an installer laying block paving in a garden patio area.

How to cut paving slabs

Darius Negahbani Darius Negahbani Monday 24th June, 2019

If you’re renovating your garden and creating a patio or paved area, it's likely that you'll need to cut your slabs to fit your design. Cutting paving slabs by hand is easy and there are several ways to do it. In this blog post we share the steps for the 3 best ways to cut paving slabs:

1. Cutting paving slabs with a chisel and hammer

2. Cutting paving slabs with a hand-held saw

3. Cutting paving slabs with block and slab splitters

And, if you're looking to create curves with your paving we have some tips for cutting curved slabs too.



Cutting paving slabs with a chisel and hammer is a time-honoured way of getting the job done. It’s arguably the simplest and most fuss-free method, and requires the fewest tools. It’s also one of the safest techniques when it comes to cutting garden paving – so if you’re not confident using power tools, this might be the best option for you. 

What tools do I need?

  • Pitching chisel or bolster chisel
  • Lump hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Protective gloves
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or chalk

Step 1 - Measure the paver length
Your first step is to measure out the space you want to fill with your paver and then use chalk or pencil to clearly mark the required size on your slab. Use a spirit level for straight lines and a neat finish.

Step 2 - Cut the paver 

Grab your hammer and chisel to cut the pavers. Hold the chisel just outside of the line you’ve drawn on the slab and tap gently but firmly with the hammer until the brick splits. Use the chisel to knock off any sharp, uneven edges and help you create a neat finish.

Step 3 - Slot in the paver 

When you’re happy with the straight, even edges to your newly sized paver, slot it into its allotted space and ta[ it with a rubber hammer to make sure it's firmly in place.


Whether you’re laying your patio on concrete or any other material, a circular saw will help you get the job done in no time. But be sure to use a diamond masonry blade, rather than the standard blade used for cutting wood, which wouldn't be strong enough to saw through paving slabs.

What tools do I need?

  • Skill saw or Stihl saw (must be a diamond-tipped blade)
  • Work stand with adjustable sides
  • Rubber hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Protective gloves
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or chalk

What materials do I need?

  • Water in a bucket

Step 1 - Set up your work stand
Set up your work stand and ensure the sides are adjusted to the length of the paver you’ll be working with.

Step 2 - Measure the paver length
​Using a tape measure, take the measurements of the space where you’ll need to install the paver and then, with chalk or pencil, mark up lines on the paving slab where it needs to be cut.

Top tip: Dip the paver in a little water to reduce dust levels – it will ensure greater accuracy when you’re cutting the paver.

Step 3 - Cut the paver with the saw

Secure the paving slab in the work stand and cut through it with the saw, using your chalk or pencil lines as a guide. Depending on its thickness, you might have to lift the blade and only cut through a little of the paver, then turn it over and repeat.

Use your judgement as to whether you’ll need to lower the blade more than once and simply keep lowering and cutting until you have a clean break.

Step 4 - Slot in the paver

Lay the paver in the space it’s required and tap it firmly in place with a rubber hammer.


Also known as a guillotine or block cutter, the block and slab splitter is quicker than a saw and produces lest dust. This means it’s often the preferred method of getting the job done. However, if you’re hiring one to use yourself, get in plenty of practice as it requires a level of skill. 

What tools do I need?

  • Block splitter
  • Rubber hammer
  • Safety glasses
  • Protective gloves
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil or chalk

Step 1 - Set up the block splitter 
Choose a location where the ground is level and stable to set up your block splitter. Make sure you have plenty of room around you.

Step 2 - Measure the paver length
Use a tape measure to assess the size of the space where you’ll need to install the paver. Using chalk or pencil, mark lines on the slab where it needs to be cut.

Step 3 - Cut the paver
Raise the handle of the splitter and insert your paving block, positioning it so that the blade hits the block at the right position. Lower the handle until the blade has sliced right through the brick.

Step 4 - Lay in place
As with the other methods, once the paver is cut it’s time to place it in the space and tap it firmly with a rubber hammer until it’s level.​


Using any of the three methods above, cutting paving slabs is a relatively easy way to achieve a clean, straight garden paving design. It becomes a little trickier if you’re after a curved effect.

A curved edge or circle can bring a new dimension to your outdoor space, but you’ll need to cut your pavers at an angle to get the look. While you can use a chisel and mallet to do this, you may find you get a more precise cut with power tools.

Using a circular saw. Mark up the paver as outlined in all the above methods and set it up on supports, ensuring the marked-up area is over the space between the stands.

Use a masonry blade to cut along your marked line – it may take a couple of attempts depending on the thickness of the brick. Practice is needed to create the perfect curve but if you find your cutting leaves burrs or uneven edging, you can file it down with a coarse metal file or use a grinding wheel to grind it off. This should then give you curved pavers that fit in perfectly with your garden paving design.

Prefer to have your paving cut and installed by an expert? Get in touch today or click here to find your nearest Marshalls-accredited installer.

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