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How to Cut Tile With a Wet Saw

March 2nd, 2012 Tools

If you're tiling your home and have a lot of tile cuts to make, you may want to consider renting a wet saw, which uses a water-cooled diamond blade to easily cut tile. The saws are safe and easy to use, as long as you practice a little first with a few scrap tiles. While snap cutters will work, wet saws are better for larger jobs that require complicated cuts, like beveled edges, or for outlet openings.

Wet saws usually have a sliding table that feeds the tile into an overhead blade while a pump sprays water on the blade when it's running. The water is essential for making good quality cuts, so it's important to check to make sure everything is working before you start a job. Once you're comfortable with how the saw operates, here's how to get the job done, according to The Home Depot and Popular Mechanics.

Regular cuts
Before you begin, you should put on a pair of safety glasses. To make a regular straight cut, simply align the tile on the table. Set the fence so that when the layout line is at the blade, the widest part of the tile is between the blade and the fence. Back the tile away from the blade and turn on the saw. Slowly feed the tile along the fence and into the blade until the tile completely clears the blade.

Notched cuts
To make a notch in a piece of tile, you'll have to make two straight cuts where you want the edges of the notch to be. Reset the fence after the first cut and stop each cut where the line marking the end of the notch is. If the notch is wider than an inch, you'll need to make several parallel cuts within the notch that are ΒΌ of an inch apart. Break off these inner pieces then trim the jagged edge with the wet saw - placing the saw so that it's just touching the edge of the notch.

Diagonal cuts
These cuts are useful if you're making a diamond pattern. They are made point to point, and you must set the miter guide to the angle that matches the layout line. Make sure the line is directly in front of the blade, then feed the tile slowly through it. The tile is susceptible to breakage at the end of the cut, so be sure to take your time. You can also use this technique to make triangular cuts that aren't point to point cuts.

Beveled edge cuts
These cuts are handy when you're tiling the corner of a wall where uncut tiles would create ugly gaps. They work on inner our outer wrap-around corners. Your wet saw should have a bevel guide attachment that will make this cut for you when you use the standard technique for feeding through tile.

L-shaped cuts
If you have to remove a piece of tile to account for a corner, a cabinet or a piece of moulding, you have to make two separate cuts in the tile or make multiple cuts. Just be sure to stop the blade once you reach the edge.

Cut-outs
If you're making a cut-out in the tile, like for an outlet, it is also called a plunge cut. You have to position the tile underneath the cutting wheel so that the blade is directly above where you want to cut. It's best to do this with the tile facing down so that the score marks from the blade won't be seen from the front.