▷ How to saw porcelain tile with a circular saw or tile cutting saw 【2022】

Drilling Holes for Wall Hangings

After installing porcelain tiles on a wall, you often will need to cut a hole for a wall hanging or a bathroom accessory such as a towel rail. Accomplish this using a drill with a diamond bit and some cooling oil, says Ask the Builder. Place a piece of masking tape where you want the hole in the tile to give the drill bit something in which to bite. Dip the drill bit for tile into cooling oil to keep it from overheating as you drill. Start drilling slowly until the bit bites into the porcelain, then increase the speed until you complete the hole.


#2 Cutting Porcelain Tile Using an Angle Grinder

The second best tool that can be used is an angle grinder which can do multiple cuts in different sizes and shapes including the L cuts, the circle cuts, straight cuts, square cuts etc. Cutting porcelain tiles around the toilet for pipes and exposing waste needs a curvy cut rather than drilling holes.

An angle grinder is perfectly suited to cutting curves in tiles.

  • On the tile, mark out the shape which is to be cut and have a clear idea about which side is the waste. You can get carried away easily and score on the side of the tile. Use an electrician’s tape to make a cross as a marker.
  • Mark the desired shape on both sides of the tile. Make sure you follow the shape on the edge of the angle grinder gently with little pressure to get a clean mark which doesn’t chip.
  • Make multiple small cuts by turning over the tile. These will avoid the jamming and help you maintain control. The blade should run into the waste side.
  • After you get the desired cut, you can smoothen the edge by using an abrasive wheel. The finished cut will depend on whether the cut is clearly visible on the (polished/unpolished) porcelain tile.

Just take the grinder and pull it across the edge that you want to cut and the grinder does the work for you in no time with efficiency and cleanliness.

Cutting Large Holes in Tile

You might need to cut parts of a large hole from the sides of two tiles for a sink cutout, a toilet waste pipe or other large plumbing. Each of the two tiles will have half of the large hole cut from its side. When placed together, they will have one, large hole stretching across them. Sketch the shape of the circle you want to cut out across the tiles with a grease pencil.

This should create an arc from the side of each tile into the center. Make multiple, parallel cuts from the side of each tile down to the curve mark using a tile wet saw. The result should look like several teeth or piano keys in the shape of a curve on the inside of each tile. Use tile nippers to bite off each of these teeth, and then grind down the interior edge of the hole with a tile wet saw.

How to cut porcelain tile with a circular saw

First of all, you need to know that cutting tile with a circular saw is not ideal. We will show you how to work with it just fine, but we also want you to know that it is not the best option. Maybe you did already have one and you want to save some money. But consider why it is or it is not worth it to go and rent a proper tile cutting saw for a couple of days. If you are sure about cutting porcelain tiles with a circular saw, this is what you will need:

  • About the tile blade for your circular saw: it must be a diamond masonry blade specially designed for porcelain. It has the proper size for this kind of saw.
  • Here you have two options: you can make a water-cooling mechanism at home with some help, or you can be very patient and use a construction-grade respirator mask.

The blade you will be using for your circular saw is the same blade that you would use on a wet tile saw. It is essential that you choose the right size for your saw, and obviously it has to be specifically designed for cutting porcelain. Remember that porcelain is a very hard material, which means that you can’t just use any blade. In most of the cases, it is recommended performing a wet cutting. Keep in mind that it will be easier for you to work with the saw, faster, and more importantly, it will be safer. Besides, the tile will be less likely to chip. You can ask for help, and the assistant would have to do the wet cutting by slowly pouring the water flow over the tile and the front of the blade. He or she could use a bucket of water or a garden hose. Whatever you choose, you need to be very careful. Remember that tile saws are created to be used with water. But circular saws are not. This means that there is a real risk of electrocution. If you choose to perform a dry cut, we highly recommend you wear a proper respirator mask. Not just any dust mask. Remember that you need to cover yourself to be protected from the crystalline silica dust that cutting porcelain tiles produces. It is very dangerous. Besides, a blade specially designed for dry cutting will be required. If you must dry cut, the work will be a bit slow, because you need to make short and shallow cuts, or the blade will get overheated.

What is the easiest way to cut tiles?

‘This will depend on the type of tile you are working with,’ says John Geraghty, tiling expert, MyJobQuote (opens in new tab).

‘For example, more delicate tiles such as porcelain will need a wet-saw tile cutter, whereas a ceramic tile is more versatile and various tools can be used.’

So if you’ve experienced broken tiles in the past, and wondering why they keep cracking, you could be using the wrong type of tool.

Circular Saw Blade for Cutting Tiles

What Kind of Blade Do You Use to Cut Tile?

You will a diamond circular saw blade to cut tiles and other hard stones such as marble and granite. No ifs, ands, or buts about it, if you are going to be cutting tile with your circular saw, you are going to need to swap out your current wood blade for a diamond grit blade.

When it comes to diamond blades, however, there’s such a huge variety of styles, sizes, and designed uses that choosing the right one for the job can be a bit overwhelming.

After all, there are segmented diamond blades, continuous diamond blades, blades meant for wet applications, blades meant for dry applications, blades that can do both, and blades specifically designed for use with the type of material being cut. How do you know what the best option is for your job?

Let’s simplify your diamond blade search:

Choose the Right Size Diamond Blade for Your Circular Saw

There’s a good chance that your handheld circular saw uses a 7 ¼-inch blade which happens to be the most common circular saw size, but you may, instead, have a 5 ½-inch or a 6 ½-inch circular saw, or maybe you went with a 10 ¼-incher. This likely goes without saying, but you will need to choose a blade size that fits your saw, correctly.

However, the most readily available blades meant for tile cutting (and, in turn, for use in a tile-saw) do not always align with the other saws in your tool shed in terms of blade sizing. In other words, if you have a 7 ¼-inch circular saw, you might only be able to find a 7-inch diamond blade meant for tile cutting at your local hardware store.

Annoying, I know. Is it a tool-spiracy? Probably.

But don’t fret! The general rule of thumb is that you can usually get away with a smaller blade, but you mustn’t ever attempt to go larger. A smaller blade will change your allotted cutting depth slightly, so find a blade at least close in size to your saw’s.

Wet vs Dry Cutting

If using a wet-cut approach, ensure that the diamond blade you choose can be used in wet applications. If using a dry-cut approach, ensure that the diamond blade you choose can be used in dry applications.

It’s best to stick with blades meant for tile cutting, but in case you have a good diamond blade laying around that doesn’t specify or if you can’t find one specifically meant for wet- or dry-only applications, keep in mind that it is generally acceptable to use a dry-cutting blade in wet applications, but it’s never a good idea to use a wet cutting blade in dry applications.

So, if you choose the dry-cutting approach, make sure your blade is designed for this and will be able to handle the friction and heat. You may even be able to find one that can do both!

Continuous Rim Blade

Choose a continuous-rim diamond blade. This will greatly minimize chipping of your tile, but may limit you to wet-cutting applications depending on the blade you choose.

Tile Material

Choose a blade that will work for the tile material you will be cutting. Diamond blades will specify whether they will work for ceramic, porcelain, granite, and/or marble tile. Some are designed to work on all of them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Cut Tile Without a Tile Saw?

Yes, you can cut tile without using a saw. Cutting will be done in the same fashion as that described above. However, there will be a huge waste of material while cutting with this method.

How Do You Cut Ceramic Tile Without Chipping?

Cutting ceramic tiles without chipping them is not a difficult task. There are several things that you need to do in order to cut and remain worry-free of chipped tiles.

These are:

  • Setting up the right cutting site Using the correct saw blade
  • Choosing the right speed for your circular saw
  • Cutting the tile in straight lines

While these steps are not difficult to follow, it is always better that you take precautionary measures while cutting ceramic tiles.

A chipped tile may look good for a short duration of time; but in the long run, it could cost you more.

The same can be said about installing damaged or chipped tiles on your flooring surface.

Apart from the chipping, tiles can get damaged while cutting as well.

What Kind of Blade Do I Use to Cut Ceramic Tile?

You will need to invest in a carbide-tipped blade to cut ceramic tiles. Apart from that, you can also use a diamond blade or a special tile blade for the job.

You can always find a decent tile blade for porcelain tiles at a very affordable price.

How Do You Cut Porcelain Tile Without a Wet Saw?

Cutting porcelain tile without a wet tile saw is possible and it can be done in many ways.

You can use different types of tools such as angle grinder, manual tile saws (tile cutter), circular saws, etc.

However, you will need to be extra careful with tools such as the angle grinder before cutting porcelain tile.

Do Carbide Blades Cut Tile?

Yes, carbide blades can cut ceramic and porcelain tiles very well. However, you will need to run the tool at a slow pace while cutting.

Are Porcelain Tiles Harder to Cut Than Ceramic?

Yes, porcelain tiles are harder to cut than ceramic. They require more power to be cut compared with ceramic tiles.

Here’s a Cool video that shows cutting tile with circular saw

#4 How to Cut a Porcelain Tile Using a Wet Saw

A wet tile saw cuts tiles made of ceramic and porcelain leaving a clean, smooth edge. As mentioned, owning a wet saw is not economically feasible.

However, you might as well come across certain situations where you need to weigh the pros and cons and use a wet saw for cutting a porcelain tile. It is the best way to cut a porcelain tile in my honest opinion. 

Although they can chip the surface of porcelain ti

Although they can chip the surface of porcelain tiles so in order to ensure a cleaner cut, you should use a wet saw with an adjustable blade. Working slowly and using a fresh blade always helps.

Notching the Tile to Avoid Chips

A great way to avoid chipping on porcelain tiles is to notch the tile before cutting through. Follow the below steps to do so:

  • Set your tile saw blade upon the tile
  • Mark the point where you wish to notch
  • Place the tile with the marking facing the blade but do not let them get in touch yet and turn on your saw
  • Push the tile towards the blade and cut an inch for small tiles (go till 2 inches for larger tiles) and turn it off
  • Flip the tile, turn on the saw and cut where you made the notch earlier

This is why one should know how to cut a porcelain tile with a wet saw, a cutting machine or a blade.

  • Use a fresh sharpened blade and always remember to cut slowly in order to get clean cuts
  • It is mandatory to mark the cutting line with a wax pencil before you start cutting porcelain tile. This is to ensure the precision in the size and the chipping can be avoided by masking the edges with a suitable tape.
  • Fill the reservoir with water upto the blade dipping into it and place the tile depending upon where your blade cuts from (above/below)
  • Adjust your saw in a way that it can cut upto 1/8 inch deep into the tile. You don’t want to cut through or more than half through the tile
  • After marking the edges, take a cutter and score the line to make the clean cuts. Be sure that the tile is levelled along the blade to avoid any distortions or bends. Now, apply pressure and score the tile towards the down for it to snap. Once cut, you can either continue to the final cut or notch the tile before that.

How to cut holes in ceramic tile

Cutting a hole in ceramic tile with a hole saw

Cutting a hole in ceramic tile with a hole saw

The easiest and neatest method is to buy a ceramic-tile hole saw. Keep the tile wet and the drill speed low.

Or use a coping saw For more size and shape flexibility, take the low-tech route of a masonry bit and a coping saw with a ceramic tile blade.

Does it bother you when you see tiles that are split to fit around pipes, valves and spouts? It should. Split tiles look pretty shabby, especially since cutting a hole in tile is neither difficult nor expensive. The easiest and neatest method is to buy a 1-1/4 in. ceramic-tile hole saw (from about $10 for individual bits to about $50 for kits). It has carbide grit embedded in the rim that allows it to cut into vitreous tile. The 1-1/4 in. size will work for most applications, but measure your valves to make sure. When using this saw, keep the tile wet and the drill speed low.

For more size flexibility, take the low-tech route of a masonry bit and a coping saw with a ceramic tile blade (available at a home center). First, drill a starter hole with the masonry bit. Next, detach one end of the coping saw blade, feed it through the starter hole, reattach it and go to work. Although it’s slower, the advantage of the low-tech method is that you can make any size hole without buying more tools.


Leave a Comment