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How To Cut Tile With a Wet Saw Without Chipping

It looks easy enough when you see someone that has a lot of experience. However, knowing how to cut tile with a wet saw without chipping the porcelain or ceramic material is an acquired skill. Making clean cuts using a wet tile saw is really a mixture of things. As you will see in this article, having the right saw is only the beginning. Other factors involve the blade and the technique used to make the cuts.

Equipment Specifications

Many wet tile saws, like other kinds of power tools, have specifications that are included in the manual. These specifications let you know what the saw will and will not do. Therefore, it is important to look at these specifications when shopping wet saws. We'll come back to this in a bit. But for now, just know that it is good to know what your saw's specs are.

Wet Tile Saw Choice

If you are buying a wet tile saw, it is good to be aware of what you want to accomplish with the saw. Selecting a saw that does not have enough power or one that does not take the size of blade you need, can hinder the whole task. Again, we will come back to this point so keep it in mind.

Using the Correct Saw Settings

When running the tile saw, it is important that you operate the machine using the settings and features that the saw manufacturer recommends. Cutting corners or using incorrect settings on saws that have multiple options is unsafe and can result in bad results, including chipping of the tile.

Now that we have covered some the important groundwork regarding the tile saw itself, we can move on to one of the key things to know when it comes to cutting tile with a wet saw without chipping the material; the choice of blade.

Blade Choice Is Important

One of the keys to cutting ceramic or porcelain tiles without chipping them all up is to choose the right blade. There are many diamond blades that will do the job and there are some that are made for specific situations. For example, the Ceramic R-mesh is a 7" diamond tile saw blade that offers excellent results when cutting tile. One type of blade that excels at chip-free cutting on tile are continuous rim diamond blades. Continuous rim blades are preferred by many pros for cutting tile because the blade is constantly in contact with the edge of the stone so the impact is minimal.

There are also blades that are presented specifcally as ceramic and porcelain tile blades. Depending on the specifications of the saw you are using (I said we would come back to the saw specs), you may need to choose a certain one of the tile blade available. Again, getting a clean cut without chipping the tile will depend on following the guidelines layed out by the saw and blade manufacturers. The manufacturers have almost always tested their equipment and know what they are talking about.

Cutting Techniques

As we mentioned earlier, experience plays a big role in being able to cut tile using a wet saw without chipping it. Here are some techniques that have been used by experienced tile cutting pros that give the best results:

Notching Cuts Reduces Chipping

Use notches at both edges. This technique for chip-free cutting involves marking your tile at both ends at exactly the same distance from the adjacent side of the tile. After marking the edges, guid ethe tile into your saw to about one inch into the tile form the frist edge. Then ttake the tile out of the saw and turn it 180° and slowly guide the tile into the blade making your cut on the second edge. Slowly make the cut all the way through the tile to the other side. As long as your measurements are accurate, you should have a clean cut.

Apply Pressure to Prevent Chipping

Apply steady pressure downward. Keeping the tile firmly in place will contribute to a clean cut. Apply steady pressure to the top of the tile so it does not walk or shift as you make the cut. Stabilizing the tile keeps the blade from jarring the tile and chipping it.

Prevent Chipping With Multiple Passes

Make shallow cuts on thicker tiles. Adjusting the blade depth to make a 1⁄8" cut on the first pass and then repeating the cut at an increased depth is helpful for preventing chipping the tile while using the wet saw.

So to summarize, how to cut tile with a wet saw without chipping is done following these steps:

  1. Operate the saw according to the manufacturers specifications.
  2. Use a blade designed for making chip-free cuts on ceramic or porcelain tile such as a continuous rim balde or a tile blade.
  3. Use the notching technique or make multiple passes increasing the depthe of the cut with each pass.
  4. Apply pressure to the tile as you make the cut to keep the tile stable during cutting.

Because ceramic and porcelain tile is such a hard materials and is somewhat brittle, there are going to be times when you will chip a tile evne if you are doing the things mentioned here. However, with a little planning, good measurments, and a steady hand, the vast majority of your tile saw cuts will be chip free.