Purchasing a concrete saw comes with a lot of factors to consider. Ultimately, the choice comes down to whether you need a saw for wet cutting or dry cutting concrete. The two have advantages and disadvantages, but the decision ultimately comes down to the project you are tackling.
Wet Cutting Concrete
Wet cutting concrete requires a diamond blade, which grinds through tough materials using synthetic diamond particles and powdered metals that then attach to a steel core. For wet cutting, it is best to use a turbo rim or a continuous rim.
For wet concrete, the saw is powered by a gas or electric hydraulic power pack. The blades need to be able to cut longer and therefore have a higher revolution per minute (RPM).
The most obvious benefit to wet cutting concrete is that it cuts harmful concrete dust by about 90%. There are other benefits of wet concrete cutting as well.
Benefits of Wet Concrete Cutting
The pros of wet cutting concrete include:
- Accuracy: The diamond blades that are specific for wet cutting concrete are incredibly precise. They are designed to have the greatest accuracy through tough and sensitive materials.
- Speed: Even though more factors go into wet cutting concrete than dry cutting concrete, in the long run, wet cutting ends up being the faster option.
- Cost efficiency: Wet cutting concrete doesn’t go through as many blades as dry cutting, saving you money.
- Safety: The lack of silica dust makes wet cutting safer than dry cutting in that sense. Wet cutting also makes it easier to see what you’re cutting, and you have far more control over the blade and are less likely to encounter kickback from the saw.
- Noise reduction: Wet cutting is significantly quieter and has far less vibration than dry cutting.
Disadvantages of Wet Concrete Cutting
Some possible drawbacks of wet cutting concrete include:
- Lack of convenience: The saw has to have a constant supply of pressurized water, which can be tricky depending on your location.
- Shorter lifespan: Wet cutting saws tend to have shorter lifespans than dry cutting saws.
Dry Cutting Concrete
Dry-cutting concrete also uses a specialized diamond blade, but one that can hold up to more heat than a wet-cutting diamond blade. Without the water to cool it down, a durable blade is essential.
A dry cutting saw uses the air around the blade to cool it down instead of water, so between cuts, you should let it free-spin to increase the airflow. Jobs completed by dry cutting are normally simple and end up very clean.
Benefits of Dry Concrete Cutting
Dry cutting concrete offers these advantages:
- Straightforward operation: Because it is more limited in what it can do than wet cutting, dry concrete cutting creates shallow and straight cuts every time.
- Portability: You don’t need a power source for many dry-cutting saws.
- Clean operation: Though wet cutting leads to less harmful dust, it manages to leave a mess that can be avoided with dry cutting.
- Longevity: Diamond blades in general tend to last a long time. But the ones used in dry cutting saws are more durable and heat-resistant.
Disadvantages of Dry Concrete Cutting
Possible drawbacks of dry concrete cutting include:
- Dust: Dry cutting can lead to some health risks due to the concrete dust released when cutting. There are tools you should use like dust vacuums and dust extractors to minimize the amount of dust you are inhaling.
- No curved cuts: You cannot use a dry concrete saw for any projects that have curved cuts.
- Longer operation: Dry concrete cutting takes more time than wet concrete cutting. It also requires more downtime.
Which Concrete Cutting Method Should You Choose?
There are a lot of things to consider when determining which type of concrete cutting you should use for your next project.
One difference between the two methods is the way the blade is welded. Dry cutting blades must have specialized segment welds to get rid of heat, which can lead to a less precise product.
Wet-cutting concrete requires a constant stream of water, which limits where you could use a wet concrete saw, even if it would be more effective.
You should also think about the project you are working on and what it demands. Dry cutting may be better for jobs with straight decorative patterning and intermittent cutting. Dry-cutting requires no more than 30-second, straight cuts, but you can focus on creating deeper cuts.
In contrast, wet cutting allows you to make longer, more accurate clean cuts since you don’t have to worry about cooling. In addition, when wet-cutting you are not limited to straight cuts since it allows curved cutting. Wet cutting is faster than dry cutting and requires less downtime.
It is also important to consider the state of your concrete before cutting. Otherwise, the blade could pull the concrete out of position or leave the edge weakened and uneven. On the flip side, your concrete could crack if you wait too long to cut. Aim for cutting concrete four hours after a pour if the weather’s hot. In cold conditions, wait around 12 hours before cutting.
Shop RGC Construction Concrete Saws
At RGC Construction, we have both dry concrete saws and wet concrete saws to get you through whatever project you are working on. Our hydraulic circular saws and our hydraulic chainsaws offer wet and dry cutting methods.
- Hydraulic Circular Saws: Our hydraulic circular saws work for a wide variety of projects and can tackle the big ones. The circular shape allows for cuts to be made faster, though could cause overcuts when working from a right angle. Choose from flush-cut and handheld options suitable for any orientation.
- Hydraulic Chainsaws: These chainsaws can make deep cuts into whatever structure you are working on. They are great for projects such as window installation, removing debris, demolition and other general heavy cutting. Hydraulic chainsaws are the solution if you are looking to get square corners without overcut, as can happen with hydraulic circular saws.
The tools we sell at RGC Construction are just what you need to get your next project done — big or small. On top of our hydraulic chainsaws and circular saws, we offer walk-behind saws and hydraulic power packs to steadily power your hydraulic tools. Shop what you need for your next project, or fill out a contact form for more information.