How to Cut & Break Concrete


Whether you're repairing major damage to a slab, or repairing something underneath, cutting and breaking concrete can be a difficult process. Concrete is used as a building material because of its durability, which makes breaking through it a major project that's both time-consuming and laborious. You can cut and break through concrete successfully as long as you use the proper tools. With the correct procedure you'll be able to get through most household slabs with a minimum of effort, all without the extra expense of calling in a contractor.

Things You'll Need

  • Chalk
  • Circular saw with diamond blade
  • Electric breaker or pneumatic jackhammer
  • Mark your cutting line onto the concrete with a piece of chalk.

  • Place the base of the circular saw onto the slab with the blade aligned with the cutting line. Turn on the saw and then lower the blade to the concrete, allowing the blade to cut into the slab.

  • Slowly push the blade forward along the line, when the handle is parallel to the concrete, until you reach the end. Raise the blade from the slab and turn it off.

  • Place the tip of an electric breaker or pneumatic jackhammer into the line cut by the circular saw. Apply pressure to the cutting tool and then turn it on, deepening the cut. Lean the tool away from the side that you want to remain intact as you break through the slab. Work your way down the saw cut with the tip, creating a deep broken line through the slab.

  • Chip away at the broken portion that you intend to remove from the slab. Work back and forth along the saw line with the cutting tool, breaking away chunks of concrete as you go along. Turn off the cutting tool occasionally to clear away chunks of debris and make the cutting easier. Continue until you've completely cut through the slab to the soil beneath. Clear away all broken concrete from the intact portion to complete the cutting process.

Tips & Warnings

  • The saw will not be able to cut entirely through most slabs but the straight cut it creates serves as a smooth starter for subsequent cutting tools and provides a cleaner finished cut through the concrete.
  • Protect yourself from flying debris by wearing steel toe boots, heavy duty work gloves and safety goggles. Protect yourself further from the noise of the cutting tool with a pair of earplugs and from concrete dust with a respirator.

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