Looking at the power tool market, there are a number of versatile products that can help with doing-it-yourself work, or are a part of the daily routine for a handyman.
Among these is the angle grinder, which is a hand-held tool that can easily go through hard materials whether we are talking about carving, shaping, polishing or carpentry work. Can do the same with ceramic tiles? We all know what the best tool for cutting ceramic tiles is, and that certainly is not an angle grinder.
The wet saw is excellent for doing such work, but we have to agree that not everyone can afford it, and it is not as popular as the angle grinder, making it inaccessible to people that don’t work in the relevant industry.
It seems like the angle grinder is your best option if you have to do some work with ceramic tile finishing. But is it all that easy? It depends on your skill and the model that you are using. In order to help you, we prepared a few tips on how to cut tiles with an angle grinder, along with insight on the process itself. Let’s take a look.
Things to Consider When Cutting Tiles With an Angle Grinder
As we mentioned above, cutting tiles with an angle grinder is not that safe, nor an easy task to do. Unless you have experience with using this tool, we recommend that you call in someone who does and prevent a potentially serious injury caused by mishandling or a strong kickback.
On the other hand, if you have worked with an angle grinder before, it is all about having the right equipment and staying patient. What is the proper safety equipment? You will need to invest in things such as a dust mask, goggles, gloves, and earplugs if you want to be protected from the noise, as well as hazards such as flying debris which could injure you during the cutting process.
Apart from that, you should always hold the angle grinder with both hands, using the side handle to your advantage, if there is one. Also, the positioning of an angle grinder plays a huge role, as you are at risk of getting hit by ceramic chips which is why you should wear a long-sleeved shirt and jeans.
Other than the safety equipment, you want to ensure that you are using the right type of blade; in this case, it is a diamond-tipped notched smooth blade made out of porcelain, which is good for cutting through rocks as well. Ensure that the blade is properly and tightly fitted to prevent it from detaching from the angle grinder in the middle of the process.
One of the common things that experts do when cutting through ceramic tiles, is covering the tile with masking tape. What this will do is prevent and deflect the chips from coming straight at you. But how do you get a precise cut with masking type blocking your view? By marking the cut with a permanent marker beforehand.
For angle cuts, you will want to hold the grinder horizontally and cut along the mark. If what you are looking to achieve are straight cuts, then it is better to hold the tool vertically (with both of your hands) and push directly into the tiles!
The Tile Cutting Process
As mentioned above, your best bet is to invest in a diamond-cut blade that is going to be strong and sharp enough to deal with ceramic tiles. The first tip when it comes to cutting this kind of material is to tilt the blade especially if you are looking to do curved cuts.
You will want to avoid cutting near the edges as it may cause the angle grinder to slip, putting you at risk of an injury. Preparing the line by roughing semicircular cuts is a smart decision, if you want to make the cutting process a smooth one, and without the risk of ceramic chips deflecting against you.
How Do you Cut Tile Like a Pro?
Angle grinders fitted with a diamond blade cut tile without you breaking a sweat and about as accurately as you can hold the grinder.
While you can certainly use an angle grinder to cut just about any hole or section of tile, there is an alternative that is preferred method that professional tilers typically use.
Safety First - First Things First
When cutting any type of tile, it's recommended to make use of safety glasses, a dust mask, ear protection, and a wet-dry vac if possible. The risk from potential shards of tile and or fine particles being inhaled is something you'll want to avoid. So some basic safety precautions will be instrumental while conducting these works.
Step 1. Make a straight cut in a tile
A manual tile cutter is an outstanding tool for making precise straight cuts across the entire tile. By measuring and marking the front face of your tile, simply place the tile into the tile cutter base plate and line the cutting mark up with the blade. Run the blade across the tile surface to scribe a line in the tile. The scribed surface then requires a simple nudge from the tile cutter to split it neatly in two. This is done by forcibly pressing the handle down.
Step 2. Cut a notch out of a tile
Using a tile-cutting blade on an angle grinder is a quick way to take a precise section out of the tile. After you've attached a diamond-cut blade to your angle grinder, measure and mark the tile in which you'll be cutting. Then clamp your tile securely to a firm surface like a sawhorse. Use your angle grinder to cut in from the edges of the tile to make numerous cuts and then remove these notch cuts by cutting across each individual notch.
Can You Cut Roof Tiles With an Angle Grinder?
This depends on the type of roof tile. But if we're talking about the slate variety, the best option is to use a slate cutter or cut your way through the slate with a trowel.
While you could utilize an angle grinder, the lasting effect won't be ideal as the cut will appear too clean and when slates are cut the correct way - hacked or nibbled - they showcase a natural-looking bevel along the front edge; an angle grinder will, unfortunately, leave it looking dead straight.
Now if you only operating with an angle grinder and still wish to cut slate roof tiles, you can simply use a stone disc to make the necessary cuts. Sure, it might appear a little unnatural to the trained eye, but none the less, angle grinders can effectively cut slate roof tile.
What is the Best Tool to Cut Tile?
Wet Tile Saw
The Wet Tile Saw is probably the best tool to use to cut tile as it combines the use of water and a high-speed rotating diamond-encrusted blade disc that effortlessly and accurately cuts through ceramic tile. A wet saw is a fantastic option for cutting ceramic tile, and are now a relatively good cost-effective option for delivering professional grade tile cutting results.
The rotary tool uses a small bit blade that rotates immensely fast, to bite through ceramic tile. The tool operates very similarly to a spiral saw. A Rotary cutting tool is applicable for slicing holes in the center of a tile or making minor cuts to the corners of tiles. They are very beneficial for attempting to cut holes in bathroom tile for pipework or power outlets.
Manual Tile Cutter
This is an excellent tool for anyone attempting to cut anything from glass mosaic to porcelain or ceramic tile. You can cut larger section of tile with a Manual Tile Cutter and with a longer tile becoming ever more popular, you'll be able to make every cut necessary without requiring an expensive Wet Tile Saw. They are also beginner-friendly and very precise.
The Oscillating Tool is exceedingly favorable for a multitude of tasks, apart from cutting tile. You will need a blade that is specifically designed for ceramic tile cutting, and ideally, a Diamond Coated Blade would be best suited. Oscillating Tools are perfect for chopping holes in the center of a tile or making small cuts on tile edges on ceramic tiled dry-wall.
Compound Tile Nipper
Tile Nipper is the least complicated tile cutting tool available. The carbide blades equipped to the tool are dull which allows for effective systematic nibbling at tile edges to make simple curved cuts. The Compound Tile Nipper is really only practical for smaller jobs cutting in a circular motion. While they can be used to make straight cuts with mosaics, they are not very accurate and could cause tile breakages.
At the end of the day, it is more than possible to cut ceramic tiles with an angle grinder, as long as you have experience with this tool and you are not in any kind of rush. It all comes down to the adequate safety equipment, a strong and a powerful blade, and preparation that includes masking tape and marking the cut with a permanent marker.
If you don’t have the access to a wet tile saw, an angle grinder is a good alternative for when you need to make a quick cut. Hopefully, this article helped you with making a decision when it comes to cutting ceramic tiles in regards to what is the best tool to use.