If you don’t happen to own or have access to a tile wet saw, the angle grinder is an alternative when you need to cut tiles. Grinder tools require a bit less technique and can get the job done efficiently.
A Variety of Grinders
Grinders come in a variety of types. Among these we find:
• Cordless grinders
• Electric grinders
• Petrol-powered grinders
• Pneumatic grinders
Any of these grinders can be used successfully for cutting tile or for many other projects that you may be working on. Electric grinders are generally considered to be more powerful and are often used for jobs that require you to cover large surfaces.
The cordless grinder is similar to the electric one because it is powered by batteries, often rechargeable. Using a cordless grinder offers one major advantage in the freedom of movement it allows. A pneumatic grinder is easy to operate and maneuver but will be less powerful than an electric grinder.
If you already own an angle grinder, you will most likely be using the one you have to cut tiles. If you intend to acquire a grinder, consider which type will best suit your needs long term and your budget.
The correct blade is the key to cutting a tile with a grinder. The recommended blade for cutting tiles with a grinder is a smooth-edge, diamond-tip cutting blade for a clean smooth cut. This blade is particularly recommended for cutting ceramic tiles.
Porcelain tile, on the other hand, will cut better when a notched blade is used. A serrated blade is a great choice for cutting natural stone tiles. Select the blade based on the type of tile material that you will be cutting.
Whenever you operate power tools, certain safety precautions should be a priority. Two common occurrences when cutting tile with a grinder are noise and lots of dust. Bits or chips of tile may also fly up during cutting, so ear protectors, safety glasses, and a dust mask are needed.
A good pair of protective gloves for your hands is also recommended, and if you have the possibility to cut outdoors, do so for the dust produced. If you cannot cut outside, make sure your work area is well-ventilated.
Cutting Tile with an Angle Grinder
If you have your grinder and your tile, follow this easy step-by-step guide to begin cutting.
- Angle grinder
- Safety glasses or goggles
- Safety Protective Equipment
- Dust mask
- Masking tape (optional)
- Ear protectors
Step 1: Prepare the Grinder
Before turning your grinder on or connecting it to a power source, remember to read any recommendations that the grinder manufacturer has given for the correct operation of the tool.
Step 2: Select and Insert the Blade
Each type of material will require a specific blade for successfully cutting. This means you will need to choose a smooth blade, a serrated blade, a diamond blade, or others depending on the type of tile you wish to cut.
Step 3: Prepare the tile
Now it’s time to prepare the tile you wish to cut. If you are cutting a ceramic tile with a grinder, you may want to wrap the edges in masking tape to prevent chipping the glazed edges of the tile during cutting. You can place more than one layer of tape if you feel the need for extra protection, just don’t exaggerate.
Step 4: Mark Your Cut on the Tile
Having verified the correct measurements that you need for a tile, mark the line or shape that you wish to cut including circles, squares, or curves. If you have prepared the tile with masking tape, mark your line or shape right over it.
Step 5: Now secure the tile position
The tile should be secured to the surface you will be working on such as a workbench or workshop table. To protect tiles, rubber clamps are recommended. If at all possible, cut your tile outdoors or in an exceptionally well-ventilated area in consideration of the amount of dust that will be produced during cutting.
Step 6: Cut
After preparing your grinder with the best blade for the tile type, taping the tile and marking your line or shape, securing the tile to your work surface, it is time to begin cutting.
Following the manufacturer’s recommendations, adjust the speed and place the angle grinder against the tile at the beginning of your marking. Carefully cut along your marking. You will most likely need to cut bypassing the grinder several times. Each cutting pass should be a little deeper until you successfully cut through the tile.
If you are cutting a circular shape, your marked tile should be placed on a flat surface. You need to cut directly into the surface of the tile and make repeated passes on the shape line that you are cutting. In this case, to make rounded edges for drains or pipes, hold the grinder blade in a horizontal manner that is practically flush with the tile. Make repeated passes slowly, working around the shape.
Step 7: Finishing and smoothing
When you have completed the cut, you will probably want to smooth out the cut’s edge. You can use the grinder blade’s flat side to do this or opt for sandpaper.
Cutting a Variety of Tiles with an Angle Grinder
Cut Porcelain Tiles with an Angle Grinder
When cutting porcelain tile with an angle grinder, the method described in this article can be followed. It is important with porcelain tile to mark the shape you wish to cut on either side of the tile. When cutting, use little pressure to avoid chipping or cracking your tile and make several small cuts going gradually deeper until the cut is complete.
Cutting ceramic tile with grinder
To cut ceramic tile with an angle grinder, the above procedure is correct. Again, the choice of the blade will define your success.
Cutting porcelain slabs with an angle grinder
Porcelain slabs can be cut either as tiles or for slab countertops, or more. Porcelain slabs are large-format slabs. They are used in the same places that traditional porcelain tiles are used including walls, floors, and even backsplashes.
However, it doesn’t end with the usual. These slabs are also used in locations where porcelain tiles are not normally seen like countertops, around fireplaces, for sinks or bathtubs, for exteriors, and even for furniture. The same procedure for cutting tile with an angle grinder is applied when cutting slabs.
Can a Tile Cutter Cut Angles?
Some tile cutters will have the option for cutting an angle that is 45° as the tile cutter tray can alter its direction to secure a tile at either 90° or 45° angles. You can also use and angle grinder to cut angles on tiles.
How to Cut Angles in Tile
Cutting an angle on a tile, regardless of the material it is made of, is not very different than cutting a straight line.
Step 1: Mark
With the correct measurement for your angle, mark the tile on both sides.
Step 2: Cut
Using your cutting instrument, cut the tile along the line you have marked for the angle.
Step 3: Finish
Smooth the edge with sandpaper or the flat side of an angle grinder.
A Final Thought
If you have an occasional DIY tile project, but don’t have a tile cutter, a reasonably priced angle grinder can get the job done.