Concrete saws, also called road saws or consaws for short, slice through not only concrete but also other hard materials including asphalt, brick and tile. Different types of concrete saws are best suited for different materials and applications. Choosing the right concrete saw, and the right concrete saw blade, will make the work go easier and produce superior results.
Read about each type of saw and saw blade below and the factors to consider when choosing one.
Four common types of concrete saws
Here are the four types of concrete saws and what they are used for.
Cutoff concrete saws
Cutoff concrete saws, or handheld concrete saws, use a circular diamond blade to cut concrete as well as asphalt and metal. They are compact and versatile enough to handle a wide variety of tasks, such as cutting through concrete walls or floors, performing plumbing and electrical installations and demolishing concrete and infrastructure wreckage.
A smaller cutoff saw is ideal for quickly cutting and adjusting building components onsite. When mounted on a table, a cutoff concrete saw with a tough diamond or carbide masonry blade can make shallow, clean, precise cuts in brick, block or stone.
As their name implies, concrete chainsaws use a chain with cutting teeth to slice sharp angles and square corners in concrete, blocks, brick and stone without overcutting. A diamond-coated chain cooled by water follows the perimeter of the oblong blade.
Concrete chainsaws are small and handy for accessing hard-to-reach areas. They are ideal for breaking up and removing large concrete sections during demolition, creating joints, and cutting windows, doorways, beam pockets, HVAC openings and openings for electrical boxes.
Walk-behind concrete saws
Walk-behind concrete saws, sometimes called floor saws or street saws, are large, heavy, wheeled saws that are pushed from behind. Self-propelled models make it easier to move the saw forward and backward.
These heavy-duty saws cut long, straight lines and are ideal for work on asphalt roads and concrete floors, driveways, sidewalks and slabs.
Concrete wall saws
Wall saws are designed to make precise vertical and horizontal cuts in vertical or sloped surfaces made of concrete, stone, asphalt or cinder block. They’re often used to cut apertures for doors, windows, plumbing and electrical. These saws are typically fitted with a diamond blade and mounted on a track to support them during use.
Concrete saw blades
Different concrete saw blades are designed to cut different materials at fast or slow speeds. Here’s a look at several common types and the applications and materials they’re suited for.
Diamond blades, which feature synthetic diamond particles embedded in a steel core, are known for their performance, durability and temperature tolerance. Diamond blades for concrete saws come in three main types.
- Segmented blades. These blades feature gaps between the diamond segments to provide faster cooling and debris removal. They make rough cuts in concrete, asphalt, brick and limestone. They are dry cutting blades, meaning they don’t need water to cool them during operation, though they can be used with wet cutting. Dry cutting requires repeated short cuts.
- Continuous-rim blades. The solid, continuous rim of these blades makes slow, clean, smooth, precise cuts on materials such as granite, porcelain, marble and tile. They are wet blades, meaning they require a water stream to cool them during operation. Wet blades create minimal dust compared to dry blades.
- Turbo-rim blades. Theaggressive turbo-rim blade, which features a continuous, serrated rim, is ideal for making fast, smooth cuts in natural stone, concrete, brick, tile and masonry. Blades are available for dry and wet cuts.
Abrasive blades, also called abrasive cutoff wheels, are circular blades made of silicon carbide or aluminum oxide. They are ideal for cutting softer materials such as asphalt, green concrete and brick. The downsides: These blades create a considerable amount of dust. They are less durable than diamond blades and can crack or shatter unless they’re reinforced with fiberglass and a strong bonding agent.
Choosing the best concrete saw type, as well as the best power source (diesel, gas or electric) and the best concrete saw blade for the application, isn’t always easy. For expert guidance, talk to a United Rentals sales representative.