How to Cut Brick Pavers

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Brick pavers are excellent finishing touches to hardscape projects of all kinds. They give patios, walkways, and driveways so much character – elevating your property to another level aesthetically. But installing pavers can cost between $8 and $25 per square foot

How to Cut Brick Pavers

Thankfully, you can install brick pavers yourself for a lot cheaper. But you will need to cut some of them, so they fit the layout of your project. Here’s a quick guide covering 3 methods on how to cut brick pavers.

Method #1: Hand-Cutting

Cutting your brick pavers the old-fashioned way is a good idea only if you need to cut a couple of them. 

Angle grinder ready to cut brick pavers

If your project requires you to cut dozens of bricks, you’re better off saving time and energy and using a saw or splitter for the job.

Materials Needed

You will need:

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Earplugs 
  • A carpenter’s pencil/chalk
  • A speed square
  • A cold chisel (at least ¾ inches wide)
  • A brick set (at least 3 inches wide)
  • A brick hammer

Step 1: Protect Yourself

Your safety should be the top priority at all times. As you score and split the bricks, the bricks will inevitably chip and fly towards you.

Protect your eyes with a pair of goggles, and wear gloves so the bricks don’t wear down the skin on your hands.

We also recommend wearing earplugs – better safe than sorry.

Step 2: Measure and Mark

Regardless of where you’re installing the brick pavers – be it your sidewalk or the patio – you must measure it to find the bricks’ required dimensions.

Outdoor brick tiles being laid out

Alternatively, you can measure your space and layout the project on paper ahead of time. This way, you will know the dimensions of the bricks you need beforehand.

You must then transfer the measurement to the paver. Use your pencil and your speed square to mark all the sides of the paver. Ensure that you mark the back, the front, and the sides of the brick since you need to score it on all sides.

Step 3: Score the Brick

Place the brick paver on a flat surface. While you could place the brick on the ground, a sand bed, a piece of plywood, or a few sawhorses do a much better job of deadening the hammer’s blows.

If you have access to a workbench, you can clamp the brick down on it before getting to work.

Position the edge of the cold chisel on your marking, and begin tapping the other end with your hammer. Try tapping gently at a 60-degree angle since tapping straight down may cause the brick to split. 

Alternate the chisel angle from side to side, and you will see a groove forming along the marking.

Hand holding a circular saw

After the groove is about 1/16th of an inch deep, move your chisel further along the mark and continue tapping. Repeat the process until you’ve scored the entirety of the brick. 

Scoring the brick is what requires the most patience.

Depending on the strength of the bricks, scoring may require two or three passes. Tapping hard will only cause the brick to chip off and look shabby – so make sure you take it nice and easy.

Step 4: Cut the Brick

After you finish scoring the bricks, place your brick-set chisel right in the middle of the groove. Position your hammer above the chisel’s butt, and strike it firmly. 

The brick should split into two halves along the score.

Angle grinder

If it doesn’t, don’t worry. Grab your cold chisel, and score along the cutline a little more. Then, try cutting the brick with the brick-set chisel again.

Step 5: Clean the Brick

At times, the brick may not split smoothly. If you see bits of the brick protruding from the center, use your brick-set and hammer to chip them away.

The brick is now ready for installation.

Method #2: Using a Power Saw

You could also use the power saw you have at hand to cut brick pavers. You could use an angle grinder or a circular saw for the job. However, you do need to have the right kind of blade to get it done.

If you don’t have a diamond-tipped blade, you can use a masonry or a carbide-tipped blade to cut your brick pavers.

Materials Needed

You will need:

  • Gloves
  • Goggles
  • Respirator
  • Earplugs 
  • A carpenter’s pencil/chalk
  • Power saw

Step 1: Wear Safety Gear

In addition to wearing gloves and goggles, you must put on a respirator to protect yourself from the concrete dust the power saw generates. Wearing earplugs is even more critical when using power tools.

Step 2: Measure and Mark

You must measure your patio or driveway and determine the size of bricks you need to complete the project. 

Then, use a pencil or chalk to mark the cutline of the brick according to your measurements. Marking all around the brick is the way to go. While you don’t need to score your bricks when using a power saw, the markings will help orient your cuts.

Laying brick tiles before cutting

Step 3: Cut the Brick

Power your saw on, and ensure that you’re using the right kind of blade for your saw. Begin cutting the brick along your markings.

You must remember to be gentle. Apply as little pressure as you can, and let the machine do all the work. If you have very thick pavers, flipping the brick midway through the cut will give you greater control over the power saw.

Method #3: Using A Splitter

If you have a large area you want to cover with pavers, getting your hands on a block splitter is an excellent idea. 

These tools make cutting brick, concrete pavers, and clay blocks extremely simple. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. You must first measure and mark the bricks as you would when cutting them using chisels.
  2. After you measure and mark the bricks as needed, position the paver in the middle of the splitter’s two blades.
  3. Pull down on the lever, and the paver will get squeezed between the splitter’s blades.

You don’t need to buy a splitter to cut brick pavers. The best way of going about using them is by reaching out to a local equipment rental company. They will help you find and rent the right size and type of splitter you need.

Conclusion

Now that you’ve learned three easy methods of cutting brick pavers, you don’t have to go back to the “keep pushing, the block will fit eventually” mindset.

You can use whatever tools you have at hand to make a beautiful patio, walkway, or driveway.

An expert at home repair, remodel, and DIY projects for nearly 40 years. His first experience came in completely restoring an antique home. Completely redone from the inside out, and restored to its original form, the home is a featured design by renowned Southern California Architect Cliff May, considered to be the father of the California Ranch Home. Now Dennis spends his time on fine woodworking projects and tool comparisons.