Cutting concrete is not always a job for which you need to hire professionals, especially if you're just making small cuts in your driveway or walkway in order to clean an area for repairs. With the right saw blades and a good technique, you can often cut through concrete of any sort relatively easily. However, it's vital that you understand some safety precautions when you do tackle concrete cutting, as this job is much different than cutting through wood. Note a few safety rules to always remember before you cut through concrete at home.
1. Mind the dust
Because of its composition, concrete usually creates a tremendous amount of dust when cut, and this can cause a number of safety concerns. One is that the dust can block your view so that you don't hold your saw properly and then get away from your line to be cut, and it can also allow the saw blade to get too close to a hand when you can't see it properly. The dust can also be easily inhaled and in turn, damage your lungs. It might also settle onto your eyes and cause damage, or settle onto your skin and cause irritation and allergic reactions.
Using a saw with a dust bag that collects the dust as you work is a good idea, but don't assume that you can overlook other safety precautions when you do this. Always wear thick eyewear that wraps around the side of your head to keep out the dust, and a heavy-duty ventilator. Stop cutting as often as needed to keep a good view of your cut and allow any dust to settle away from you before you continue.
2. Monitor the heat and water
Typically diamond-tipped saw blades are used for cutting thick concrete because their serrated edges or teeth allow heat to escape. If you use masonry blades, you may see that they become very hot, very quick. You need to be careful of getting too close to this heat as it can get dangerous for your skin even if you don't actually come into contact with a hot blade after sawing.
If you use water to wet down the surface and dissipate the heat, you then need to ensure it doesn't go near the cord or electrical outlet of the saw. It's good to start with just a small trickle and add more water as needed, but don't be so concerned with the cut that you forget to ensure the water flows away from your power tools and work area, in order to avoid a shock.