How to cut deep textured porcelain tile with a manual tile cutter

How to Cut Porcelain Stoneware

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Porcelain stoneware is a strong and tough material that cannot be cut as easily as ceramic tiles. Professional tile layer Dmitry Drozdov, @instaburpro, talked to us about how to choose the right tools and cut porcelain stoneware correctly. It should be noted that high quality professional tools will always give better and more predictable cuts, and you mustn’t forget about safety precautions! Be sure to wear safety glasses, gloves and earmuffs when cutting tiles using any method. Protect your hands and eyes from debris and ears from loud noises.

FIRST METHOD The best option is to cut porcelain stoneware using a wet tile saw. Here are the main advantages of using this method: Precise, fixed cutting path; Efficient performance and speed; Minimal human effort; Complete absence of dust. As a result of working with a wet saw, you will get a precise high quality cut. The possibility of chipping on the cut edge while using a wet cutter depends primarily on a correctly selected blade and on compliance with the cutting technology. A thin continuous rim diamond blade cuts cleaner, but a little slower and may periodically require so-called “diamond dressing”. This is when you cut softer materials, for example silicate or fireclay bricks, in order to improve the cutting ability of the blade by exposing more diamond material. A turbo rim diamond blade cuts easier and faster, but can cause chipping. In any case, cutting tiles with a wet tile saw will produce a cleaner cut than any dry cutting with a diamond blade. As for the cutting technique, if the design of the tile cutter allows you to lift the blade up, you first need to cut the tile on top to a shallow depth (by the thickness of the glaze or slightly deeper); then you can proceed to cutting the tiles along the entire depth, which will eliminate even minimal swiveling of the blade from the intended trajectory. There is no need to rush when working with a wet saw! Pushing the tool quickly can cause the blade to bite into the tile and tear off some of the glaze.

SECOND METHOD

The second method involves cutting with a manual tile cutter. In this case, the quality of the cut will depend on the quality of the cutting roller and the design of the tile cutter itself. Simplistic cheap tile cutters simply cannot break porcelain stoneware tiles. They are only suitable for working with softer ceramics.

Cutting with a manual tile cutter, is quite similar to how a glass cutter works. That is, we cut the top layer of the glaze with a roller and thereby set the direction of the tile breaking. The same system is used for large slab cutting.

Note that the cut of porcelain stoneware with an ordinary glass cutter will be extremely difficult, since the uniformity of the pressure is important here. At the same time, the cut must be made without stopping, continuously, because any change in pressure or interruptions from cutting in multiple steps can cause the tile to break, and not in a straight line.

THIRD METHOD The easiest and most affordable way is to cut tiles with an angle grinder (disc grinder). In this case, everything will completely depend on the skills and experience of who’s operating it. The accuracy of the line depends on the sturdiness of the craftsman’s hand, while the number and size of chips depends on the quality of the diamond blade that is used. With the help of an angle grinder, you can make rough cuts without problems, if you know the rough edges are to be covered by another tile in the corner. The main advantage of this tool is the execution of cuts of any shape and in any direction. To obtain a smooth cut, it will be necessary to additionally grind edges of the tiles using diamond polishing pads. Avoid cutting the tiles exactly to size: leave around 2 to 3 mm of extra space for subsequent grinding. To make an L-shaped or U-shaped cut, we advise to drill holes in the tile at the intersection of the cutting lines. This will reduce the risk of cracking and breaking the tile from the inner corner. We also need to remind you that, when working with an angle grinder, in addition to glasses and gloves, it is very important to use a respirator or a dust extraction system

FOURTH METHOD There is also a fourth method called water jet tile cutting, by which you can get the most high-precision and high-quality tile cut. In many large cities, there are special businesses which provide such services, and you could go there and place an order for such cuts. With water jet cutting human effort is completely absent: the trajectory is set by a computer program, and the quality of the cut cannot be distinguished from the factory cut. Thus, you can make any wavy cuts, and even create unique mosaic panels. An author of the article: Dmitry Drozdov

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How to cut porcelain tile-Using an Angle Grinder

Now let’s move on to another very important tool to add to your arsenal. This would be the angle grinder. This is going to be a tool that you would use to cut multiple types of cuts-

  • circles(such as around the toilet flange)
  • L cuts
  • straight cuts
  • square cuts(outlets, vents, pipes and ect..)
  • any cut really

I use this tool a lot! This is also a reasonable priced tool. You can find a decent angle grinder for around $30 but this is the one I use-DEWALT D28110 4-1/2-Inch Small Angle Grinder.

The blade that I use is made by DeWalt and cost is around $30. Here is a link for you to see what it looks like -DEWALT DW4765 4-1/2-Inch by .060-Inch Porclean Tile Blade Wet/Dry Here is another video to show how to cut porcelain tile with an angle grinder.

Video

Methods for Cutting Porcelain Tile Without Chipping

There are a variety of approaches that can be used to cut porcelain tiles. However, the reality is that there are relatively few approaches that can guarantee there will be no chipping. The following are the top four strategies that you need to implement:

Cutting the Tile with Manual Hand Tool

Manual tile cutter may take long to cut small portion, but result is good. When you can’t afford fancy tools, manual hand tools are best for cutting porcelain tile without chipping.

You can cut tile with hand tools. But a tile nipper works best. Wet cutting saws are difficult to use for circular tile cuts.

Mark the area for a perfect cut. Draw the area with pencil and scale. Draw the line along the nipper’s edges. Put the nipper in the middle and squeeze the line. Good pressure will separate the area from the tile.

Wait to cut a small area. Good process. Be patient and gentle. Marking carefully is important because the wrong area can destroy the tile. Once the tile piece came off, use a rub brick to smooth the sharp edges.

Consider a durable hand tool for accurate cutting.

Cutting Porcelain Tile with an Angle Grinder

Tiles can be cut with an angle grinder. Angle grinders cut straight and circularly. The tool’s aggressive disc simplifies the process. The tool is great for shaping.

Like with a manual hand tool, mark the cutting area. Mark the circular area for the bathroom pipe fitting. Start the grinder and start marking. Small cuts between passes.

Cut tiles without chipping gradually. Once cut, check for well-finished edges. Some areas may need another pass through the grinder. Sharpen the edges with abrasive wheel.

Cutting Porcelain Tile with a Wet Saw

Wet saws are fast. The edges are clean and well-finished after cutting. If the right procedure is followed, the process is easy. The tile is cut professionally and won’t chip. Wet saw safety precautions must be followed.

Mark the tile’s cutline. Wet-saw the tile along the line. Don’t rush. Slowly move tiles as marked. Wet-sawed edges may be uneven. Smooth the edges with abrasive.

Similarly, a diamond wet saw gives excellent straight cuts. You can cut porcelain tile immediately.

Waterjet Tile Cutter for Porcelain Tile

Waterjet technology is a cutting innovation. Any rough thing could be great for porcelain tile. Home waterjets are unlikely. The industrial tool requires experience.

If you can master the waterjet tile cutter, it will outperform other methods. Simple and effective, there’s no chipping. It’s quick and leaves smooth edges.

Mark the cut area for a waterjet tile cutter. Now mark the waterjet nozzle. Slowly shave. Waterjet cuts straight but not circularly.

Beginning to Cut

If you are using a wet saw, make sure your reservoir is full before you begin to cut.

Don’t force the diamond disc forward. Instead, let the disc direct the speed of the cut to make sure that you’ll get the best finish possible. You can use a leveler for even more accuracy.

3

Push the tile into the saw blade approximately 1 or 2 inches, depending on the size of the tile, then back the tile out and turn off the saw. If it is a small tile, cut only 1 inch in from the edge. If the tile is 12 inches square, cut in approximately 2 inches from the edge.

#4 How to Cut a Porcelain Tile Using a Wet Saw

A wet tile saw cuts tiles made of ceramic and porcelain leaving a clean, smooth edge. As mentioned, owning a wet saw is not economically feasible.

However, you might as well come across certain situations where you need to weigh the pros and cons and use a wet saw for cutting a porcelain tile. It is the best way to cut a porcelain tile in my honest opinion. 

Although they can chip the surface of porcelain ti

Although they can chip the surface of porcelain tiles so in order to ensure a cleaner cut, you should use a wet saw with an adjustable blade. Working slowly and using a fresh blade always helps.

Notching the Tile to Avoid Chips

A great way to avoid chipping on porcelain tiles is to notch the tile before cutting through. Follow the below steps to do so:

  • Set your tile saw blade upon the tile
  • Mark the point where you wish to notch
  • Place the tile with the marking facing the blade but do not let them get in touch yet and turn on your saw
  • Push the tile towards the blade and cut an inch for small tiles (go till 2 inches for larger tiles) and turn it off
  • Flip the tile, turn on the saw and cut where you made the notch earlier

This is why one should know how to cut a porcelain tile with a wet saw, a cutting machine or a blade.

  • Use a fresh sharpened blade and always remember to cut slowly in order to get clean cuts
  • It is mandatory to mark the cutting line with a wax pencil before you start cutting porcelain tile. This is to ensure the precision in the size and the chipping can be avoided by masking the edges with a suitable tape.
  • Fill the reservoir with water upto the blade dipping into it and place the tile depending upon where your blade cuts from (above/below)
  • Adjust your saw in a way that it can cut upto 1/8 inch deep into the tile. You don’t want to cut through or more than half through the tile
  • After marking the edges, take a cutter and score the line to make the clean cuts. Be sure that the tile is levelled along the blade to avoid any distortions or bends. Now, apply pressure and score the tile towards the down for it to snap. Once cut, you can either continue to the final cut or notch the tile before that.

Can you cut tile with a circular saw?

Shortly, the answer is yes. It can be cut with a traditional manual tile cutter or a wet tile saw. With the tile cutter, a specific scoring wheel gets a shallow cut in this material. This way, you can make the most of the brittle nature of ceramic, snapping the tile along the cored cut to finish. These scoring wheels are made of very heavy materials such as tungsten carbide or titanium. They need to be strong to score this material. Can I cut tile with a circular saw? Yes! In fact, they are usually the very first option for large works. Using a tile cutter can be messy and unnecessarily difficult. So, can you cut porcelain tile with a circular saw? Yes, it is not only an option but, by far, the best choice. These saws have a compact electrical bench perfectly settled, with the perfect diamond-coated blade for this job, and a water pump. Remember that the water keeps the blade cool while cutting because it can get extremely hot. The perfect tile cutting blade for a circular saw when performing on porcelain, is the diamond blade, because is one of the few materials that are harder than porcelain. In a few words, the diamond blade not only score the tile but grinds it all the way through. If you are interested on learning how to cut tile with a circular saw, you need to go to basics first. You need to understand the way a wet tile saw works. Once you get that, this job will be much simpler. Don’t worry, we will make it quick and easy for you.

Plunge-cut from the back to make rectangular cutouts

Photo 1: Score the front

Photo 1: Score the front

Mark the cutout on the front and back of the tile precisely. Then score the front of the tile about 1/16 in. deep along the line.

Photo 2: Plunge cut the back Flip the tile over and plunge the cut from the back. Stop and check often. Stop when the cut lines up with the corners of the marked square on the front. Plunge-cut the remaining three sides.

Cutting rectangular or square holes for electrical outlets is simple with this method. The key is to avoid cutting beyond the corners of the square where the cut might be visible. Plunge-cut slowly from the back and check often to avoid going too far.

Rectangular Cutouts Make rectangular cutouts with plunge cuts from the back side.

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