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For the most part, when you are installing a new patio, your pavers/paving slabs will fit neatly alongside one another, keeping things relatively simple. But to think you will be able to avoid cutting at all is foolish as you only need to look around the edges or any inconsistencies in the shape of the patio to realise that you’re going to need to cut at least some of the stones.
Cutting masonry is much different to cutting wood so you’ll need to make sure you have the right tools for the job. If you’ve looked in your workshop and have found yourself staring at your circular saw and angle grinder, you may be wondering which to use. So, what’s better? An angle grinder or circular saw for cutting pavers?
Truth be told, both of these tools will do a pretty good job when it comes to cutting pavers. But the key is to make sure that you have the right blades. Using a standard blade simply won’t do it so diamond blades are the way forward.
Also, keep in mind that a circular saw is traditionally designed for cutting wood while an angle grinder is designed largely for working with metal and other tough materials. It’ll also work well for grinding and polishing. Generally speaking, you would opt for an angle grinder over a circular saw where possible, but as we have mentioned, both tools will work well.
So, let’s take a look at what methods you will need to use when working with either of these tools.
An angle grinder is perfectly designed to work with harder, more dense materials like concrete so is the ideal tool for cutting pavers. It’ll work well when making both straight and curved cuts but you should always make sure that the proper safety precautions are in place as these tools can be pretty dangerous when not used correctly. Here comes our step by step guide on using an angle grinder to cut pavers.
Before you even think about cutting anything, you will need to make sure that you have properly prepared your workspace. If you are working indoors then it’s a good idea to lay down a tarp or plastic cover as cutting the pavers will create a lot of dust. On the other hand, if you are working outside, then you’ll want to close any windows and perhaps tell your neighbours to expect an oncoming plume.
Choose your work surface carefully. Most importantly make sure that it is flat. You will also need to be certain that the paver will not move around while you are cutting it so laying down some kind of rubber sheeting is a wise idea.
You will now need to measure out the area you intend to cut. Choose a rule and a pencil to make a line on the paver where you wish to cut. Of course, if you’re making a curved cut, ditch the ruler. It can also help to extend your markings down the side of the stone to make sure you get an accurate cut all around.
Now it’s time to put on your protective gear which may include goggles, gloves and ear defenders. One of the most important things to wear is a dust mask or respirator, especially if you are working indoors as this will prevent you from breathing in any particles.
Using a diamond blade is by far the best option for cutting pavers as your regular angle grinder discs won’t be up for the challenge. That said, many people also have success with a silicon carbide masonry blade but while these are generally cheaper, they probably won’t last as long. You’ll need to attach your chosen disc to the spindle before starting.
Also, keep in mind that you will need to choose a disc that fits your angle grinder. The size will be detailed both on the packaging and on the disc itself so check this before you start. Another key thing to look out for is the maximum RPM that the disc can handle; make sure that it is compatible with your tool.
Give your angle grinder the once over to make sure that it is in good working order. When you’re sure of this, now check that the safety guard is in place and that the angle grinder is connected to a source of power. Before you start cutting, you should allow the disc to spin for around one minute; this will help it to warm up which in turn will improve its performance. More importantly, making sure that the disc is at full speed before you start using it will reduce any risk of injury.
Bring your angle grinder down towards the material at a right angle and try to keep this as you move through the cut. There is no need to apply any pressure to the tool and the motion of the disc will do all the cutting. The only thing you need to do is to make sure that the tool stays on course.
Depending on the size of your angle grinder, you may be able to cut through the whole paver in one go. However, if your tool is a little smaller then you might need to flip the paver and finish cutting on the other side. This is where those edge markings come in handy. Before turning the paver, switch off the angle grinder and make sure it comes to a full stop.
While an angle grinder is probably the best tool to use for cutting pavers, it is still possible to get the job done using a circular saw. If you don’t have an angle grinder, this might be your best option just make sure that you have a diamond blade that will be able to handle the stone. Here’s our easy step by step guide.
The first step is to replace the normal blade with that diamond blade we have talked about. While the process may vary from tool to tool, generally speaking, you will have to remove a washer and a bolt to get the old blade off and then use these to secure the new one.
Now that your blade is installed, you’ll need to adjust the depth of the circular saw and for this type of work, we would recommend setting it to ¼ inch. You’ll normally find a knob or a lever on the side of the saw which helps you to do this. Again, this will vary depending on the brand and model. You may need to adjust the depth further as you cut but starting off small means that there is less chance of the blade kicking or binding.
Now is the time to measure your pavers. Much like before, you will need to mark the lines clearly. If the pencil won’t show up well enough then you could use chalk. Just be sure not to mark the stone with anything that won’t wash off.
If you’re worried about how much dust will be produced then you might choose to dip your paver into some water before starting. This won’t eliminate dust problems altogether but it will reduce them. That said, you’ll still want to protect surrounding surfaces.
Now it’s time to start cutting. You will need to connect your circular saw to power and start up the motor. Take your time and gradually lower the saw onto one of your lines allowing it to start making the cut. In this case, you will need to move the blade back and forth along the line as you make the cut. Go slowly and carefully to ensure you get an accurate result. Keep going until you reach the blade depth of ¼ inch that you set earlier on.
The best way to cut pavers with a circular saw is to use the flip method. Once you have made that initial cut, turn the stone over and repeat the measuring and marking process again before using your saw to finish the cut from the opposite side. You’ll now be left with a scoreline through the paver.
At this point, you’re going to need to adjust the cutting depth of your saw once again, this time to ½ inch. You can now cut into the scoreline all around the paver to this depth.
When you think about cutting pavers, you’ll immediately worry that they will break any tool you have owing to how solid they are. But the good news is that if you have an angle grinder or circular saw, you’ll be able to get the job done provided you use the right blades.
A diamond or carbide masonry blade is always the best option and while an angle grinder would be the tool of choice, a good quality circular saw can produce just as effective results.