One of the best cutting tools available for tile repairs and installation is the electric tile cutter. Cutting tile isn’t that difficult despite the numerous types of tiles on the market. These include:
- Natural stone
The electric tile cutter will require a higher skill level than a manual tile cutter but can perform all kinds of cuts for your tiling job.
How Electric Tile Cutter Works
In appearance, the electric tile cutter resembles a table saw. These cutters feature a diamond blade that rotates, and a guide will help you keep the tile straight during cutting.
These cutters are often referred to as wet saws because water will be sprayed onto the cutting blade to maintain the diamond blade cool. Some of these cutters have a hook up for the water source while others will have a water reservoir built in.
These electric tile cutters are exceptional performers for cutting straight lines thanks to the cutting guide. With a good skill level, you will be able to cut shapes including U-shapes and L-shapes as well as bevels, oddly shaped angles smaller shapes, and cutouts for sockets, and more. For cutting natural stone tiles, this cutter is a must.
Another advantage is the uniform smooth cut that this tool executes, much more precise and smoother than the edges found when cutting with a manual tool cutter.
The electric tile cutter is a fantastic choice for large-scale projects. The only problems with using an electric tile cutter are its size, and of course, the necessary skill level.
Wet Saw Options
The electric wet saw can be found in a basic version for home DIY projects and perform much like a small-scale table saw that features a blade positioned in a slot in a table.
You slide the tile over the table and directly into the path of the blade when cutting. Most of these tools come with a tile guide that is adjustable and with a miter gauge so that you can cut angles.
Expensive industrial-grade wet saws** for professional contractors will look like a power miter saw and usually feature a motor and blade that are mounted overhead.
Step-by-step Guide for Using a Tile Cutter Wet Saw
- Wet Tile Saw
- Safety goggles or glasses
- Safety Ear protectors
- Fine Marker or grease pencil
- Water source
- Plastic cloth
- Plastic pail
- GFCI outlet (Ground-fault circuit interrupter)
- GFCI extension cord if necessary
Step 1: Preparation of the Work Area
Select a well-lighted space that is free of any type of obstruction for cutting your tiles. This space should have an electrical outlet. If you need a water source, this space should also have access to a faucet or spigot.
If inside, cover floors, equipment, and other surfaces with plastic sheets to protect from water infiltration. Position a sturdy workbench or table that can support your wet saw cutter and position the saw on top.
Step 2: Wet Saw preparation
If your wet saw has a reservoir, fill it with water. The water level should be above the recirculating pump within. If your saw does not have a reservoir, hook the water tube to your water source spigot or faucet. You can place a plastic pail underneath the outlet for draining or use another tube to run the water directly into a drain.
Plug your wet tile saw into a GFCI outlet. If your home or workspace does not have a protected GFCI outlet, use an extension cord that is GFCI. This is a fundamental precaution because water and electricity can be dangerous together.
The electrical cord from the outlet to the wet saw should have a drip loop that sits lower than the outlet and the wet saw. This will prevent water from getting into the electrical outlet.
Step 3: Cut Preparation
Using a pencil or marker, draw your desired cutting line onto the tile. Adjust the saw guide to the cut width you want. When cutting angles, adjust the miter gauge to the angle you want. Position the tile on the saw bed, making sure that it is flush against the miter gauge or saw fence. The blade should be positioned to the marked line. Pull back the tile to a position in front of the saw blade.
Step 4: Cut the Tile
Making sure to wear both safety glasses and ear protectors, turn on the wet saw. Allow the blade to arrive at speed. Check to see if water is entering the blade. It should not be splashing. If you need to adjust water flow or direction, follow manufacturer indications.
Push the tile slowly through the rotating blade. You need to hold it on both sides but with your hands as far away as possible from the blade. Gradually feed the tile, do not pressure or force. Saw motors should not slow down or labor during cutting. As the end of the tile nears the blade, slow the speed of the tile feed to avoid breakage. When the tile is completely cut, shut off the saw and wait for the blade rotation to finish. Remove the tile. Some saws have brakes to stop the blade rapidly.
- If your water reservoir fills with sediment or particles, interrupt your cutting and change the water, after rinsing out thoroughly.
- When cutting small pieces of tile, keep your hands and fingers safe by using small wood blocks to push the tile to the blade.