the blade of the saw to and from while cutting to ensure the blade cuts evenly.
Gently hit the brick
This step depends largely on your purpose for cutting. If you are cutting the concrete block because you want to trim the block to the required size, you can hit the part you don’t need slightly so it will give way.
If you are cutting because you need both sides of the concrete block, then hitting it will not be your best bet. Simply use your circular saw and diamond blade to cut completely through the block.
When you are done with the steps above, you should be proud of the cutting result.
Tips to get the best cutting results when using a circular saw to cut through concrete
- Use both hands to hold and support the saw firmly in place while cutting
- Mark out the line you want to cut through with chalk or sharp rod
- Ensure the diamond blade is properly fixed in the saw before you begin cutting
- Take breaks. It’s advised to take a break from cutting for a few seconds, especially if you are working on a large block like the 12-inch concrete block
Safety measures to follow when using a circular saw to cut concrete blocks
- Always use safety gear. Your goggles, gloves, and mask should all be on you throughout the task.
- Do not rest on the block while cutting. The weight from your body can make the block give way prematurely. This will not only affect your cutting result, but it can put you in harm’s way too.
- Don’t bring your face close to the surface area while sawing if you are using the dry cutting method. Though your eyes are protected, the debris can still hit any part of your face.
- Inspect every part of the saw before and during the task.
Ensure you follow the steps and safety measures above and you will have a perfectly cut concrete brick when you are done with your task. The steps above will also work well if you need to cut curves in the concrete block. All you have to do is mark out the curve on the block and follow the curved line.
There you go! Be sure to leave a comment below if this article made your task easier. Also, check out other articles and posts on this website. You will enjoy reading them. Have a superb cutting experience.