I'm looking for tips on how to handle large bluestone slabs. Each is 24" square, 1.5" thick, and weighs 80 lbs. They are geo-cut with thermal surface treatment.

Presently I have 100 of these slabs sitting on two pallets in my driveway. The pallets are right next to the patio but to reach the patio surface requires going up 4 ft of concrete steps. I'm debating moving each slab by hand up the steps as I place them vs running several slabs around the yard on a hand truck. Any tips on moving slabs from the pallet to the patio.

Having moved a few slabs already I find that the edges chip easily. We are going for a clean modern look (dry-laid with minimal joints in a regular grid pattern) so I would prefer to minimize on the "natural beauty" of chipped stone edges. Any tips on avoiding chipped edges? I plan to leave an 1/8" gap (filled with stone dust) when I place these to reduce chipping with thermal expansion. I was contemplating filing off the edges but it's 400 edges and I worry I won't get good results without some sort of a jig.

Can I use a vacuum-style tool to pick and place slabs? Do you recommend the hand-held style used for countertops or am I better off renting something larger that runs off a compressor and is designed to be maneuvered by two people?

I've also seen images of slab lifters that grip the edges of the slabs but I'm not sure how well these will work when I try to place one slab right next to another.

  • You might want to ask a separate question about the & edge filing and getting the look you want... hope it goes well! Mar 21, 2019 at 10:13
  • Patio’s done. Ultimately I just picked up each slab by hand. The chipping was not a big deal on the thermal side of the stone so turned out great.
    – Stanwood
    Apr 4, 2019 at 1:23

2 Answers 2


Wheels! I would recommend a hand truck, furniture dolly or a wheelbarrow.

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I've been in your shoes. I'm not aware of any suction type of tool. There are powered carts of many types and sizes available for rent but the stairs will pose a problem. I've been dreaming of buying a powered, stair climbing hand truck like the Wesco Stairking some of which auto level but I have never seen one for rent. They range in price from around 4,000 to 12,000 Canadian dollars. For that price you should just hire someone, or a small army of someones. I found taking bicycle inner tubes cut and tied just slightly smaller than the square dimension will protect the edges from chipping. You can even lay them down and get them close to position before removing it.

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