How to Cut Granite 3 Ways

Granite is one of the most popular natural stones used for countertops, flooring, and other home projects. Its durability, aesthetic appeal, and versatility make it a top choice for many homeowners. However, working with granite requires specialized tools and techniques, especially when it comes to cutting. In this article, we’ll explore the three main ways to cut granite: wet saw, circular saw, and hand tools. With the right approach, you can make clean, precise cuts in granite quickly and efficiently.

Using a Wet Saw to Cut Granite

A wet saw is a masonry saw that continuously sprays water on the granite to minimize friction and cooling while cutting. This is the preferred method for making long straight cuts and cut-outs in granite slabs. Here are the steps for using a wet saw to cut granite:

Prepare the Granite Slab

  • Ensure the slab is clean and dry before starting any cuts. Wipe down the surface and edges with a clean cloth.
  • Mark your cut lines using a pencil or permanent marker. Make sure the lines are dark and clearly visible.
  • For straight cuts, use a square and straightedge to ensure your cut line is perfectly straight.
  • For curved cuts, trace the curve with a permanent marker, or use a template.

Set Up the Wet Saw

  • Read the instruction manual for your wet saw and familiarize yourself with the controls.
  • Ensure the water reservoir is filled with clean water.
  • Install a granite cutting blade designed for masonry. The blade should be high-quality diamond grit.
  • Adjust the blade guide so the blade extends just below the slab.
  • Position the slab on the saw table and secure it in place with clamps. Make sure it is stable.

Make the Cuts

  • Turn on the saw and allow the blade to get up to full speed before starting the cut.
  • Slowly lower the blade into the granite while spraying water. Use steady, even pressure.
  • Once the cut is started, continue moving the slab through the blade path at a slow, steady rate.
  • For corners and curves, pivot the slab carefully as you cut. Follow your marked line.
  • When finished, turn off the saw and inspect the cut quality. Recut if needed.

Finish and Clean Up

  • Use a piece of scrap granite to clean and remove debris from the blade.
  • Unclamp the slab and wipe clean. Inspect closely for any cracks.
  • Rinse the wet saw tank and blade to remove accumulated slurry and residue.

Following the wet saw method allows you to make precise cuts through thick granite slabs. Take safety precautions – wear eye protection and avoid loose clothing. With practice, you can cut granite smoothly and cleanly.

Cutting Granite with a Circular Saw

For granite installers working on job sites, a portable circular saw is often the most convenient cutting tool. Here is how to cut granite pavers, tiles, and thinner slabs using a circular saw:

Choose the Right Blade

  • Select a high-quality diamond grit circular saw blade designed specifically for cutting stone.
  • Ensure the blade has proper cooling vents and slots to handle the heat and dust generated when cutting granite.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for optimal blade size (7 to 10 inches) and RPM rating for granite.

Prepare the Granite Surface

  • Position the granite on a steady, flat surface like a table or sawhorses. Use shims or spacers to raise the granite if needed.
  • Ensure the granite is clean and dry. Remove any dirt, grime or moisture.
  • Mark your cut line using a straightedge and pencil/marker.

Cut the Granite

  • Equip the circular saw with the selected granite blade. Make sure it is tight and secured.
  • Position the saw so the blade lines up with your marked cut line.
  • Set the blade depth just shy of the full thickness of the granite. Don’t cut through in one pass.
  • Make several gradual passes with steady, even pressure along the cut line.
  • Pour water along the cut line to cool the blade.
  • Once cut through, lift and reposition the saw to enter from the opposite edge to complete the cut.

Finish and Clean Up

  • Inspect the cut edge for quality and recut if needed.
  • Unplug the saw and allow the blade to come to a complete stop before handling.
  • Remove accumulated granite dust and residue from the saw.

Circular saws allow for straight or curved cuts on thinner granite materials. Always use proper safety gear and go slow to achieve clean results.

Cutting Granite with Hand Tools

For small granite jobs like tilework, simple hand tools are often the most practical option. Here are the basic techniques for cutting granite using hand tools:

Mark and Score the Granite

  • Use a straightedge and marker or pencil to mark your cut line.
  • For curved cuts, trace the line with a permanent marker.
  • Place the granite piece on a steady, hard surface. Protect the surface below.
  • Use a carbide scoring tool to score along the cut mark. Make several passes, applying firm pressure.

Snap the Granite Along the Score

  • Position the granite so the score line overhangs the edge of your work surface.
  • Press down firmly with both hands close to the score line until the granite snaps cleanly.
  • For longer cuts, gently tap the overhang with a hammer or mallet to slowly split the piece.

Refine the Cut Edge

  • Examine the cut edge for sharp points or rough areas.
  • Use a hand-held grinding stone or silicon carbide stone to smooth and shape the edge.
  • Work carefully to avoid overcutting. Rinse and wipe clean when finished.

While manual cutting takes practice, it allows for intricate cuts in small granite pieces. Always wear thick gloves when handling freshly cut granite.

Choosing the Right Cutting Method

When taking on a granite cutting project, consider which of the three methods above best suits your needs:

  • Wet saw – Ideal for long, straight cuts through thick slabs. Provides cooling and lubrication. Requires setup time and electricity.
  • Circular saw – Portable option for job site work on thinner materials. Need diamond grit blade and safety precautions.
  • Hand tools – Quick and easy for small jobs. Limited for curved or thick granite cuts. More physical exertion needed.

Factor in the size and thickness of the granite, complexity of cuts, your skill level, and access to the proper specialized tools. Many projects will utilize a combination of wet sawing plus hand tool finishing for best results. Patience and practice cutting granite will lead to professional looking, custom fabricated pieces.

Tips for Cutting Granite Successfully

Cutting granite can be challenging. Follow these tips to help ensure safe, accurate cuts when working with this hard natural stone:

  • Always wear eye protection and a dust mask when cutting granite. The dust contains crystalline silica.
  • Work slowly and let the tool do the work. Don’t force or rush the cutting.
  • Keep granite wet when sawing to minimize friction, heat, and reduce dust.
  • Use the proper blade type and size for each cutting method. Diamond-grit blades last longest.
  • Check blade condition frequently and replace worn blades for best performance.
  • Mark cut lines clearly and use a straightedge guide for straight cuts.
  • Support granite properly on a level, non-slip surface when cutting.
  • Make several shallow passes when sawing instead of one deep cut.
  • Use a squeegee or soft sponge to wipe the surface and keep cut lines visible.
  • Move at a steady pace and avoid stopping mid-cut, which can cause cracks or chips.
  • Finishing edges smoothly prevents potential chipping and injury during handling.
  • Allow time for planning safe workspace setup and testing cuts on scrap material first.

Maintaining Your Granite Cutting Tools

Investing in quality granite cutting tools is only half the battle – proper maintenance and care is key to ensuring they last through many projects. Here’s what you need to know:

Wet Saws:

  • Fully drain and rinse the reservoir after every use to prevent slurry buildup.
  • Lubricate and wipe down the guide rails frequently.
  • Inspect the power cord for cuts or frays. Replace damaged cords immediately.
  • Change the water often to limit algae and bacteria growth.
  • Clean the spray nozzles as they can get clogged with granite particles.
  • Check and replace the blade when it gets dull or filled with nicks and gaps.

Circular Saws:

  • Disconnect the power before inspecting, changing, or cleaning the blade.
  • Allow the blade to fully stop before handling.
  • Use a small wire brush to remove debris from diamond blades after use.
  • Wipe down saw to remove granite dust, especially from any vents.
  • Store saw in a dry place to prevent rusting. Don’t set it directly on concrete.
  • Ensure the blade guard and base plate are undamaged before use. Replace if needed.

Hand Tools:

  • Rinse scoring tools after use to remove residue buildup.
  • Store carbide and diamond edged tools carefully in protective cases. They chip easily.
  • Lubricate joints on nippers and shears to prevent sticking.
  • Sharpen dull edge hand tools with an oilstone or diamond file.
  • Replace heavily worn striking hand tools like chisels. The impact can damage handles over time.

Proper maintenance will keep cutting tools sharp and effective for many granite projects. Always refer to the manufacturer’s care guidelines too.

Safety Tips for Cutting Granite

While granite is an extremely hard, durable material, cutting it does pose some safety hazards. Follow these tips to stay safe during granite cutting:

  • Always wear eye protection – granite chips can fly off blades. Use safety goggles.
  • Wear an N95 respirator mask and gloves. Granite dust contains silica and can irritate lungs.
  • Avoid loose clothes, ties, jewellery, etc. that could catch on cutting blades.
  • Keep hands clear of the cutting area and blade path. Don’t reach under stock.
  • Maintain proper footing. Stay balanced and don’t overextend when cutting.
  • Support granite stock properly when cutting to prevent movement or cracking.
  • Never try to stop blades with your hand or body part. Allow them to stop naturally.
  • Unplug tools before changing blades, cleaning, or making adjustments.
  • Make sure cords are clear of water on wet saws to avoid electric shock risk.
  • Follow manufacturer safety guidelines for proper tool use. Don’t remove guards.
  • Work in a large, well-ventilated area. Granite cutting can be noisy, dusty.
  • Clean up debris and dispose of granite dust properly to avoid exposure.
  • Learn emergency first aid in case of accidental cuts or other granite cutting injuries.

Staying safe takes priority over finishing a project quickly. Use caution and common sense when operating powerful granite cutting tools.

Common Problems and Solutions in Granite Cutting

Despite best efforts, problems can arise when cutting granite. Here are some common issues and potential solutions:


  • The blade is worn or damaged. Replace old blades.
  • Feeding too quickly into the blade. Move more slowly and evenly.
  • Blade mounted incorrectly. Ensure proper mounting and alignment.
  • No water used. Keep blade wet.

Inaccurate Cuts

  • Cut line markings faded away. Re-mark and keep visible.
  • Granite not clamped down. Secure workpiece properly.
  • Using dull blade. Replace with sharp diamond blade.
  • Moving too fast. Go slowly and follow marked path.

Burn Marks

  • Insufficient water flow. Increase water and watch nozzle clogs.
  • Wrong blade for material. Use blade specifically for granite.
  • Moving too slowly. Maintain steady pace through cut.
  • Excessive downward pressure. Light even pressure is best.

Short Blade Life

  • Poor diamond grit quality. Invest in commercial grade diamond.
  • Not dressing/cleaning regularly. Remove buildup after use.
  • Forcing through granite too quickly. Move at an even pace.
  • Cutting stone other than granite. Use dedicated granite blade.

Health Issues

  • No respiratory protection. Always use an N95 mask.
  • No eye protection. Wear safety goggles/shield.
  • Exposure to granite dust. Cut wet and clean surfaces promptly.
  • Pre-existing lung sensitivity. Consider delegating cutting.

Troubleshooting and adjusting techniques will prevent many common granite cutting problems. When issues arise, consult the tool manual or granite supplier for further guidance.

FAQs About Cutting Granite

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about cutting granite:

What are the main tools for cutting granite?

The three primary options are a wet saw, a circular saw with a diamond blade, and carbide-tipped hand tools for scoring and snapping tiles. Commercial granite fabricators also use CNC machines.

Is it possible to cut thick granite at home?

Yes, a good quality wet saw with a fresh diamond blade can cut granite slabs up to 3 cm thick. Make several shallow passes when cutting.

How long does a granite blade last?

With proper use on recommended materials, an average diamond granite blade will last 15 to 30 linear feet of cuts. High-quality commercial blades can last over 100 feet.

What can I use to mark lines on granite to cut?

A wax pencil, grease pencil, or permanent marker makes the most durable and visible cut lines on granite. Avoid using chalk or soapstone.

What causes chipping when I cut granite?

Chipping is typically caused by worn diamond blades, cutting too quickly, not lubricating, or applying too much pressure. Slow down and use a new blade.

Can I cut granite with a jigsaw or angle grinder?

It’s not recommended. These tools lack water cooling and often use blades that are too fragile for hard granite. A circular saw is a better portable option.

How do I cut a sink hole in granite?

Use a drill to bore holes at the corners, then use a jigsaw or rotary tool to connect the holes. Finish shaping with diamond grinding pads. Go slowly to avoid cracking.

Can I cut granite with a plasma cutter?

No, plasma cutters are designed for cutting metal. Granite requires diamond abrasive blades and water cooling to cut effectively. Plasma will simply mar the surface.

Cutting granite takes the right tools and techniques, but with care it can be shaped into beautiful countertops, floors, and other custom projects. Always focus on safety and precision.


In summary, while granite is incredibly hard and durable, it can be cut using the proper specialized tools and methods. Mastering how to cut granite using a wet saw, circular saw, or hand tools takes practice but allows you to achieve clean, precise results. Pay close attention to blade selection, proper setup, working slowly, and observing all safety precautions when cutting this natural stone. With patience and care, granite’s natural beauty can be formed into stunning countertops, tiles, and accents for your home or business.

How to Cut Granite 3 Ways

Granite is one of the most durable and aesthetically pleasing natural stones, making it a popular choice for countertops, flooring, building facades, and more. However, working with granite requires specialized tools because of the stone’s density and hardness. When it comes to cutting granite for installations or fabrications, there are three main methods – wet saw, circular saw, and hand tools. This article will outline how to properly cut granite using each of these techniques.

Cutting Granite with a Wet Saw

A wet saw is the preferred method for making precise, clean cuts in thicker slabs of granite. Here is a step-by-step overview of wet saw cutting technique:

Choose the Right Blade

Selecting the proper granite wet saw blade is crucial for smooth cutting results. Carbide or diamond-tipped blades designed specifically for granite work best. Refer to the saw manual for recommended size and minimum rpm rating. Inspect the blade for damage or wear before use.

Prepare the Granite Surface

Ensure the granite slab is clean and dry first. Carefully measure and mark your cut lines using a pencil and straightedge. For curved cuts, trace the line with a permanent marker. Place the slab securely on the saw table with clamps, taking care to support the portion that will drop off once cut through.

Set Up the Wet Saw

Review the saw instructions to understand the controls. Fill the reservoir with cool, clean water. The water helps lubricate, minimize friction and control dust while cutting. Attach the granite wet saw blade, aligning it to extend just below the slab thickness. Turn on water flow to the blade.

Make the Cuts

Allow the blade to reach full rpm speed before starting into the cut. Ease into the granite slowly at first, applying even pressure. Move through the cut line steadily, pivoting for curves as needed. Don’t stop mid-cut. When finished, turn off the saw and carefully remove the cut pieces.

Post-Cut Steps

Check for quality and recut if needed. Unclamp the slab and wipe clean. Rinse the saw blade and table to remove all debris and slurry before it dries. Take safety precautions – use water, protective eyewear and gloves when handling freshly cut granite.

Using a properly equipped wet saw makes it possible to cut precise shapes and openings in granite. Always refer to the saw’s directions for setup, operation, and maintenance.

Cutting Granite with a Circular Saw

For installing granite tile, cutting smaller slabs, or job site work, a portable circular saw with a diamond blade is highly effective. Follow these guidelines when cutting granite with a circular saw:

Use a Granite-Specific Diamond Blade

A standard wood or metal cutting blade will become damaged and ineffective. Select a diamond-edged granite blade sized for your saw (7-10”). Ensure proper rpm rating for granite and that