How to Make Holes in Concrete (Neatly!)

July 12, 2013 at 1:29 pm
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Making a hole in concrete or tarmac can be easy, but if you want a professional finish to your work, you should aim for clean and neat edges. Follow this step by step guide to get a neat edge on your work using a stone saw.

Estimated time to allow

Up to an hour per hole, depending on the size of the hole and depth of concrete/tarmac.

Tools

Stone Saw
Sledgehammer
Shovel
Iron Bar
Spirit Level (or another long, straight edge)
Breaker (optional)
Chalk
Dust Mask
Appropriate PPE (gloves, eye protection)

Instructions

  1. Using the chalk and spirit level (or another long, straight edge), mark on the concrete or tarmac the edges of the hole that you’ll be cutting out.
  2. Using the stone saw, cut carefully along the marked lines.
    TIPS:
    • Try to cut as deeply as possible in a single pass, as if your cuts are too shallow you’ll pass on more stress to the concrete that you’re trying to protect when you begin to break up the concrete in the section to be removed, potentially cracking it.
    • Multiple passes with the stone saw will result in untidy edges to the hole.
    • In the corners you will have to overrun your marks slightly, so try and keep these overruns as short as possible in order to keep the work looking tidy. You can mark lines to overrun to, so that these look neat and consistent.
    • Wetting the concrete (and using the stone saw’s hose connection if it has one) will keep the dust levels down.
  3. Once you have cut the outline of the hole, you can make multiple cuts across the section to be removed in order to reduce the work that you’ll have to do with the breaker or sledgehammer. This not only reduces the amount of effort and sweat, but will protect the concrete that you’re retaining from the stress from a vibrating breaker, or shockwaves from an enthusiastically wielded sledgehammer.
    TIPS: 
    •  Try to make sure that your cuts do not go as far as your outline cuts. We recommend enough cuts to eventually leave a grid of 6 inch (150mm) squares.
  4. Use a sledgehammer or breaker to finally break up the section of concrete that you’re removing, removing any rubble as you go and working as gently as possible when close to the edges of the hole.

Product Recommendation

The Titan Breaker that we used for this job really is an outstanding piece of kit, putting its significantly more expensive counterparts to shame. If you were working this breaker hard every day, it probably would give up quicker than the DeWalt or Makita equivalent, but don’t forget that you can go through 3 of these for the same price as a DeWalt or Makita. To give you some idea of the product’s lifespan, ours did 3 years of hard work (with no maintenance) before giving up. For £170, you won’t find a better breaker.