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How Soon Should I Cut Freshly Poured Concrete?


Cutting concrete is a delicate process that requires a lot of diligence and proper planning.

This is not one of those activities you can wake up one morning and just dive into.

You need to have everything pre-planned and ready before any actual work can be done. But, why is all of this planning and preparation necessary?

Well, if you want to cut concrete blocks and slabs and get perfect joints, you will need to get a few things in check.

One of the most crucial things that you will need to establish is how soon you should begin cutting the concrete after pouring.

This may seem like a trivial issue, but those who have some experience in performing concrete saw cuts can tell you that it’s definitely not.

Role of Timing

Concrete is a really delicate substance, contrary to what most people assume.

When you talk to people about concrete, the first thought that typically comes to mind is a strong, hard and indestructible material.

They are not wrong to think like this as concrete is one of the strongest materials available on the planet today.

So, how can you have such as strong and sturdy material?

Do you use your typical cutting equipment or is there a need for some special cutting equipment to get the job done?

These are some of the questions that immediately come to the minds of those new to concrete cutting or sawing.

Concrete Saw Cutting

For many decades now, saws have been used to cut through concrete with the aim of splitting huge concrete blocks into different portions or making joints that prevent cracking within the concrete.

Professional contractors are the most common types of people who you will find cutting through concrete slabs and blocks in various residential and commercial construction projects.

The concrete saws used typically have very sharp and strong blades that do the actual cutting.

This type of cutting is widely considered to be in the category of precision cutting, just like cutting through skin and flesh in surgeries and medical operations.

This means that any mistakes during cutting can be disastrous and can lead to some serious consequences.

Concrete saw cuts must be done perfectly in order to preserve the integrity of homes and other building structures in our environment.

Where Does Timing Come In?

Timing is crucial during concrete cutting as making saw-cuts too early can lead to ravelling which is the rapid disintegration of the structure of the concrete.

On the other hand, making cuts too late can lead to the formation of cracks within the structure of the concrete which beats the purpose of making the cuts in the first place.

In most cases, concrete cuts are done on the same day the concrete is poured. It is very rare that concrete is left to settle for more than 24 hours.

The exact time you should wait before you cut into a concrete block or slab is influenced by numerous factors such as the contents of the concrete mix and the existing weather conditions in your location.

Making The Joints

Joints are made in concrete slabs and blocks to prevent cracking due to contraction and expansion caused by temperature changes and soil movements.

Excessive cracking poses a number of problems and ultimately compromises the integrity of the concrete.

Cracking of concrete in the long term is inevitable when dealing with any type of concrete.

The only thing you can do is try to control or manage the cracking using joints.

The joints are used to divert unnecessary pressure from certain parts of the concrete in order to ease tension.

Timing For Cutting

You have to perfectly time your cuts in order to ensure that the concrete is dry enough to handle the force of the blade, but also not too dry that it cracks when you saw it.

The timing can vary based on your local conditions. However, most saw cuts are done 4 to 12 hours after pouring the concrete.

In most cases, the 4-hour mark is the earliest point you should begin cutting through concrete.

This is especially if you are working in hot and sunny conditions.

On the other hand, if you are working in cooler conditions, you should wait up to 12 hours to ensure that the concrete mix is dry enough.

Trial Cuts

It’s a well-known fact that getting the timing right can be a difficult and elusive task.

For this reason, professional contractors came up with the neat trick of doing trial cuts to establish whether the concrete is ready for cutting or not.

Performing a few trial cuts can give you a rough idea of how the actual cuts will turn out.

If the trial cuts cause any ravelling or cracking, you immediately know that you got the timing wrong.

One unwritten rule is that it’s better to cut early than to cut later.

If you are looking for a specialist concrete cutting company who uses only the best practices to get the job done right, then please call us at Megasaw  on 1300 920 419 or contact us through our website www.megasaw.com.au/contact-us/