Garden Advice

How to Cut Paving Slabs

If you are renovating and enhancing your garden with a new patio, you will inevitably run into the tedious task of cutting a paving slab. While it’s not too complicated of a process, it does have its specifics and different methodologies depending on your equipment and skills.

So if you,

  • Have a small area in your garden where you want to lay some paving slabs, but have never done it before;
  • Need to cut a hole in a slab; 
  • Have both an angle grinder and circular saw and are wondering which one to use,

Then read along and learn how to cut paving slabs the right way.

How to cut paving slabs with a chisel and hammer

The chisel and hammer is the most basic but tried and true method to cut soft paving slabs. It is also very useful if you only need to remove a small portion of the slab and not a big chunk.

You will need the following materials before starting:

  • Hammer
  • Chisels (pitching and bolster)
  • Carpenter’s pencil or chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • Work gloves
  • Protective glasses

With all the materials on hand, you can now begin.

  1. Measure the space where you want to place the paving slab and transfer the measurements onto the slab.
  2. Position the smaller chisel on the markings and start tapping with your hammer. The chisel will score a groove in the slab.
  3. Keep hammering your way, following the marking. Depending on the hardness of your slab, you may have to go over it two or three times until you get a good groove. Be patient and do not use too much force. Otherwise, you might chip off a part of the slab that you don’t want to.
  4. Grab your brick set chisel and go over the groove again. Hit more firmly this time. If the groove has been done well, the slab should split even before you reach the other side of the cutline.

You will likely have some uneven bits on your slab after removing the unnecessary part. Chip those away using your brick set chisel.

How to cut paving slabs with a power tool (angle grinder/power saw)

With a power tool, you can cut through any paving material. It comes in handy for hard materials such as porcelain, granite, and concrete. Mind you, cutting with a power tool produces dust clouds and residue, so appropriate protective equipment is essential.

You will need the following materials:

  • Work gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Protective glasses
  • Ear protection
  • Pencil or chalk
  • Measuring tape
  • A power saw (angle grinder or circular saw)
  • A diamond masonry blade
  • Workbench
  • C-clamps

After gathering your tools and materials, it’s time to get to cutting.

  1. Measure the space where you plan to place the slab and transfer the measurement to the actual slab.
  2. Secure the slab to the workbench with your c-clamps. This step is not entirely mandatory, as you can cut your slab on the grass. However, for safety reasons, it’s highly recommended.
  3. Cut along the marked line. Do this several times, then flip the stone and cut it on the other side.
  4. Grab the slab and hit it gently on the ground. After a few hits, the excess part will break off, leaving you with a clean-cut piece.

An angle grinder or a power saw is really useful when you need to cut paving slabs in curves. All you need to do is follow the curved line with the power tool.

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How to cut paving slabs with a slab splitter

Slab splitters are guillotine-like machines that are perfect when you need to cut some heavy-duty paving. Unlike power tools, with these, you don’t get dust and debris when cutting. On the other hand, you need plenty of space in your garden for the machine.

First, gather your tools:

  • Slab splitter (if you won’t use it often, consider renting one instead of buying)
  • Measuring tape
  • Carpenter’s pencil or chalk
  • Protective gloves

Now that you’re ready, let’s start

  1. Place your block splitter somewhere in your garden where the ground is level and stable. You also need plenty of room around the machine.
  2. Mark out the slab and where it needs to be cut.
  3. Raise the handle and place the slab where the blade will hit the marking.
  4. Lower the handle and watch as the blade slices through the slab.

Hire professionals

Regular garden activities such as lawn mowing and planting are one thing, but things tend to be a little more complicated when it comes to landscaping. If you feel you’re not up to the task of cutting your paving slabs, then consider hiring professionals. 

Fantastic Services works with experienced and fully equipped landscapers who will perform a paving service in a stress-free manner. All you need to do is tell us where you want your new pavement.


  • Cutting your paving slabs with a chisel and hammer is the most labour-intensive process, but it allows for smaller, more detailed cutting.
  • Using a power tool requires protective gear for your ears, eyes, and respiratory system.
  • Block splitters cut slabs easily, but require room and some getting used to.


What method did you use to cut your slabs? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Image source: Shuterstock / Sergii_Petruk

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