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jonkeegan
Cutting concrete pavers
jonkeegan

Hello! I have to cut a bunch of concrete pavers (18" square x 1.5" fake bluestone) to fit the dimensions for steps on this planter I am building. I need to trim about 1.5" off each one. I haven't ever cut or trimmed concrete pavers like this before, and I'm wondering what the best approach would be.

I don't have a wet saw, and I'd imagine I'd need a big one for this. I suppose I can use a diamond blade in my regular circular saw right? Would that cut through such thick pavers?

Thanks!

A. Spruce
Re: Cutting concrete pavers
A. Spruce

A wet saw would be preferable, however, not sure if you can just run down to the rental yard and get a masonry wet saw, as opposed to a tile wet saw. The difference would be capacity of the saw to cut the thickness, so if you do try to rent a wet saw, make sure you tell them what you're cutting.

Yes, you could do the same thing with your circular saw and a diamond blade, be forewarned, it will be extremely dusty, make sure you've got good dust masks. I'd also recommend setting up a jig so that you get easy, repeatable cuts. With a dry saw, you're going to take multiple shallow cuts of about half an inch at a time. I would recommend making a cut on both sides of the stone so that you get a clean break, then put your cut edges inward so that they can't be seen when the steps are finished. Because you're taking off so little, you will want to cut at least 2/3 of the thickness before trying to break it off.

jonkeegan
Re: Cutting concrete pavers
jonkeegan

Hey thanks, that's like EXACTLY the advice I was looking for. I think I will go the diamond blade route, and the jig is a GREAT idea. I have 18 of these to cut (since I screwed up the dimensions). The cuts will definitely be hidden against the planter wall, so should be pretty concealed. Thank you!

here's a photo of my schematic and where it's at now. The first row will be level with the bottom of the planter embedded in the ground. https://www.dropbox.com/s/wdpnei48hwaq5xe/planter.jpg?dl=0

A. Spruce
Re: Cutting concrete pavers
A. Spruce

Other tips, wear hearing protection, eye protection and lung protection, and when trying to break off your cuts, fully support the save portion of the stone, then carefully whack the waste portion with a hammer. With a good depth of cut from both sides of the stone, it should break of fairly clean. You can use a cold chisel to clean up any raggedness left behind OR make another pass with your circular saw.

dj1
Re: Cutting concrete pavers
dj1

More advice, if I may:

- Use a garden hose dripping on the stones to cool the blade. This will cut down on the dust and save your blade.

- Don't push/force your saw. Let it do the job while you are guiding it. You push it, you may cause a motor failure.

A. Spruce
Re: Cutting concrete pavers
A. Spruce
dj1 wrote:

More advice, if I may:

No . . . you . . . may . . . not! :p:cool:

Good point on not forcing the saw, I would also include that this is a job for a worm drive type saw, not a sidewinder,aka, direct drive saw.

I'm not a fan of water being in the same vicinity as an electrical power tool not suited to the task. Personally, I've never really had heat issues with diamond blades, so long as they're not forced through the material. For dust control, setting up a strong fan near your cutting space will absolutely help direct the dust away from you while you're cutting. One last thing on dust, be aware of others in the vicinity, you don't want to "smoke" them out either, pets and animals included.

Mastercarpentry
Re: Cutting concrete pavers
Mastercarpentry

All good advice so far, but I differ on what saw to use here. The dust created by sawing is going to be highly abrasive and floating right back unto the saw motor cooling vents where it will do no good for bearings, motor armatures, gears, bearing seals and the like. My diamond concrete blade is mounted on a cheap piece of crap saw for that reason- I'd rather buy another "$20 pawn shop special" like it than to chance ruining any of my good saws. Since I don't use that rig regularly in my line of work I can deal with the lower power, the loss of my time is insignificant while the cost of a good saw isn't.

Few materials cannot be cut dry. The reason wet cutting is used is to keep the blade cool and to do the same for the material. If you cut slowly enough neither will heat up to the point of having a problem. The water cooling simply speeds production and helps keep the dust down. A wet saw is nice but rarely necessary for the occasional cutting most DIY'ers will encounter.

Phil

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