If you’re planning a home renovation project, like changing the tile in your kitchen or bathroom, for example, you’ll need specific tools to get the job done right. Perhaps you intend to do the work yourself so you can save some money.
To properly cut tile, you need a wet tile saw. However, if you’re on a budget and can’t afford to buy or rent this tool, you can use a miter saw with a diamond or carbide blade attachment. Look for a turbo rim or segmented rim blade (with gaps) that help release heat into the surrounding air. A miter saw should really be used as a ‘last resort’ only or to cut just a few tiles for a small job.
Now that you know you can cut tile with a miter saw, let’s explore this concept in more detail below. I’ll discuss how to do it and what other supplies you’ll need. I’ll also explore some related topics, such as whether (or not) you can use a jigsaw or multi-tool to cut tile, how to cut tile without a saw, and what tool is best for the job.
So, if you’re ready to learn more about cutting tile using a miter saw, then let’s get to it!
What Is A Miter Saw?
A miter saw (or drop saw) is a type of power tool used to cut material such as wood, metal, or masonry quickly and accurately at the desired angle.
Small and portable, this saw is often used to cut molding or trim work. Its versatility and ease of use make it suitable for a variety of construction jobs.
How Do You Cut Tile With A Miter Saw?
Miter saws, though traditionally used to cut wood, can also be used to cut tile. You must have the right blade attachment, however, otherwise, you run the risk of not only damaging your saw and ruining the tile but also hurting yourself!
The proper way to make straight cuts, angle cuts and square cuts (anything other than circular cuts) includes the following:
1. Straight Cuts
- Using a tape measure and pencil, carefully mark the face of the tile on the area you need to cut.
- Place the tile directly onto the miter saw tray and hold it firmly in place.
- Squeeze the trigger on the saw and then gently pull the blade down into the tile.
2. Angle Cuts
- Use the miter feature on the saw to make an angle cut on the tile. Begin by loosening the adjustment lever to slant the blade.
- Set the appropriate angle blade percentage using the gauge on the saw or use the pencil markings on the tile as a guide.
- Slant the blade left or right for angle cuts on the face of the tile. Or, slant the blade up or down to the left for edge miters.
3. Square Cuts
- Use the drop feature of the blade to make square cut-outs on the tile. Begin by marking the back of the tile and then place it face down on the tray.
- Hold the tile securely in place and pull the blade down into the tile on top of the cut lines. Rotate the tile as needed in order to cut all sides of the square.
- Tap the cut-out area lightly with your knuckle until it falls out.
Apart from the miter saw and the diamond/carbide blade attachment, you’ll also need a tape measure and pencil for making the cut-out areas on the tile.
Read also: How To Read A Tape Measure
Safety gear, such as eye goggles or a face shield, earplugs, work gloves, and a dust mask should also be used. Always begin by inspecting the saw carefully to make sure it’s in good operating condition.
On a cautionary note, always keep your fingers clear of the blade when holding the piece of tile in place.
Do not attempt to make a cut if your fingers are going to be within a couple of inches of the blade; instead, use a wet saw. A wet tile saw diamond blade will not cut your fingers while a dry-use diamond-tipped miter saw blade will!
The secret to cutting tile perfectly is water! Most miter saws can be hooked up to a garden hose, which is something to consider.
The water acts as a lubricant on the blade, allowing for smoother cuts and less ‘wear and tear’ on your saw.
Though not near as good as a wet tile saw, a miter saw should only be used for small tile jobs or as a last resort.
A final thought – try attaching a household wet or dry vacuum (or shop vac) to the saw’s dust port! Tiles are very messy to cut, especially when cut dry.
They raise a lot of dust, which is not only hazardous to your health and the life of your saw itself but also makes a huge mess to clean up afterward. Trust me, this little trick with the vacuum really works!
Can You Use a Jigsaw to Cut Tile?
You can indeed use a jigsaw (or a saber saw) to cut tile, provided it has an abrasive carbide or diamond-tipped, smooth-edged blade.
This is necessary not only for cutting tile ‘cleanly’ but also safely. Regardless of your skill or strength level, a jigsaw is lightweight and easy to handle. It can make angled or curved cuts in ceramic tile both accurately and efficiently.
Can I Use a Multi-Tool To Cut Tile?
An oscillating tool (or multi-tool) is good for cutting holes into the tile. It can also be used for making intricate, curved cuts as well as trimming, shaping, and filing tile edges.
While this tool can be used in lieu of a tile nipper, it cannot take the place of a wet tile saw. Its an affordable option that works best as an accompanying (rather than primary) tool in your tile cutting repertoire.
What Saw Is Best For Cutting Tile?
The best tool for cutting tile is a wet saw. The constant flow of water from the reservoir over the blade helps cool down the saw while minimizing the amount of airborne dust and debris.
This tool is capable of both high quality and high quantity straight cuts on a tile. It can also safely cut diagonally through both ceramic and porcelain tile. This saw is a definite “must-have” for cutting glass tiles.
Related: Does Porcelain Tiles Scratch Easily?
How Can I Cut Tile without a Saw?
While it’s possible to cut tile without a saw, you still need other tools to do the job manually, namely an angle grinder.
Start by measuring and marking the tile. Next, secure the tile to your workbench.
Then, slowly and carefully pull the grinder along the cut line to ‘score’ the tile. Repeat this process until you have successfully cut all the way through the tile.
In summation, in order to properly cut tile, you need to invest in a wet tile saw. However, if you don’t have this tool on-hand and your budget doesn’t allow you to buy or rent one, you can use a miter saw with a diamond or carbide blade attachment instead.
If possible, opt for a turbo rim or segmented rim blade that allows for the release of heat into the air.
Using a miter saw to cut tile should only be used as a last resort or for a small job that only requires you to cut a few tiles.
It’s not recommended for a big tiling project or one that requires a lot of intricate cuts. The reason being that it’s loud, messy, and ill-suited.
Hopefully, this article has been of help to you. Thanks for reading and good luck with your upcoming tile cutting project.
Cheers, tools owners!