How To Cut Concrete Walls

Some home renovations and remodeling would require you to make modifications on the structure of your home. For example, if you want to add an opening for a window, door or a connection to another room, you might need to cut through concrete. This can be done DIY-style with the right equipment and know-how. Just make sure you have access to the blueprints of your house, so you don’t accidentally cut through load-bearing wall, wiring or piping.

What you need:

  • Concrete cutter
  • Chalk box
  • Abrasive blades (for concrete cutting)
  • Tape measure, notebook, pencil
  • Safety equipment

Review your blueprints. Before starting to cut your concrete walls, it would be a good idea to review your house designs to determine if the wall you are cutting is safe to cut away. Things you would want to avoid are pillars, piping and electrical wiring. If your house is built with poured concrete, then it probably doesn’t have steel trusses. However, some structures are built with hollow blocks and steel trusses. These are more difficult to cut through, especially if the part you want to cut through is a load-bearing pillar (which you should avoid at all cost). If that is the case, then just make sure you are cutting through a wall that’s free from these wiring, pipes and trusses.

Measure the opening. Next, you would need to measure the opening you want to make on the wall. If you are installing a window or door, you would need to measure these first so you know how much to cut from your wall. After measuring the door or window, measure the area on the wall that you want to cut. You can use a chalk box to transfer the measurements to the wall, and to make a clean, straight mark for cutting.

Prepare the wall for cutting. You will need to install supports on the walls to ensure that it doesn’t fall while you cut.

Prepare the concrete cutter. Most concrete cutters can cut up to a depth of 5 inches. If your wall is thicker than 5”, then you would need to cut from both sides. Just make sure you are cutting from the same point on both sides of the wall.

Make sure the fuel tank and oil reservoir are full. Make sure there are no loose or faulty parts.

Start the saw. Pump some oil primer into the saw. Make sure the power switch is turned to the “run” or “choke” position, then pull the ignition.

With the saw running, pull the trigger and work through the lines on the wall. Start with the vertical cuts. Work from bottom upward. Always move the saw in a forward manner. However, be careful not to force it in. Let the blade sink into the wall by itself. If you encounter steel trusses or other metal reinforcement, don’t force the saw through. Let it cut through the metal gradually.

Cut vertical lines first, then horizontal. It’s easier to cut through your vertical lines first. Horizontal cuts would require more effort, as you need to make sure the saw will not be pulled down by gravity and result in a curved cut.

Stop at the corners.
Stop cutting when you are nearing the corners, to make sure the wall does not fall off on you or the saw blade. Remove the supports from either side and finish the job by pounding on the wall with a sledgehammer. If there is any leftover concrete, or if there are uneven edges, trim these with the saw. It’s best to work on large openings piece by piece or by chunks.

Some safety reminders:

Remember to wear protective equipment when working with saws and concrete. Wear protective goggles and gloves. You will also need to wear a face mask to prevent inhalation of concrete dust. Also, since you are working with the risk that the wall might fall on you, it will be a good idea to wear work boots and a helmet.


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