How to Cut Slate Slabs

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Slate slabs
Wooden blocks
Circular saw
Diamond-tipped masonry saw blade
Marker pen
Dust mask
Eye protection

Slate is one of the most durable and attractive types of stone for paving a garden terrace or walkway with. A natural product, it blends in particularly well with country homes and older houses. It can also be used for walls as well as various other applications. Slate slab installation can be complicated and as slate slabs come in all sorts of irregular sizes and shapes, it is often necessary to cut them to fit. Cutting slate slabs does not have to be complicated; with standard tools and a suitable type of blade, you should be able to manage without a problem.

Step 1 - Mark the Cutting Line and Mount the Slate Slab

Find the location on the slate slab that you want to cut and use a marker pen or pencil to draw a line across it. Use appropriate tools to get a perfectly straight line if required. It is best to work with one slate slab at a time rather than attempting to mark and cut all of them before laying the slate surface. You will likely find that you need to regularly go back and cut more slabs as you lay the pavement or patio.

Get a couple of blocks of wood which are the same, or almost the same height, and place them on a sturdy surface. Place the slate slab onto these blocks making sure that it is almost perfectly level. You can also place it on top of two other slate slabs – anything to create a stable surface will do. The area of the slate slab marked by the pencil line should be placed in the center between the two wooden or slate blocks.

Step 2 - Cut the Slate Slab

hammering slate stone onto a walkway

Get the circular saw and place a suitable blade in it. A specialized diamond-tipped masonry blade is the most suitable tool for this job. To place the new blade in the saw, refer to the instructions for your specific power tool. Before beginning, it is highly recommended that you wear appropriate face protection including a dust mask and safety glasses. A great deal of dust and stone splinters will be created by cutting the stone. This can be extremely harmful to the eyes.

Start up the power saw and when the blade is spinning at full speed, gradually lower it into the slate, right onto the line you have marked. Each cut needs to be done with care, allowing plenty of time for the blade to easily cut through the stone. The blade may also need to be sharpened or replaced periodically. For further instructions on working with your specific power saw, refer to the owner’s handbook.

When the stone breaks in two, remove the blade and switch it off, waiting until it has completely stopped spinning. Continue cutting any other slabs in the same manner.