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The impressive rotational power of an angle grinder spins a blade at around 10,000 RPM. When used with an abrasive masonry or diamond cutoff blade, they can easily cut through brick. DIYers who want to increase the value of their home with a brick patio, walkway, fireplace, or water feature can follow these steps to slice through brick with an angle grinder.
Masonry Cuts with an Angle Grinder
Brick walkways and patios are attractive, long-lasting, and suitable for installation by a non-professional. Unless you’ve chosen to lay bricks in a cut-free pattern, such as basket weave, you will need to slice through brick. Three-dimensional brick projects, such as fireplaces or water features, invariably require cutting.
An angle grinder is one of the best tools for this job. Different blades are available for different materials and projects. For this project, you will need a 60 or 80 grit masonry or diamond cutoff blade.
How to Cut Bricks With an Angle Grinder
- Set up a work surface near your project site. Two sawhorses and a piece of plywood is an ideal set up. A non-slip mat will help keep the bricks in place while you’re cutting. Save your energy and avoid carrying bricks back and forth to your workshop. Note that cutting bricks will generate a significant amount of dust. If possible, it is best to cut brick away from open windows, cars, and swimming pools.
- Run an outdoor-rated extension cord from a GFCI outlet. If the power fluctuates, a GFCI outlet will ensure your safety by stopping the flow of electricity to the angle grinder. Wait to plug in the grinder until just before you are ready to start working.
- Select the first brick for cutting and place it on the workbench. The part of the brick you’re not intending to use is called the waste. Using a straightedge and a pencil, mark your cut. You can also use a piece of masking tape. Extend the mark down the sides of the brick.
- Attach a 60 or 80 grit masonry or diamond cuttoff blade that matches the size and speed of your angle grinder. Discs are rated for use at a maximum number of RPMs. Using a higher RPM angle grinder with a mismatched disc is extremely dangerous.
- Adjust the guard. It protects your face from the small pieces of brick that the angle grinder may fling into the air. Put on your protective equipment. A dust mask is essential to protect your respiratory tract from the effects of brick dust. Goggles will keep your eyes clear and safe.
- Plug in your angle grinder and perform a one-minute disc check. To check the integrity of your disc, let it spin freely for 60 seconds. If the disc is defective or improperly installed, you’ll see wobbling or feel vibration.
- With the disc check completed, you are ready to cut the brick using an angle grinder. Keep both hands on the machine and orient it at a 90 degree angle. The blade must be perpendicular to the surface of the brick. Without adding pressure or pushing down, allow the blade to enter the brick. If you’re using thin brick or a large angle grinder, you may be able to complete the cut in one pass.
- For larger bricks or smaller angle grinders, cut as deeply as you can. Remove the blade at the same angle, without tilting or twisting it. Turn off the angle grinder and wait for the blade to stop spinning. When the blade has stopped, it is safe to put the angle grinder down.
- If you couldn’t cut all the way through your brick, don’t worry. Align the partial cut with the edge of your workbench. The waste side of the brick should be hanging off the edge. Using a hammer, tap the part of the brick you want to remove. It will fall away, leaving a slightly rough surface.
- Turn the angle grinder on again and let it get up to full speed. Run the blade almost parallel to the brick, shaving off any remaining waste. When you are done, turn the angle grinder off and allow the blade to stop spinning before you set it down.
Is an Angle Grinder the Best Tool for Cutting Brick?
There are two main drawbacks of cutting brick with an angle grinder.
- First, it produces a lot of dust. Not only is it unpleasant to work in a dust cloud, dust can clog the intake vent of your angle grinder and cause it to overheat. Using a wet angle grinder will control the spread of construction dust. Also make sure to wear a dust mask with respiration control.
- Second, you may not be able to cut all the way through the brick in one pass with an angle grinder. A powerful reciprocating saw is an appropriate substitute that solves this problem.
Speaking of tools you may already own, a circular saw fitted with a masonry blade will make clean cuts, and produce much less dust. Expect each cut to take longer if you go this route. A circular saw rotates around 6,000 RPM, compared to a more powerful angle grinder which clocks speeds of 10,000 RPM.
Believe it or not, it’s even possible to cut bricks without power tools! A cold chisel or mason’s hammer can be used to score the cut line and snap the brick, similar to the process described in step eight. While this approach may be feasible for very small projects, it is exhausting and time consuming and therefore not recommended.
Angle grinder can be used to safely and quickly cut bricks to size for your next outdoor beautification project. Use a 60 or 80 grit diamond blade for the best results. Smaller angle grinders may not be able to cut through the brick in one pass; use a cold chisel or masonry hammer to finish the cut. Angle grinders are dangerous when used improperly. Always follow safety guidelines to protect yourself and others from injury.