The use of porcelain tile in home decorating is increasingly popular. It’s durable, it’s shiny and it offers a lovely aesthetic to your home décor.

The only problem with installing porcelain tile is that it may break if you need to cut it. Unbelievably, porcelain tile is incredibly hard, so standard diamond-edged saws and tools won’t necessarily “make the cut”.

You’ll need to find the correct diamond tool to be able to cut with precision while not doing any damage to the tile itself.

Tool Options for the Cutting of Porcelain Tiles

Several tools can be used when cutting porcelain tiles when following these easy steps.

The Wet Saw

While not the only tool, it does cut porcelain well when these steps are followed.

Several tools can be used when cutting porcelain tiles when following these easy steps.

Step 1: The Blade

It is vital that you have a sharp blade on your wet saw before even attempting to cut porcelain. When in doubt, change the blade.

Step 2: Marking

Using a colored pencil or marker, draw the line where you need to cut the tile.

Step 3: Edge protection

To avoid chipping your tile, cover all edges completely with tape.

Step 4: Notching

This technique can help guide to from one end of your line to the other. Insert small notches in your tile. Place the tile upon the saw blade to mark a notch on either end of your line.

Step 5: Wetting

The tile needs to remain wet during cutting. This cools the tile’s temperature to avoid cracking.

Step 5: Cut

With your tile in place, marked, notched, and wet, begin cutting with the wet saw to cut the length between the notches.

 tile in place, marked, notched, and wet, begin cutting with the wet saw to cut the length between the notches.

Step 6: Smoothing

Use a rub brick or abrasive to smooth out any rough or uneven edges after cutting if necessary.

Tile Nippers

Tile nippers come in handy when you need to cut curves or arcs through your porcelain tile. Cutting this type of design may not be so easy with a wet saw. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Marking

Mark your porcelain tile with a colored line of the shape you want to cut.

Step 2: Notching

Insert small notches in your tile, first on one end of the line you have drawn, then on the opposite end.

Step 3: Positioning

Set your nipper to the line.

Step 4: Cutting

Apply pressure and the first piece of tile will break away. Then follow along your line making small nips in the tile until you have completed the cut. Do this all very slowly to avoid breakage.

Step 5: Smoothing and refining

Use a rub brick or abrasive to smooth out uneven or rough edges after cutting.

The Angle Grinder

This is another tool that can cut through porcelain tiles. It also has the capability of making a variety of cuts such as a line cut, an L cut, or even a circle cut. It’s generally used when cutting porcelain tiles for cutting curves for pipes or shower rods.

Step 1: Marking

Mark your porcelain tile with the desired shape of the cut.

Step 2: Notching

Insert small notches about an inch in length in your tile. Place the tile upon the saw blade to mark a notch on either end of your design line.

Insert small notches about an inch in length in your tile.

Step 3: Positioning

Place the tile for cutting.

Step 4: Cutting

Begin following the mark the grinder’s blade but without applying too much pressure. This should be done very gently. Move the tool along your marking cutting small portions at a time.

Step 5: Refining

When you have completed your cut, the edges will need to be smoothed for a polished refined appearance. Use a rub brick or abrasive to smooth out rough and uneven edges after cutting.

Tips for Cutting and Avoiding Breakage

To help you avoid the chipping and the cracking of your porcelain tiles during cutting, keep these simple tips in mind.

Pressure. It is important not to exaggerate when applying pressure. Too much pressure will result in the cracking or the breaking of your ceramic tile. Use gentle pressure that is constant throughout the entire cutting process.

Shallow cutting. When cutting a porcelain tile, it is fundamental that you take your time. Avoid trying to immediately cut deeply into the tile. Cut gradually and in a shallow way. Using shallow cutting can help to prevent breakage.

Safety. Always wear the correct PPE gear including clothing, shoes, safety glasses or goggles, earplugs, and gloves. Concentrate on the job at hand. Make sure that your saw blades are lubricated and try using scraps to keep your fingers far from the blade. Injury can happen extremely quickly.

The Bottom Line

You’ll want to avoid breakage and chipping your porcelain tiles. Broken or chipped tiles will add up to wasted money and wasted time. Follow our easy steps for successfully cutting porcelain tile.

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