Are you planning a major DIY home improvement project that includes tiling? Whether you are redoing your bathroom or your kitchen, you’ll need the correct tools to get the job done. The correct tools will allow you to do the job exactly to your preferred specifications, and to save labor costs in the process.
Normally, to cut tile one would use a wet tile saw. But if you don’t own a wet tile saw and perhaps are on a limited budget that doesn’t allow for new tools or tool rentals, are there any other options?
If you own or have access to a miter saw, this is an alternative solution to the wet tile saw.
Can You Cut Tile with a Miter Saw?
Most professionals will use a wet saw with a water supply when cutting tile. The purpose of the running water is to cool the cutting blade and at the same time rinse dust away. Water does an excellent job of capturing dust particulates and preventing them from being released into the air. The wet saw will use a diamond saw blade to cut the tile.
If you own a miter saw and do not have the possibility to use a wet saw, the answer is yes. You can use a miter saw for cutting tile with the correct blade. To use your miter saw, you’ll need a diamond blade or a carbide blade attachment. Ideally, the preferred blade should feature a segmented rim blade or a turbo rim, so that gaps release and dissipate the heat from cutting into the air.
A miter saw should really only be used to cut tile as a last resort, or for a small job that only encompasses a few tiles.
What Is a Miter Saw?
A miter saw is a power saw tool that is generally used for cutting wood, masonry, or metal relatively rapidly with accuracy and at precise angles.
Miter saws are smaller than other saws and generally portable. They are often the saw of choice when cutting molding and trim. Thanks to the versatile nature of this saw it is a favorite at construction sites.
Potential Problems for Tile Cutting with a Miter Saw
Some concerns when using a miter saw to cut tile include the following:
While there does not appear to be a lot of evidence of blades breaking or shattering when cutting tile with a miter saw, that isn’t to say it couldn’t happen. For this reason, miter saws are generally considered as a cutting tool for a smaller number of tiles or for small jobs. Cutting tile for prolonged periods or all day cutting would increase this risk.
The production of excessive dust is a reality when using a miter saw to cut. In fact, you should consider wearing better face protection, and especially filter protection to avoid inhaling tile dust while cutting.
Dust, however, is not only a threat to you but to your miter saw as well. Should fine dust particulates find their way into the miter saw motor, they could do lasting and irreversible damage to the miter saw motor. In no time at all you could find yourself with a burned-out motor and in need of a new saw.
Blade Pinching during Cutting
During cutting, there is the risk that the miter saw blade might pinch the tile as the blade comes into contact with the tile. In fact, tile saws will feed tiles horizontally for precision cutting. With a miter saw, you may sacrifice a bit of accuracy. A sliding compound miter saw may mitigate this risk to a certain degree.
How Can You Cut Tile with a Miter Saw?
Despite being traditionally used for cutting wood, this saw can be used for cutting tile or masonry. The correct blade is necessary especially when cutting tile, or you risk ruining the tile, damaging your miter saw, and maybe even injuring yourself.
When cutting tiles, a miter saw can be used for
- Square cuts
- Angle cuts
- Straight cuts
Alternatives for Cutting Tile
Even if you can cut tiles with a miter saw, if you have a lot of cutting to do and are worried about ruining your miter saw, consider either renting a wet tile saw or buying a used tile saw. If you find a reasonably priced second-hand wet tile saw, change the saw blade, and flush out the pump before starting your project.
You can also consider a chop saw, but again, the economic investment will most likely not be less than purchasing a used wet tile saw.
If you decide to use your miter saw for cutting tile, make sure to get a diamond circular saw blade. Protect yourself from dust inhalation, and cut small quantities of tiles, allowing your miter saw, some rest. A vacuum can be attached to your saw’s dust port, or your miter saw can be connected to your garden hose or to a saw wet cutting kit.