How to Cut Paver Stones When Laying a Patio or Driveway

Image: Ryobi chop saw.
Switch the blade in your saw to the "diamond" type to cut pavers with it. David Beaulieu

When using brick, stone, or concrete pavers to build a patio, driveway, or walkway, it is almost inevitable that you'll need to cut pavers to fit the layout. Here are several ways you can do it. 

Hammer and Chisel

If your layout calls for relatively few cut pavers, you can do this work with a masonry chisel and hammer. 

  1. First, score all four sides of the paver. Hold the masonry chisel against the stone and strike repeatedly with a hammer, cutting a groove about 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch deep. Do not strike too hard, or the paver may break irregularly. 
  1. When all four sides have been scored, position the chisel along one of the scored lines, and give a forceful sharp rap with the hammer. The paver should sever in a fairly neat line. 

Circular Saw With Diamond Blade

Another method of scoring pavers is to use a circular saw fitted with a diamond-tipped masonry blade. This can be a better option if you have a larger number of pavers to cut. 

  1. Set the blade to a shallow cutting depth, then score 1/4-inch deep lines on all four sides of the paver. 
  2. Use a masonry chisel and hammer to strike the paver sharply along one of the scored lines. The paver should sever neatly along the scored lines. 

While it is possible in theory to use a diamond blade in a chop saw to cut through the entire thickness of a paver, this is a very noisy, very messy, and somewhat dangerous job. It is also expensive, as you may go through several high-cost diamond blades when cutting pavers for a large patio or driveway.

It is much better to simply score the paver with the diamond blade, then finish the cut with a blow from a masonry chisel. 

Masonry Wet Saw

One of the best options, especially if you have a large job with many pavers to cut, is to lease a wet saw from a tool rental outlet or home center. A wet saw is a stationary tool that has a tub of water that keeps the blade lubricated as you cut through the entire thickness of the pavers with a diamond-tipped blade.

This tool has a sliding table that moves the paver through the spinning saw blade partially immersed in water. In addition to the rental fee, you will normally pay for the amount of wear-and-tear on the saw blade when you return the tool to the rental center.

This is a more expensive option than hand-cutting pavers, but it is very convenient and fast. Be prepared for noise and a bit of mess, though. 

Brick Splitter

Sometimes called a guillotine, a brick splitter is a non-power tool that operates somewhat like a log splitter—except that it cuts bricks and pavers. It has a distinct advantage over other methods, since it produces no dust and is much quieter than using a motorized saw. 

  1. Mark the top of the paver along the desired cutting line.
  2. Position the paver on the base of the tool so the marked line is aligned with the splitter's cutting edge. 
  3. Pull down sharply on the handle of the tool to sever the paver. 

A brick splitter is quite effective and easy to use on clay-based paver bricks, but it will require considerable effort to cut concrete pavers, and it may not work at all on natural stone pavers.