Cutting Concrete?

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I had decided to just suck it up and have a contractor do the replacement work on my driveway, when a few friends came by and we got to looking at what has to be done.
The driveway is in four slabs and only one of them has to be removed and replaced. Its about 9' X 11'
They told me that if I get a diamond blade for my skil saw, I could cut the slab up into manageable pieces and remove it myself. Being rather poor until I hear from Ed McMahon :-) I am intrigued. In fact, if it was possible to cut up the slab, I could make use of parts of it elsewhere. Time I have in abundance, and I don't mind buying a blade or two, so I am considering if it is doable.
Then I figured I ought to ask those who know better than I would, if what they told me is true. Can one of those blades in a skil saw cut up a slab this size? (probably take a while, but like I said, time I got, money is in short supply) Its a four inch slab, but I would think a three inch cut and a sledge hammer would suffice, assuming the saw could do the job.
The reason I would consider it is, because if it gets messed up, or the idea just goes bad, then I will just have to pay a pro to come do it, but why not check around and see if its a valid idea first, maybe save the cash for the new slab, try it to see how it goes. Worst case is a blade or two, and my time, the call the pros. Might learns something along the way <shrug>
My friends say it cuts pretty well. Does anyone agree or disagree?
I would love to hear opinions from those who have done it, or know of it.
As always, much obliged for any input or suggestions.
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I had decided to just suck it up and have a contractor do the replacement work on my driveway, when a few friends came by and we got to looking at what has to be done.
The driveway is in four slabs and only one of them has to be removed and replaced. Its about 9' X 11'
They told me that if I get a diamond blade for my skil saw, I could cut the slab up into manageable pieces and remove it myself. Being rather poor until I hear from Ed McMahon :-) I am intrigued. In fact, if it was possible to cut up the slab, I could make use of parts of it elsewhere. Time I have in abundance, and I don't mind buying a blade or two, so I am considering if it is doable.
Then I figured I ought to ask those who know better than I would, if what they told me is true. Can one of those blades in a skil saw cut up a slab this size? (probably take a while, but like I said, time I got, money is in short supply) Its a four inch slab, but I would think a three inch cut and a sledge hammer would suffice, assuming the saw could do the job.
The reason I would consider it is, because if it gets messed up, or the idea just goes bad, then I will just have to pay a pro to come do it, but why not check around and see if its a valid idea first, maybe save the cash for the new slab, try it to see how it goes. Worst case is a blade or two, and my time, the call the pros. Might learns something along the way <shrug>
My friends say it cuts pretty well. Does anyone agree or disagree?
I would love to hear opinions from those who have done it, or know of it.
As always, much obliged for any input or suggestions.
Thanks,
Mark
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i ADDED A DOORWAY THRU A BLOCK WALL ONCE
Ruined my skillsaw:(
You may be better off renting a rolling concete saw, blade is cooled with water keeps dust down, makes job easier or renting a electric jackhammer
I am about to install a larger doggie door thru my brick walled home.
Its not bad but extremely dirty.
Diamond blades work better but why not buy a carbide blade for your saw and try a spot?
Carbide blades are pretty cheap if slab is that bad you have little to lose.
You going to lay concrete yourself?
If not first get quotes pre removed AND have them do it all.....
You may not save much.....
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agreed with previous comments on saw rental and/or jackhammer rental vs. killing your skilsaw
since your chipper on removal, might want to consider forming and pouring it yourself, since concrete work is generally more labor cost than any other cost; concrete can be purchased and trucked in, carted in a cart attached to a pickup (the u-do-it concrete sales places), delivered by home improvement stores to the job site in bags, or you can buy bags and transport itin a pickup truck; bagged concrete is generally more expensive than trucked or u-do-it mixes; books on how to do concrete work are available free at most libraries, or inexpensive at retail home improvement stores
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much faster, cheaper, cleaner to break it up with an electric jackhammer (from tool rental). In fact, if the slab isn't reinforced with rebar or wire mesh, you can do it even quicker with a big prybar and a 12# hammer. I just took out about 200sf of wire reinf 5" thick with a hammer and bar. I also used a jack to tilt the slabs. Fair amount of exercise, but that's mostly why I was doing it that way. Depending on your perspective, it can be kind of fun. Bill

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On Sun, 24 Sep 2006 03:27:25 GMT, "bill allemann"

I haven't tried it with a prybar. Buty I was going to suggest the electric jackhammer. I'm only 5'8" and the biggest problem was getting it out in order to move it after it went trhough the sidewalk I was working on. I lifted part of the way, but then my arms were horizontal. Very hard to lift. I was tired in less than 5 minutes.
If you're as short as I am, try to get the shortest jackhammer you can (although the one I used wasnt' very tall) , but better yet, get your friends back and take turns. It was fun, although I only did 3 or 4 square feet before I was too tired to continue. Of course it wasn't my sidewalk. It was my next door neigbor's and I'm lucky the contractor let me have the chance to have fun.
Everyone there should wear safety glasses, or at least glasses or goggles whenever anyone is hammering. STones can fly in any direction. I've been hit in the eye by smething like this, and it is scarey.
YOu'll burn up the saw and it will take forever (based on how fast it went before it burned up.)

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bill allemann spake thus:

That's the way to do it.
Back in my younger days, I worked for a guy who had the best tool I've ever seen for breaking up cement, turning over slabs, etc: an old Model T drive shaft. You could beat on that sucker all day and not bother it a bit.
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Your friends are idiots. You will probably use up two or three saws to do all of that with a Skil saw. .
Rent either a jackhammer or a concrete cutting saw.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

It's doable w/ a skil saw but it won't be fun or very good for the saw
If you cut dry it will be VERY dusty....just a lttle bit of water will keep the dust down & flush the cut.
I cut up a 8 x 20 stucco wall for hand disposal (15 pcs) ...I only cut about 1/2 thru & made about 100 ft of cut.....it went pretty quick (~20 minutes) but I was only cutting ~12" to 3/4" so your time would depend on depth of cut & total cut length
If you just want to do disposal....the electric hammer is the way to go
unless you really want to reuse the pieces (you're only talking about ~1 yd of concrete) so you would save the disposal, forming & finishing cost of the other concrete needs.
Cutting is the only way to get resaonably prety pieces.
Check out rental cost f a proper concrrete saw
cheers Bob
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On 23 Sep 2006 19:48:44 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Burnt up my expensive saw in about 30 minutes.
Went to rent store and rented an electric jack hameer for $75 for one day.
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I really appreciate the advice and experience folks chipped in with in this thread. I could live without having someone state that my friends are idiots, but I guess when the advice is free, you get what you pay for.
Seems best to just rent a concrete saw, and go for it that way. I think I might by a carbide blade and see how it cuts with the skil saw, just for information purposes, but I after thinking on it, I believe its a good point that its just too much cutting for such a small saw. I figure to try a small portion tho, just for the heck of it.
Gonna keep thinking on the whole process and see where it leads. I figured to get it out first, and then see about doing the concrete pour myself with one of those U-Cart deals. I have never done concrete that would require a decent job of surfacing, so that is the only part that I am really concerned about. I have read a ton about how to do it, but am not sure I want my first effort to be in front of my house, for all the world to see :-)
Since the weather is cooling, what kind of temps are considered too cold to do a decent pour? I won't be doing the cement for a time, and if cool/cold is a bad idea for a pour, I may just remove it, dump in some crushed stone, and finish it in the spring. Still just thinking about stuff, probably too much thinking, but that is what I do <shrug>
Anyway, I thank you all for your time, and the help you offered. I bet I will be back :-)
Regards,
Mark
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Oh, sorry I thought you wanted honest advice. They are still idiots.
No charge for the above.
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You need about 1.2 cu yards. Concrete weighs something like 140 pounds a cubic foot. Hope you have a big truck.
For finishing, you need some help to screed it, a bull float on a long pole. Get someone that has done this before so you can learn how, or help someone else that is doing a big job. There is a time limit and most errors are permanent or very expensive to fix. It does take a little practice to float it and not get puddles when done.

There are additives so you can pour well below freezing. Best is in moderate temperatures though.
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a diamond blade for the skilsaw would be the best for cutting concrete; seems diamond blades cost about $30, about what a concrete saw cost around here for rental
on pouring your own, concrete should not be allowed to fall below 50 degrees fahrenheit while it is in the curing phase for 5 days (if weather is over 70 degrees) to 7 days (if weather is 50 to 70 degrees) after pouring; if the wetaher is under 50 degrees concrete can still be mixed and poured but specific procedures must be followed (eg. mixing the concrete with hot water, ensuring the ground isn't frozen by covering it long enough to raise its temperature, covering the concrete with canvas and plastic sheets, etc.)
concrete is best made when it has less instead of more water, as more water makes concrete weak and leads to weakness and premature cracking; some recommend adding water until the concrete is the consistency of peanut butter, i like to make it a little drier than peanut butter consistency, which makes for stronger concrete once cured, noting drier mixes make for very short working time...
after removal of the old concrete, stake and nail your forms in place, add in expansion joints (1" x 4" treated lumber or expansion joint material specifically made for that purpose) between what will be the new slab and the existing slab sections you won't be replacing, and between the new slab and any buildings foundations or walls; then compact the ground and check the area with a tape measure for your 4" thickness, if that is the thickness you will be pouring; then dampen the ground within the forms
pour your concrete within the forms, maybe using a piece of plywood as a ramp for the poured concrete to get within the forms and not on them; use shovels and a hard rake to spread the concrete within the forms; then use a piece of lumber longer than the width of the slab and forms, resting it on top of the forms each side of the pour area and running it across the still wet slab concrete, supported by the form lumber on both sides, to smooth out the surface even with the forms, assuming the piece of lumber you use has a straight edge and is not bent; then use a float to smooth the entire surface, holding the front edge of the float which hits the concrete first up a bit so it doesn't dig into the concrete; then go around the edges with an edging tool to shape the edges and remove excess concrete; you may want to add 1 or 2 grooves 1" deep every 6 feet to help control cracking later in the life of the slab, a hand tool is made for adding the grooves; 30 minutes to an hour later, generally, is the time to use a stainless steel trowel to add an even smoother finish to the concrete if needed to match the other sections of driveway, using circular motions with the trowel; using a broom on the surface instead leaves a distinct looking nonskid finish, in case the other sections of your driveway you won't be replacing have that kind of finish; you can add a concrete sealer if want, following the instructions on the sealer as to when to add it and how; then cure the concrete for 5 to 7 days (see above as to weather conditions)
it will help dramatically if you have a few friends to help with the pour, spreading the concrete, etc., since your working time may be less than you can do it in by yourself
have also seen where existing slab sections were busted up, about 1/2 of the old concrete removed, the other 1/2 rearranged so it is roughly 2" lower than the top of the forms, rinsed well with a hose to remove dirt from the old concrete facing upward, then 2" or so of new concrete poured on top of the old pieces, to save on concrete cost...seems to work quite well for cars and pickup truck traffic, but haven't seen what happns if 18 wheelers or other large vehicles are driven on it or parked on it, and it obviously won't be as strong as a newly poured 4" slab
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forgot to mention adding in rebar, or wire mesh, after staking forms and before measuring for 4" depth or wetting ground within forms, rebar being better than wire mesh
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nowforsale wrote:

I will be out looking at rentals this week. I am not one for schedules, and so I tend to stay away from rentals, so that I can do the work when I am in the mood, but in this case it probably sense to get one for the day and just get it done.....

I will enlist some of my "idiot" friends who have done it before, and rely on them to show me how its done :-) I reckon pouring concrete is a group activity, almost all of the time.
An interesting idea. I don't have a lot of 18 wheelers going in and out of my garage, so that might be a way to fill in, after I calculate just how much cement I need. The U-Cart things around here can be 1 yard, so perhaps I can come in just under, if I 'reuse' some of the pieces.... Something to think about.
Thanks for the details. There are a lot of books, but sometimes I wonder if the authors have ever done anything beyond the most basic work. Its like on the TV shows where they have someone show how to put up drywall, when they only put up one full piece, right in the middle of the room, at shoulder level, and then walk away as if every piece is going to be 4X8, and fit exactly :-) Its the tricky details that will trip me up the most. I appreciate the pointers.
Mark
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Rent a walk behind saw. We used Skill saws with a diamond blade on very small jobs. It can be done, but its a pain in the ass and you risk burning out the saw.
One Q, why are you replacing this panel?
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:
Well, the truth is that I didn't get into details because I didn't think I would get so much useful advice :-) Probably more info would have helped, in retrospect....
The problem is a tree root that has lifted the slab. Its a two car drive/garage. Been watching it rise up for several years now, and it has finally gotten to be ridiculous, sticking up on one corner just about three inches. The slab next to it has sunk a bit, not much, and risen up at the entrance to the garage. Once I take out the root(s) I can cut down the bump on the far side slab and that will be fine with me, but the slab closer to the tree has to go :(
Its not cracked, and I tossed out the idea of cutting it up, because one thought I had was to start taking out maybe a foot wide cross section at a time, and get a look at where the root(s) are, so that perhaps I might not have to take out the entire slab, but I approached it as if I would have to, just to see what I might be getting into....
Bummer to not be able to lift the slab and excavate the roots :-)
Mostly, I am wanting to learn the best way to do this in advance, because I will have to wait till late fall, or early spring to chop out whatever root(s) I find beneath the slab, after the tree goes dormant. Two huge trees, so I imagine the root(s) beneath will be pretty hefty to be pushing up such a chunk of concrete...... Its really only coming up in one corner, but unfortunately, its the corner the ends up in the middle of the driveway, made up of four slabs, so it looks real bad as the other three are pretty much okay. I assume that if I can take out the root(s) from this one, it will buy me some time before the other slabs get messed up too.
Not quite sure when and how yet, but I am much better off now, than a was a week ago, not knowing much of anything as to how to proceed.
Thanks a lot,
Mark
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I've heard of slab being raised up to level if they are sinking. Perhaps you can cut out some of the slab and have a pro do the rest somehow. It may not be any cheaper, but if the labor is cut 80% that would be a good incentive.
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wrote:

Roots near the surface are stability roots. If you remove the roots and want to prebvent them from growing back into that area, Biobarrier works great, and should stop root growth for at least 35 years, here's a link: http://www.biobarrier.com /
A barrier like this is the only thing I've found to allow roots and concrete to peacefully co-exist over time. You generally have to buy Biobarrier from a distributor, not direct from the company. Maybe a distributor would have a small length to sell, or be able to recommend someone who purchased some and has some left over. I've heard of other methods of stopping root growth, like salting the ground, but those methods don't seem effective.
Sound like you might be on to something as to only cutting out the raised portion of slab and removing the roots; would be unique if you could surgically cut out a section or sections, remove the root(s), then replane the ground level and put the removed sections back in place and fill in the cracks with sand up to about 1" shy of the surface, then use Quickrete Crack Sealer or Quickrete concrete resurfacer (basically concrete with plastic additives) to fill in the top 1". Might just work. Also, to make it more stable, you might be able to drill some countersunk vertical holes into the removed and nonremoved portions, then use u-shaped pieces of rebar epoxied into the holes to rejoin the removed and nonremoved pieces, then fill in cracks around the removed pieces with sand up to about 1" shy of the surface, and fill in the last 1" with something like Quickrete Crack Filler or Quickrete Concrete Resurfacer.
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