What are the Best Tips for Cutting Pavers?

Anna B. Smith

When cutting pavers, use a hammer and chisel or diamond-bladed saw to perform the work. Mark all edges carefully with a tool that will not erase easily, such as chalk in a contrasting color or a felt-tipped marker. Cut edging pieces as required by the project and lay them into place immediately.

Table saws installed with diamond-edged blades can be used to cut tiles.
Table saws installed with diamond-edged blades can be used to cut tiles.

Pavers are any stone-like material that can be used to construct a patio, walkway, or driveway. They are typically made of hard, durable material and are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. The most common substances used are clay brick, natural stone, and concrete.

Pavers should be cut into identical, evenly-sized pieces.
Pavers should be cut into identical, evenly-sized pieces.

Most paving projects require some degree of cutting to fit the materials into existing areas. Cut pieces only as required and not in advance. Lay the paver down into the space where it will ultimately rest, and mark its surface along the edges of the features for which it must accommodate. After the cuts have been made, fit the piece into the design and make sure that it does not rest unevenly against other pavers. Inaccurate sizing can cause stress on the surrounding stones and result in fractures over time.

The least expensive means of cutting pavers are a chisel and hammer or rubber mallet. Measure where the paver needs to be cut, then use the chisel to etch the mark into the brick or stone. Tap the chisel along the line on all four sides of the paver. The two pieces should separate somewhat easily. Rough edges may be sanded down by hand.

Using a hammer and chisel for cutting pavers by hand is time consuming. A large area with multiple curves and uneven edges can require dozens of cuts throughout the course of a project. For this type of design, use a hand or table saw and equip it with a diamond-edged blade. This type of blade provides optimum durability and can cut through concrete, stone, tile, and granite without fracturing the surface or damaging the tool. Keep a hammer and chisel on hand, however, as these tools are the most accurate available for any areas that may require cutting on an angle.

Diamond-bladed table saws may be rented from equipment rental and construction companies. Professional grade machinery will generally come equipped with a water tray that allows the blade to stay cool while cutting, and prevents an excess of dust from hovering in the air. This type of tool needs to be set on a flat surface, and the operator should wear safety goggles at all times.

Patios and walkways may curve around existing landscape features, such as shrubs, trees, and ponds. Cutting pavers around these can be very difficult and should generally be left to professional contractors and landscaping designers. To cut pavers that form an interior design, complete the design out past the edges of the project area. Lay a garden hose over the pavers as a guide and mark the curve with a piece of chalk. Cut each piece individually, straight along the chalk mark, laying them back down into the design as work progresses.

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