Learn to cut pavers safely and finally knock out those outdoor projects you’ve been dreaming about. Installing paver patios and walkways is one of the best ways to spruce up your home’s curb appeal. While labor intensive, paver installation is fairly DIY-friendly, meaning you can save money by doing the job yourself. What intimidates many homeowners from DIY paver installation is cutting the pavers. It can seem daunting if you’re unfamiliar with cutting pavers.
However, cutting pavers is easier and can be done with various tools. We’ve provided step-by-step instructions for cutting pavers with tools like circular saws, angle grinders, chisels, and table masonry saws.
- Before You Begin
- Safety Considerations
- What You’ll Need
- How to Cut Pavers with a Chisel and Hammer
- How to Cut Pavers with a Circular Saw or Angle Grinder
- How to Cut Pavers with a Table Masonry Saw
Before You Begin
The different methods for cutting pavers allow you to tailor the project toward tools you already have and the method you feel most comfortable with. However, each has advantages and disadvantages that may make it better or worse for the project.
Here are some of the advantages of each paver-cutting method:
- Chisel: The chisel method is easy for beginners and utilizes tools you likely already have. If not, these tools are relatively inexpensive. However, if you’re looking for precision cuts or have a lot of cuts to make, this isn’t the best method.
- Circular Saw: A circular saw fitted with a diamond blade will quickly cut pavers cleanly. However, this tool can be hard to use for those who aren’t familiar with them.
- Angle Grinder: An angle grinder is excellent for making minor, detailed cuts in pavers. However, using an angle grinder extensively is hard on your back and creates a lot of dust, as you can’t fit a water source into an angle grinder.
- Table Masonry Saw: A table masonry saw is a favorite among hardscape installers, as it’s ideal for cutting down on dust, making clean, precise cuts, and saving your back because it doesn’t require bending over during cutting. However, these saws are expensive, so we recommend homeowners rent instead of buy.
Power saws are dangerous and should be used with extreme caution. Always wear eye and ear protection and keep your hands and feet away from the blade. Cutting pavers and other masonry products produces silica dust. Use a dust collection system or a wet saw and wear a dust mask rated for silica dust.
Cutting masonry dry produces a lot of dangerous silica dust and is illegal in many states. Check with your local laws before doing so.
What You’ll Need
Equipment / Tools
- Cold chisel
- Circular saw with a diamond blade
- Angle grinder with a diamond blade
- Table masonry saw
- Chalk marker
- Non-slip mat or clamp
- Water source or dust-collection system
- Eye and ear protection
- Dust mask
How to Cut Pavers with a Chisel and Hammer
Cutting pavers with a chisel is more accessible and perfect for quickly cutting a small number of pavers.
Score the Surface
Line up the cold chisel with your cut line and tap the top with a hammer just hard enough to score the paver’s surface. Work your way around the entirety of the paver, going slightly deeper with each pass.
Break the Paver
If the paver didn’t break during the scoring process, place it on a second paver with the discard side hanging off the edge. Place your foot on the paver and hit the discard side with a hammer or mallet to break it off.
Clean the Cut Face
Clean the newly exposed face with a chisel if you want it to be smooth.
How to Cut Pavers with a Circular Saw or Angle Grinder
A circular saw with a diamond blade will make quick work of numerous precision paver cuts, while an angle grinder with a diamond blade is perfect for detail cuts around downspouts and other objects.
Place the Paver on a Non-Slip Surface
Place the paver on a non-slip surface, such as a rubber mat, to keep the paver from sliding when the circular saw blade makes contact. If you don’t have a non-slip surface, clamp the paver to your work surface.
Adjust the Blade Depth
Adjust the saw’s blade to a depth of no more than 1/4 inch for the first pass.
Cut Along the Line
Cut along your line slowly, letting the saw’s blade do the work rather than forcing it. After each pass, increase the blade’s depth.
Repeat on the Opposite Side
Flip the paver over and repeat the cutting process to score the opposite side.
Break the Paver
When both sides have been scored, use the method in the chisel and hammer section above to break the paver or slide a cold chisel into the score line and break the remaining material.
How to Cut Pavers with a Table Masonry Saw
A table masonry saw is the only way for large paver installations with plenty of precision cuts.
Attach the Dust Collection System or Water Source
If your saw is a dry saw with a dust collection system, set it up before making any cuts, as this method produces a lot of dust. If your masonry saw is a wet saw, attach the water source.
While cutting pavers wet is highly effective at cutting down on dust, it creates a slurry mess as the dust dissolves in the water. When left to dry in the surroundings, the slurry can be challenging to remove. Prevent this by occasionally rinsing the slurry after your cuts.
Align the Paver
Place the paver on the saw’s sled and line up the cut line with the blade. Rest the back of the paver against the lip of the sled.
Cut the Paver
Turn on the saw. After it reaches full speed, safely position your hands on the paver and slowly push it toward the blade until the blade passes through the paver. Bring the sled back to its original position.
Remove the Pieces
Shut off the saw and remove the paver pieces after the blade comes to a complete stop.