Cutting concrete is a dirty, loud, back-aching, sweat-inducing part of any hardscape project. At least it can be if you are using a demo saw and cutting in place without water to control the dust so it is flying around everywhere. In these cases, you should be wearing proper protection such as safety glasses, ear protection, and dust masks. You also want to be aware of the consequences of letting dust fly on a job site to those around you as well as your business. In a lot of places you are actually not able to cut without some sort of dust control.
However, there is a dustless way of cutting concrete. Not only are there add-on tools that you can attach to something like a demo saw that vacuum up the dust as you cut or even ways to cut concrete with a water attachment that keeps the dust down while you cut. But there are also saws with integrated dust collection systems which cut down on the amount of equipment you are hauling around if you have a saw and add-on piece for dust collection. It also cuts down on the mess made by cutting wet.
Dustless Concrete Saw
Dust is a nuisance and a safety hazard. The airborne silica will cause negative health issues including silicosis which is the hardening of the lung. This is bad for you, your crew, and everyone in the immediate area. The amount of dust that is created from cutting concrete is incredible. Not to mention most sites you cannot let dust fly around. And cuts are inevitable on any hardscape site. That means you need some way to control that dust. When it comes to a dustless paver saw for your job site, there are two ways in which you can control dust.
You can opt to cut with water to control the dust. Most saws generally have some sort of hose hook up that allows you to connect a hose so that while you cut, water is added to the blade and keeps the water down while also extending the life of your saw blade. Alternatively, if you have two people available one of them can cut while the other sprays water on the blade while they are cutting. The advantages of cutting wet is that it does not cost you any more to add water to the cutting process. That is unless you do not have the water hook up attachment and you need to have someone extra to spray the blade down. The disadvantages are that cutting with water is not fun. You likely get soaked with slurry (concrete dust and water) and it is an uncomfortable experience. Not to mention that if slurry gets on any surface and dries, it is difficult to remove. Especially on a paving surface. This requires a thorough wash after the cutting is complete.
The second option to control dust is to purchase a vacuum add-on in order to collect the dust or to purchase a saw with an integrated dust collection system. The add-ons involve adding some sort of attachment at the cutting part of your saw with a hose to a HEPA vacuum. This is a suitable way to implement dust control to existing equipment so that you do not need to cut wet.
However, there are also dustless masonry saws available on the market that allows you to accomplish this same dust collection so that you do not need to cut wet to keep the dust down.
iQ Dustless Masonry Saw
iQ Power Tools manufactures power tools with integrated dust collection systems that meet the 2017 OSHA silica standard. That means that within the actual tool is the ability to vacuum and store the dust that the saw produces from the cutting action. They have a range of saws for dry cutting tiles to cutting wall block while producing minimal dust in the process.
Their iQMS362 saw is a 16.5″ masonry saw with the integrated dust collection system that captures 99.5% of hazardous silica dust and designed to cut a wide variety of materials. It folds down and is easily transportable with two wheels on the stand and weighing in at approximately 150 pounds. It has the ability to cut 5.5″ in depth and 24″ in length for materials including brick, pavers, stone, and veneer.
iQ has their own proprietary Q-Drive blades based on the inlet or the saw blade to attach to the saw. They are designed to reduce turbulence and the amount of dust that is created. With a soft start motor that uses 120v and 20 amps, it allows the power to ramp up for smooth and uninterrupted operation.
The dust itself is captured when cutting within the blade guard, rear dust guard, and the downdraft in the table passing through a 3-stage cyclonic filtration system which captures heavy debris, fine particles, and superfine particles. This captures 99.5% of the dust and the ability to store 40 pounds of dust in the collection chamber. In addition to this, the airflow from the system keeps the blade cool to the touch reducing friction and heat caused by the action of cutting and helps to further extend the life of your blade.
iQ Masonry Saw Review
The iQMS362 has proven to be an excellent table saw. It is especially perfect for those cuts that you require perfect perpendicular cuts. Materials like wall coping or wall block and especially pool coping to get the perfect appearance from the cuts. This helps to not only put excellent craftsmanship into each of our projects, but to also provide the professionalism of not letting dust fly on the job site.
Evidently with just a table saw, we still require a demo saw to complete those in-place cuts for patios. But having a table saw in our arsenal to bring out whenever it is required is an absolute must.
The saw itself is not too big that it is a nuisance in storage and transportation, but it could be just a little bit larger to be able to cut 6″ wall block which tends to be a standard in the hardscape industry. That being said, iQ is coming out with a larger table saw that will be able to cut to 8″ in depth. However, at that point the saw is massive and requires equipment to move the saw around.
There are a few complaints that we have seen in regards to the iQMS362. Some claim that the saw is too slow, but this is when compared to gas powered saws or saws without the dust collection system included in the saw. Others require a generator to operate the saw because it trips the breakers in homes when plugged into an outlet. We have not experienced this same problem. The most common problem is with the brushes in the saw head. However, this is an extremely easy fix with new brushes. It would be beneficial to just order new brushes for your saw to have them on hand so there is no downtime if your brushes wear out.
Cutting dry is no longer feasible. The health concerns to you, your employees, and everyone in the immediate area is well documented. By investing in the right tools, you can use them to help further the reason why clients should hire your company. Lean into the dustless environment that your company produces and the difference in equipment that your company uses. This will help you stand out just a little bit further in the market while also making your client and neighbors happier in the process.