How to cut paving slabs

Written by dena e. bolton
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When designing patios, walkways or other types of hardscapes with paving slabs, there invariably comes a point when you must cut a slab to fit into a given area. You may have reached the end of your walkway, for example, and the area only requires a slab half the size of what you used on the rest of the walkway. You may want to add smaller slabs around the edge of your patio for a decorative effect. Whatever the reason, you must cut the paving slab. There are several ways to cut paving slabs, and not all methods are as difficult as you might think.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Hammer and chisel (optional)
  • Guillotine paving stone splitter (optional)
  • Diamond-tipped masonry saw or concrete saw (optional)
  • Pencil or chalk
  • Protective eye wear

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  1. 1

    Mark the place you want to cut on your paving slab. Use whatever is handy--a pencil or chalk, for instance.

  2. 2

    Use a chisel and mallet to cut the paving slab. Score along the line you drew by simply hitting the chisel firmly with the mallet. Do not try to cut the paving slab with one or two hits of the mallet on the chisel. It is better to work your way across the length of the paving slab and then go back to the beginning to start another pass, going deeper into the slab each time until it snaps in two.

  3. 3

    Use a guillotine paving stone splitter to cut the slab. Place the paving slab into the slot on the machine with the line where the blade will come down onto it. Bring the level down firmly onto the slab. Repeat this several times until the slab snaps in two.

  4. 4

    Use a diamond-tipped blade masonry saw or concrete saw to cut the paving slab. This works just like a hand-held power saw that you would use to cut wood. The diamond-tipped blade, however, will cut through the stone, whereas a blade for a regular wood saw will not. Run some water along the area you wish to cut while running the saw. This will keep the saw blade from burning up and make it easier to make your cut.

Tips and warnings

  • You can usually rent a guillotine paving stone splitter and a masonry saw from local equipment rental places. Be sure to ask the person helping you about anything you need to know about operating their particular piece of equipment.
  • If at all possible, try not to cut off very small pieces of stone. It is easier if you cut them in half.
  • Wear protective eyeglasses when cutting stone. You do not want pieces flying up and hitting you in the eye.

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