I’ve installed a large flagstone patio and a flagstone walkway – which is plenty of time to learn which tools are best for cutting flagstone. So, in this article I’m going to share what I’ve learned.
Flagstone Cutting Method #1 – Angle Grinder
On my first patio I used a four inch angle grinder with a diamond blade to cut the flagstone. This got the job done, but once I was finished I vowed to never install flagstone again.
It was terrible. It kicked up a ton of dust, cuts took forever with such a small blade, the angle grinder overheated, and my hand vibrated like crazy the hole time.
So in short…don’t use an angle grinder unless you are only making a couple of cuts!
Flagstone Cutting Method #2…aka The Best Way To Cut Flagstone – Gas Powered Concrete Cutoff Saw
These things are a beast when it comes to cutting flagstone. Since the blade has a much larger diameter, it cuts faster. Cutting speed is a big deal when installing flagstone – which you’ll quickly find out once you start trying to fit flagstone together.
Flagstone Cutting Tool – Stihl Concrete Saw
The second reason this type of saw kick complete and total ass is that it has a water feed system on board. Well, at least the good ones do, and I highly recommend you get one with a water feed system. This not only keeps the blade cool and eliminates dust, but it further increases the cutting speed.
Where to Get a Flagstone Cutter (Concrete cutoff saw)
You could buy one, and there are some cheap options available. However, unless you are doing this job professionally, you are wasting your money and probably using an inferior model. So, the best option in 95% of situations is to simply rent one.
I recently rented a concrete saw with a diamond blade and it cost me about $135 which included the rental for the diamond blade. That was only a 24 hour rental however, so you’ll want to either rent over a weekend or be ready to cut before you go pick up your saw.
Other Flagstone Cutting Methods
There are more ways to cut flagstone. Technically, any saw that has a diamond blade on it will work. You can use a hand held tile saw, a wet table saw, or even a standard circular saw. However, the larger the blade you have, the faster you will be able to cut, so stay away from anything with a smaller blade.
In some cases, you can use a hammer and a chisel to cut flagstone. However, this only works with certain types of rock. Not all flagstone is formed from the same type of stone.
Flagstone Cutting Tips
One thing that will make your flagstone installation project go much faster is to lay out all of your flagstone before making a single cut. Or, lay out as much of it as you can. This will allow you to piece everything together more effectively and faster.
Flagstone Laid Out and Ready to Cut
Then, once you’re ready to cut you can cut multiple flagstones at a time. This one little tip will easily save you hours of labor.
Planning to upgrade your home with a flagstone patio, walkway, or swimming pool area? Learn some effective methods to cut flagstone so you can create your own beautiful patio surface.
Do you like putting puzzles together? Cutting and fitting flagstone pieces together is kind of like assembling a giant puzzle (with pieces that weigh 20 pounds or more!) Although you can sometimes find flagstone pieces that will fit nicely together, in most cases you need to shape and cut the flagstone edges for a more aesthetically pleasing look.
So let’s look at several different ways how to cut flagstone so you can get ready to start your project! You’ll learn how you can cut flagstone with a…
Gas-powered cut off saw Circular saw Grinder And with a good old hammer and chisel
Let’s start with the power tools!
Cutting Flagstone Using Power Tools (3 Methods)
Now before you go firing up your power tools, first you need to make sure to properly mark the piece of flagstone you’ll be cutting.
In most cases, you’ll just need to place it next to its partner piece or patio edge and simply mark a rough line on it with a piece of chalk or even the top of a chisel.
Now it’s time to fire up the power tools!
Method 1: How to Cut Flagstone Using a Gas-Powered Masonry Saw
One of the best options for quickly making a lot of cuts with low dust is a gas-powered cut-off saw with a hose attachment and a diamond blade. Most homeowners don’t have one of these masonry saws lying around but don’t worry. Check with your local hardware store since most offer masonry saws you can rent for a few days.
Important! – Large cut-off saws aren’t for the total beginner. They’re large, heavy, and powerful. Only use one if you’re already comfortable using similar power tools like an angle grinder or circular saw.
Once you’ve marked the stone with a piece of chalk or the end of a chisel…
Put on your safety gear (goggles or a face shield, gloves, and earplugs) Put the rock on a firm surface with the part you’ll be cutting an inch or two off the ground. Connect a garden hose to the cut-off saw and start the saw according to the manufacturer’s directions. Use the saw to score the line you’ve marked without cutting the entire way through the stone. This will help you see where to cut since the water might wash away your line and ensure the stone will break in the right place. Work your way back and forth along the line until you’ve cut the entire way through. It’s best to keep a foot on the stone or place another one on top to keep it from moving while you’re cutting.
Insider tip! – If you want the cut edge to look more natural, use a hammer to lightly tap the cut edge to break a few small pieces off and give the edge a more rustic look.
If you’d rather not deal with a big cut-off saw but still don’t want to cut the flagstone by hand, try method #2.