Cutting Tips for Paving Slabs

Paving slabs may be cut quite successfully using a bolster (a broad-edged cold chisel) and a club hammer. However, you may need some practice to get this technique right, otherwise the edges may look untidy.

  1. Place the slab on a firm, flat surface and, using the corner of a bolster and a straight edge, score a groove on both faces and edges to mark the cutting line.
  2. Using a bolster and club hammer, chisel a groove about 3 mm (1/8 in) deep along this line.
  3. Work the chisel along the line several times to define and deepen the groove.
  4. Place the slab on a firm surface and raise the smaller part of the slab to be cut onto a length of timber.
  5. Tap the slab sharply with the handle of a club hammer until a split forms along the line of the groove.
  6. Trim any rough pieces carefully with the bolster.

Always wear goggles when cutting paving blocks.

If you have many slabs to cut, it may be best to hire a power saw or block splitter. A power saw will produce a number of fast, neat cuts, although some cuts may still need to be trimmed by hand.

Hydraulic or manual block splitters 'squeeze' the slab between an upper and a lower blade, exerting such a force than the slab snaps along the line of the blades. Splitters are simple to use and have no lethal moving parts - unlike power saws. They are available at most tool hire centres. However, care must be taken to support the offcuts from the splitter, to ensure that they do not drop and break on the floor. Place a piece of foam rubber or an old rug on the ground to reduce breakages.