▷ How to saw porcelain tile with a circular saw or tile cutting saw 【2022】

How to cut porcelain tile

Porcelain is a very fragile material, and it can crack or be shattered very easily due to its molecular structure. When holding it, we need to be very wary, because dropping it can break it. However, it is still a very hard material. It can’t be easily scratched. In other words, it is also hard to cut. So, if you are thinking about cutting a porcelain tile with a circular saw, I encourage you to keep reading. In this post, we will help you through this process and give you the instructions you need.

Video

Can You Cut Porcelain Tiles Yourself?

The majority of amateurs are curious about whether or not they can cut their own porcelain tiles. You are able to carry out the task on your own if you are equipped with the necessary skills as well as the appropriate equipment. Do not rush things and make sure that the safety precautions are being followed at all times. In addition to that, in this section, we are going to discuss the specifics that might be of assistance to you in carrying out the task in an ideal manner.

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Make a dish-shaped cutout for small holes

Photo 1: Plunge cut

Photo 1: Plunge cut

Center the cut on the hole and plunge slowly from the back. Stop when the slot through the face of the tile lines up with the edges of the desired cutout.

Photo 2: Repeat plunge cut Draw another larger circle to guide the depth of the remaining cuts. Make repeated plunge cuts until the circle is complete.

Most plumbing pipe holes are covered by a decorative escutcheon or hidden by a fixture base, so a precise round hole isn’t necessary. Use the technique shown here to make rough, round holes.

Start by marking the circular cutout on the back of the tile. Then plunge the diamond blade down through the tile, keeping it centered on the hole so that the slot made by the blade extends equally on both sides of the circle marks (Photo 1). Check often to see when the slot through the front of the tile reaches the edges of the desired cutout. Then use the length of that plunge cut to gauge the diameter of a second, larger circle. Draw that larger circle on the back of the tile (Photo 2). Use this circle as a guide for making the rest of the plunge cuts. Rotate the grinder about a blade’s width and make another plunge cut, stopping at the outer circle. Continue this process until you finish the hole.

#3 How to Cut a Porcelain Tile Using Tile Cutter

A tile cutter is used to cut ceramic tiles upto a desired size and shape. However, depending upon the type of texture, you can even cut certain porcelain tiles using a standard manual tile cutter. It is favourite among the woodworkers because it is the fast among all the cutting tools and you can make many adjustments to the type of cuts you want to make depending on the tile type and size.

All you need to do is to cut the tile just the way you cut the paper with a paper cutter and rub the edge with the sandstone for a smoother finish.

Below are the steps to be followed to use a thtile cutter:

  • First of all you need to adjust and lock the guide of the tile cutter
  • Slide the tile in a good position where you have marked it and place the cutter on the edge
  • Start pushing down on the tile cutter and slide it across the marked tile
  • When it reaches the end, press down
  • It will break into two smooth pieces. Smoothen out the edges to reduce sharpness.

Watch this video to get a practical idea of how to cut a porcelain tile using a tile cutter in the safest way.

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3. Use a Wet Saw

Insert the tile underneath the blade on a wet saw if you prefer to cut with power tools, says Ask the Builder. Line up your mark on the tile with the cutting blade. Fill the water channel with water and turn the saw on. Gently lower the cutting blade into the tile. Slowly guide the tile toward the blade to continue cutting along the line until you have reached the opposite end of the tile. Lift the cutting blade and wait for it to stop spinning before removing the tile from the cutting surface.

How to cut tiles with a wet saw

For experienced DIYers, a wet saw will make cutting tiles easy. Wet saws/electric cutters are used for right angles, curved or beveled edges and thicker tiles such as porcelain and natural stone. You can use it indoors but outside use is less messy.

The RYOBI 7 in. 4.8 Amp Tile Saw with Stand, exclusively available at Home Depot (opens in new tab)is a great candidate for more complex home improvements and comes with attractive features to help you achieve flawless results. 

The anti-slip rubber feet on the stand creates a stable surface, while the splash hood allows you to see exactly what you’re doing, without the water getting in the way.

How to:

  1. Make sure the electric cutter has water in the tray as the blade will overheat; it also reduces the amount of dust produced when cutting.
  2. For curved edges, mark with a pencil the area that needs to be cut, and mark several lines up to the curved mark. This is because a tile can’t be turned whilst being cut.
  3. Using the electric cutter, cut the number of lines up to the curved mark so it looks like a comb.
  4. Draw round the curved mark with a tile scribe to score and cut into the glaze.
  5. Using a tile nipper, break away small bits at a time up to the curve, and file down until smooth.

#1 Cutting Porcelain Tile Using a Tile Nipper

Tile nippers are excellent for cutting arcs or circular section of tiles which is difficult to do using a wet tile saw. They are also great for making regular cuts.

In the construction industry, we see a lot of peop

In the construction industry, we see a lot of people using tile nippers in huge amount. This is because of the ease of their functionality and also because most of us are only interested in cutting a small piece off the tile.

Given below are the easy steps for the guide to using tile nipper:  

  • Initially, take the tile that you want to cut and prepare it. Then, score a line marking the edge where you want to make a cut with a cutter.
  • Use the tile nipper, hold it at the edge centre of the marked line and apply pressure. The nipper will break the piece off.
  • Take small nips and go slow as sometimes the piece fails to nip off, and that’s when you should try cutting it with a cutter.
  • Don’t stress your nipper so much that it might even give up.
  • After nipping is completed, use a rub brick to smoothen the edges and the cut itself. The edges will be sharp so be cautious when doing so.
  • The best tile nippers that are found in the contemporary market are Qep and Kobalt.

I would recommend you to use tile nippers only to cut curvy and circular areas. For straight and angled cuts, use a wet tile saw. Also, a good idea today would be to use the new generation tile nipper with replaceable teeth.

The old ones can break due to the hardness of porcelain tiles made today.

Tile blade for circular saw

With these pieces of advice and precautions, you can cut porcelain with your own circular saw. But if you are interested on cutting tile professionally, we suggest you spend some money and rent or buy a bench tile cutting saw and instead of using a circular saw to cut cutting tile. Whatever you end up doing, remember to wear the proper protection gear and use common sense.

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What is the best tool to cut tile?

‘There are many different types of tiles, and many different machines that will work on them.’ says Ash.

‘In my experience though, a wet table saw is an invaluable tool for cutting most, if not all types of tile, as these types of saws cut very straight and smooth. It can be used for ceramic, glass, porcelain, and natural stone tiles.

‘You can rent a wet table saw for your specific project or choose to purchase one, but if you pick the latter option keep in mind that these saws come in multiple sizes, depending on the tile size you will be cutting.’

Ready to rent a tile saw? They’re available at your local home improvement stores including Home Depot (opens in new tab) and Lowe’s (opens in new tab).

You can use a manual cutter, available from Amazon (opens in new tab) for straight cuts on porcelain and natural stone/slate tiles, then an electric cutter for more complex designs such as right angles and curves in mosaic tiles or a tile scribe for small, thin tiles.

Geraghty adds: ‘A tile cutter is designed to carefully cut ceramic and porcelain to reduce the risk of shattering. This is a great tool to use as it is available in either manual, or powered variants to best suit your needs.’

Safety notice: With all tile cutting methods be sure to wear safety goggles (opens in new tab) and utility gloves (opens in new tab), both of which you can buy on Amazon. Do not touch the blade and keep fingers away from it. Ensure any hazards are not present, do not wear loose clothing and keep children away also. Finally, go at your own pace.

(Image credit: Ca’ Pietra)

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent for small projects such as bathrooms.
  • Tile edge-work can be covered with baseboards, molding, or cabinets.
  • Best for tile 1-foot-square or less.
  • Except for the snapping motion, tile snap cutters are mostly quiet.
  • Snap tile cutters are dust-free and safe to use.
  • Though tile snap cutters can cut glass or stone, they work best for ceramic or porcelain tile.

Cons

  • Tile snap cutters are more difficult to use for more expansive projects like large basement floors or big kitchens.
  • While the line will largely be straight, they are imperfect. Within that line will be smaller surface irregularities to make the cut less than perfect.
  • Tile snap cutters can produce only straight lines, not curves or holes.

Tilt the blade for cutting circles

Photo 1: Score the circle

Photo 1: Score the circle

Score the front of the tile along the circle guideline with the diamond blade. Tilt the grinder about 30 degrees and cut about 1/16 in. deep.

Photo 2: Make angle cuts

Photo 2: Make angle cuts

Move the blade 1/8 in. to the inside of the line and make a deeper cut. Continue moving the blade away from the line and cutting deeper until you cut completely through.

Photo 3: Smooth the cut edge Grind off rough edges and trim back to the line for a perfect curve.

Many tile jobs require you to cut one or more large round holes for floor drains or shower valves. Photos 1 – 3 show how to cut a hole for a shower valve. We’re showing how to cut a hole that’s entirely within a single tile, one of the most difficult cuts. In the next section we’ll show you an easier method to use for cutting curves in the edge of a tile.

Even with this method, try to avoid a tile layout that places the edge of the circular cutout less than 1/2 in. from the edge of a tile. It’s better to shift the entire layout instead. Otherwise, chances are good that you’ll break the tile at the narrow point while cutting.

The method shown for cutting a circle with a grinder and diamond blade requires you to cut around the circle a number of times, making a deeper cut with each revolution. The key is to maintain the same angle and shave off progressive layers, moving the cut closer to the center of the circle (Photo 2).

Circle Cuts Make accurate, near perfect circle cuts for shower valves and plumbing pipes with this technique.

Using a Tile Cutter

A manual tool is more practical for many DIY projects, as it’s a much cheaper approach that can get you great results in no time.

One of the essential differences between porcelain and ceramic is density. Porcelain is a much denser material, which helps it resist water absorption better than ceramic. With that in mind, you need to be discerning with the types of tile cutters you choose.

Choose the Right Tools

If you want to cut porcelain or large format tiles, the RUBI TX-MAX is a heavy-duty and versatile manual tile cutter that can handle most projects. Unlike many other manual tools, you have the option to make angular cuts with a revolving square. With its powerful breaker mechanism and fluid slide function, the TX-MAX is perfect if you want precise porcelain cuts every time.

Along with your tile cutter, you need to get the right scoring wheel to cut deeper into the porcelain surface without making you force it. By opting for a RUBI EXTREME scoring wheel, you get better performance out of the tungsten carbide design. These wheels supply smooth cuts with minimal pressure on all types of porcelain tile surfaces, with the reliable consistency you need for larger projects.

5. Score for Shallow Cuts

Score along the line on the tile for shallow cuts, instructs This Old House. Then bend the tile to snap it into two pieces. Or nip away the excess tile with a tile nipper. This method works best for shaving a sliver of tile off to fit around the perimeter of the room or removing small corners of the tile. Smooth the rough edges of the tile with a double-sided sanding stone.

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