Pavers are a great alternative to poured concrete, whether you’re looking to lay down a new patio or replace your boring, drab driveway. But what do you do when you start laying your pavers and your design calls for more intricate designs, or you end up with awkward gaps? When your pavers don’t fit like you need them to, you may need to break a brick in order to get the design you want.
Although laying pavers is normally a simple affair. If you’ve never split pavers, you may not know how to go about it. There are a number of different options available to you. And the right choice for you may differ depending on how many you need to cut.
How to Break a Brick?
If you only need to break a brick or two (and if you’re wanting to split bricks or other, more porous material), your best option will likely be the classic hammer and chisel. This is the way people have been cutting pavers and bricks for hundreds of years, so it’s backed up by years of experience and tradition. In fact, many masons still pull out the hammer and chisel on certain occasions. So, a well-built hammer and chisel is a great option if you don’t have access to a power saw, and don’t have the money to purchase one.
Using a Hammer & Chisel
In order to break a brick with a hammer and chisel, you’ll want to begin by measuring the space that you need to fill with your paver. Once you know the precise dimensions of the gap you can transfer them to the paver with a pencil. And make sure to mark the paver on every side so you can cut it as accurately as possible.
After you’re ready to begin cutting, place the brick on the ground, preferably on sand or dirt. This will help focus the hammer’s force into breaking the paver. Place your chisel on the line and angle it 60 degrees toward the paver’s scrap side. Tap the chisel with your hammer in order to create a line. Then, repeat on every side.
After your score line is in place on every side, place a bolster chisel in the score line. Point the beveled edge of the chisel toward the scrap side of the brick to get a clean cut. Once it’s in place, use the hammer to strike the chisel with a hard, fast blow. This should break the paver cleanly in half. Once you’ve got it split, you can use your chisel to tap off any rough edges.
What if I Need to Split Lots of Bricks?
Although a hammer and chisel will work if you only have to break a brick or two, if you need to split dozens (or more), you’ll likely want to purchase a power saw that has the ability cut through them. This will make your work go much more quickly and won’t wear you out.
And if you don’t have a power saw (and aren’t interested in purchasing one), many hardware stores will give you the option to rent expensive hardware for a few hours. Call around and you may find exactly what you’re looking for (or visit The Home Depot’s rental site).