Potential Dangers of Cutting Concrete for Demolition

Not all demolition is done with a sledgehammer or a crowbar. In many instances, demolitions are very pinpointed. For these demolitions that require increase delicacy, precise cuts to steel, wood, concrete, or other materials are a must. Concrete, however, has many challenges in the cutting process.

Concrete Blade Failure

In order to cut into concrete for demolition, a special blade is required — something of extremely hard material. Diamond blades are used almost exclusively. While not the polished diamonds you see in a jewelry display case, these are used due to a diamond’s extreme rigidity. Even though these blades are strong, they occasionally break. This can send blade shrapnel and concrete fragments into the air. To minimize injury or unnecessary damage, specialized protective items are worn. Certain blade covers are sometimes also used.

Collapsing Concrete Walls

Selective demolition can be trickier when heavier materials are used. While the collapse of a wood-framed drywall structure may be easy to prevent, concrete can sometimes be less predictable as to where it’s main supports are located. For this reason, special efforts are made to minimize the cutting and removal of sizable portions of concrete walls and other structures. It’s always safer to remove these large areas in small sections than larger ones.

Cutting Noise

If you’ve ever driven by a construction site when a worker was making cuts in the pavement, you will probably remember just how loud cutting concrete can be. The diamond blades are essentially making a rapid chipping on the material to make a cut. Any demolition workers who are cutting concrete wear hearing protection in order to prevent hearing loss.

Dust & Debris

Even though the concrete is being cut in the demolition process, it really doesn’t go away. Instead, concrete is being turned into concrete dust by the diamond blade. This dust is extremely hazardous on the respiratory system if inhaled. For this reason, demolition workers who are cutting concrete or even who may be in the vicinity must wear breathing apparatuses or other ventilators. At times, special vacuums are used to reduce the amount of concrete dust being released into the air.

Electrocution and Explosion

Cutting into concrete for a demolition project is an extense mechanical process — one with an accompanying chemical process. Extreme heat from the blade can ignite certain materials in the vicinity. In order to prevent combustive scenarios, coolant is used to keep the blades from overheating. Electrocution from other electrified wires or static electricity can also be an issue. Safety measures are taken in order to reduce the likelihood of such an incident.

Yes, cutting concrete for demolition purposes can be dangerous, but with the proper safety precautions, every demolition site can be a safe one.


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