Tile Saw



Just about every tiling job requires cutting tile. What you will be cutting, how much, and in what manner will determine the tool you use to cut with.  Most of the time the easiest and most efficient option is a tile saw.  While they may look similar to saws used to cut wood or metal, they are in fact quite different.

Typically they are used to cut ceramic, porcelain, glass and natural stone tiles but can used for other materials as well. There are a few different types to choose from all of which that use special diamond coated blades.  Tile saw blades do not have sharp “teeth,” that rip and tear in order to cut through the material; instead they actually grind through the tile.

Tile Saw

 

Simpler Choices For Simpler Jobs

Before you run out and purchase a saw, if you have a little job or a few individual tiles to deal with you might be able to get away with either tile nippers, a tile cutter or both.  Tile nippers look like pliers but they are used to “nip” or “bite,” small chunks out of the tile.  They have carbide tipped jaws that can make U-shaped, L-shaped, and curved cuts.  Of course since you are doing this by hand using them does take a little practice.

For trimming a small amount of tile to size tile cutters can do so for cheap and without any mess or noise.  Their carbide wheel simply scores the surface in a straight line and then their breaker bar snaps the tile along that line.

Tile Saw

 

Types Of Tile Saws

For larger jobs, more precise cuts, speed and convenience you’ll need a saw. There are 3 basic types which are all sometimes called tile saws: wet tile saws, hand held saws, and tile grinders.  That’s because they all can be used to cut tile. Each has its own advantages and applications for which they work best.  However, since wet saws are the true tile saw of the group we will start with them first.

Wet Tile Saws

Hands down these are considered the best tool available for cutting tiles. They are similar looking to table saws, except that the blade is mounted in a water reservoir. These saws are the most accurate and precise and the best choice for large projects such as tiling multiple rooms and cutting large quantities of tile, or when perfect cuts need to be made.

Tile Saw

Because they have a fence to line the tile up with, they are simple to operate and allow even an inexperienced user to make near perfect cuts over and over again with little effort.  It’s as simple as lining up your tile and cutting.  Angled cuts are just as easy.  If you need to make specialty cuts in your tile such as beveled or Miter cuts, that’s no problem either, you simply need to buy an attachment and you’re in business. Wet tile saws can also cut through any tile material, which is of course ideal.

So why do they use water? The water actually serves three vital functions. First, it cools down the tile saw blade, which otherwise would be damaged from the intense heat created from the friction of the blade on the tile itself. Second, it acts as a lubricant between the blade and tiles making cutting easier and preventing the tiles from cracking because of the heat. And third it minimizes the dust particles and debris which are produced when cutting which is very important.Tile Saw

Types Of Wet Tile Saws

There are two types of wet tile saws, the ones with re-circulating pumps and the pump-less variety. Saws with re-circulating pumps have a water reservoir.  The water from this reservoir is used and then filtered so it can be re-used without having to be hooked up to a faucet.

Pump-less models do not have their own reservoir. They are instead attached to faucet which gives them a constant supply of fresh and clean water.  When it comes to this type there are many styles to choose from ranging from totally basic to having a stand and using lasers for precision cutting. There are also many portable models available for smaller jobs.

Tile Saw

 

Hand Held Tile Saws

Also known as masonry saws, these hand held machines are good for medium and small projects where materials are thinner. Good examples would be cutting stone for countertops or removing tiles. These saws are also great for making curved or odd shaped cuts.

Their smaller size makes them highly portable and easy to carry. No set up is required just plug them in and they’re ready to go.  That is however unless you are making a wet cut, which simply means a quick hook up to a water source first.Tile Saw

There are three types:  Dry hand held saws, which don’t use water and therefore only make what’s referred to as “dry” cuts. Wet hand held saws, that use water for every cut and usually come with a 10-12 foot hose which must be attached to a water source.  And wet/dry hand held saws, that can make cuts with or without water; it’s up to the user.

When considering hand held tile saws it’s important to know a few things first. The dry variety, because they are not cooled by water, can overheat when making a large number of cuts or cutting too deep. Hand held saws in general are also not as accurate because in being hand held there is more chance for human error if you are not skilled or have a lot of practice using one.

Tile Saw

This also means that sometimes you may have to clamp each tile in place when cutting. These saws especially the dry ones are also much messier to use than wet tile saws and should probably be used outdoors. That being said all three types are smaller and much cheaper than the larger wet tile saws. What you choose should depend on your needs.

 

Tile Grinders

Also called angle grinders, these are the smallest saws and are a very handy little tool. Tile grinders are very inexpensive making them a fantastic DIY tile saw for homeowners.  You won’t need to set anything up to use them just plug them in. There are also cordless units which are rechargeable for even more convenience and portability.

Tile Saw

Tile grinders are usually used for cutting odd shapes or angles into single tiles. They can also be used for small projects where extremely precise cuts are not of major importance. For example removing old ceramic tile or cutting a space in tile for an electrical outlet or shower drain. Grinders can be very messy, and if you’re not skilled take some practice before you can make better cuts.

Should You Rent Or Buy? 

The question of tile saw rental often comes up for those who want to do the job themselves. And the answer depends on the size of your job. A wet tile saw or hand held saw can usually be rented for around $50 a day from most home shops. This a good deal only if you are tiling a single room, or are sure you will be cutting for a single day.

Tile Saw

The best cheap portable tile saws from reputable brands only usually run around $50-$150, so if you have a multiple room or a multiple day project buying is the smartest and most economical way to go.  Plus, you’ll always have your own saw for any future projects.

As for a tile grinder, considering they are so inexpensive, they are always smarter to buy.   They are just a great tool to have on hand while working on any tiling project, whether large or small and can be used to help with tile removal, cutting out old tile grout, or to cut or grind many other materials besides tile. If you only need a few individual cuts, you could also call your local home store as most will make them for you for pretty cheap.

Tile Saw

 

The Best Tile Saw Brands

There are a few companies which produce great products year after year and always rate extremely high for performance and customer satisfaction. All of the top companies that make these tile saws have 2 things in common; they’ve been around a long time and are known for their quality products which they stand by.

They all make a variety of different units ranging from tile grinders to full size wet tile saws with many different models all of which are known to be quality products.  While there are many other companies that offer cheaper or similar looking options, sticking with the following brands is a smart idea.

Tile Saw

DEWALT Tile Saws

All products made from this Black and Decker subsidiary are top of the line and this is especially true of their tile saws regardless of the model.   While more expensive than other brands, you are paying for reliability and top notch performance that you can use for years. These are professional grade machines and are really the best of the best.  They are the #1 choice for professional tile workers and contractors worldwide.  DEWALT tile saws are designed not only with performance in mind but also safety, convenience, and ease of use as well.

Bosch Tile Saws

This reputable company actually just came out with their first wet saw in 2012: the TC10 and it has been a huge success.  Its smoothness and the minimal effort required to use it are just two of its highlights. This model is also ready to be used as soon as you open the packaging.

Tile Saw

 

MK Tile Saws

Also known for their high quality tile saw blades, this is another top tier brand. They are great machines known for their dependability. For the pro or serious DIY homeowner alike they make an ideal choice.

Husky Tile Saws

These pro grade saws are made by the famous Husqarvana company (hence the name Husky), who have been in business since the 1600’s when they started making muskets for the Swedish army. Husky tile saws are renowned for their easy to use features, exceptional water control, and solid construction.  Unlike many brands they are ready to cut right out of the box with no complicated or confusing assembly and adjustments required.

 

Tile Saw

Felker Tile Saws

Yet another superb choice, Felker tile saws are typically known for 3 things: toughness, easiness to clean (which can be a blessing as many cheaper tile saws can be notoriously tough to clean), and for being much quieter than other brands.  While Felker is now a subsidiary of Husqarvana, this company has been in business a making professional grade saws and accessories since the early 1920’s.  They are also well-known for their top quality tile saw blades as well.

QEP Tile Saws

QEP offers an array of tile installation tools and tile accessories. And that also means from heavy duty all the way down to portable saws. In fact their portable versions are some of the best inexpensive wet tile saws you can find for the price.

Tile Saw

 

Rigid Tile Saws

These are used by many contractors and tile pros. They are solid saws which are usually less expensive than other leading brands.  Rigid’s tools all come with a full lifetime warranty, guaranteeing to replace or fix your saw free of charge (which is always a good thing).

SKIL Tile Saws

If you’re looking for a small portable saw that is an outstanding value SKIL makes them. They have quite a few best selling models that are make a really good wet tile saw for DIY homeowners.

Tile Saw

 

Where To Purchase

Even though many of the above brands can be found in homes stores today’s consumer has the enormous advantage of being able to shop online. In places like Amazon you can not only read the most recent tile saw reviews from others who have purchased the exact model you are looking at, but find the widest selection and biggest discounts. Many saws also come with free shipping.  If you’re unsure you can always go to your local home store first and find something you like and then compare the prices with those on the internet after.

With so much to choose from you should have no problem finding a tile saw.  But of course be sure to think about the tiling job at hand and what it will require in terms of cutting along with your how often you will use your saw and for what.  A professional who uses one every day will obviously need something different than someone who likes to complete their own DIY jobs on the weekends.  And don’t forget to take your time and shop online for the best possible deals!Tile Saw

The Top 10 Tile Saw Safety Tips from The Tile Home Guide

When using any power tools safety should be your main priority so here are our top 10 safety tips:

1) When cutting ceramic and other types of tiles with a tile saw always, always wear eye protection as pieces of tile can be extremely sharp and there is always a risk of pieces and particles flying into your eyes, especially with a dry tile saw.

2) Always wear heavy duty work gloves when cutting and handling freshly cut tiles as they can have razor sharp edges.

3)To get rid of sharp tile edges and avoid being cut later while carrying or installing, round over the edges of the tile you have cut with a tile stone.

Tile Saw

4) Always wear a NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) approved mask rated type N-95 or higher when cutting tile when cutting tile. Silica which is small particles of glass found in ceramic clay is dangerous when inhaled.

5) You should also always wear a fresh mask (not the one from the day before), so you don’t breathe in particles or dust from a previous days’ work (a very common mistake).

6) Because tiles saws use a lot of energy, make sure you use a good quality extension cord so you don’t run the risk of it melting.

Tile Saw

7) Because water and electricity don’t mix we suggest plugging your tile saw into a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) so if there is a problem it will instantly cut off the electricity.

8) When buying a tile saw or any other power equipment we always recommend  sticking  to the top brands, not only can this saw you a trip to the emergency room if something were to snap or break on an inferior product but it saves you having to buy your tile saw twice.

9) Always check to make sure the blade is in good condition before you start cutting.

10) Always have a first-aid or medical kit on hand in case of an emergency.

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