For the work that our company does most often we’re cutting concrete slabs, concrete pavers and block, and clay pavers. For us, there are a few choices to make. The first of which is which type of material of the above will we be cutting with our masonry saws. Many clay pavers tend to be a lot harder than concrete pavers, requiring a different matrix bond. In general, when choosing the bond hardness of your diamond blade, as the hardness of the material you’re cutting increases, the bond hardness of your blade should decrease. The reason for this is when the blade is cutting a softer, more abrasive material, a softer bond would get worn more quickly, releasing the diamond bits too quickly as well, shortening the life of the blade. A harder material may make the matrix seem brittle, breaking apart the diamond bits of a hard matrix.
Another consideration is the grit size of the diamonds. Just like sandpaper, diamond blades with larger grit sizes (diamond pieces) will work through a material more quickly than smaller grit blades. And just like sandpaper, there is a tradeoff between grit size and the finish of the material being cut. Hit a fine piece of cherry with 60 grit sandpaper and it’ll look worse than before you started sanding. Cut glass with a large grit diamond blade and it’ll cut quickly, but it’ll look pretty rough when you’re done. For masonry saws in general, a larger grit blade won’t sacrifice the look of the brick or concrete being cut, and it will save precious labor hours.
You can also choose between masonry saw blades that have great space between segments, allowing for greater cooling. A turbo-segmented blade (T-seg) has small vertical cuts in each of the diamond segments which allow more air to pass through the blade, keeping it cooler and extending it’s life. This also seems to allow the blade to cut a little quicker. At least it seems like it.
There’s also a wide-slot blade that looks more like a ripping blade you might find on a circular saw. More air gets it, keeps the blade cooler. The flipside is, there’s less cutting material on the blade, which could slow the cutting process. Lastly there’s the standard segmented blade. These are a great blade to begin with if you aren’t sure what kind of blades will work best for your masonry cutting tools.