Should You Cut Tile & Stone With a Normal Saw?

Different saws for different materials

You’ve got some home improvements to make. It’s a project. You’ve cut wood and other types of materials in the past and now you need to cut tiles for the bathroom and some stone for the kitchen.

The bathroom has some strange angles, so it’s not going to be a simple job of laying the tiles and fixing them into place. In the kitchen, you know you’ll need different pieces of stone to create that traditional look and the local place has big slabs for sale at a reasonable price.

That means cutting both types of material to ensure everything looks great.

If you use a regular table saw you’ll quickly discover it isn’t the best tool for the job. Natural stone is harder than porcelain or ceramic, so you’ll need the correct tool to apply the right amount of pressure without cracking or breaking anything.


Porcelain Tiles

A manual tile cutter, hacksaw or wet saw are generally best for porcelain tiles used in bathrooms. Whatever tool you use the process is similar: score a shallow cut in the tile and then use the brittle nature of the porcelain to snap the tile apart.

These tools (listed below) usually have heavy duty cutting material such as tungsten carbonite or titanium and are generally preferred for smaller jobs.


Smaller Tools

Two tools that are generally used to cut through porcelain tiles:

  • Tile cutter: A manual cutter that is great for simple jobs. It will need tungsten carbonite blades to cut through things like smaller stone tiles for the bathroom or kitchen, but for anything else it might not be effective
  • Hacksaw: If it has a traditional steel blade then it won’t be able to cut through natural stone. Even using tungsten carbonate teeth could prove challenging if the tile or piece of stone is thick


Natural Stone

When cutting natural stone, you’ll need more than a simple hacksaw or tile cutter, and tungsten carbonite isn’t going to give you the best finish.

Not all types of stone have the same hardness or abrasiveness either, which means selecting the right saw and the right blade for the type of stone you’re cutting is crucial.

A diamond blade should always be chosen for stone. If the piece you’re cutting is a thick piece, then it’s best to do two to three passes opposed to one large one. This will ensure you get the right finish.

Some types of stone require different blades too.

Marble: this is softer than other materials and cutting it can be difficult if you don’t have the right blade or enough water.

Granite: blades for this type of material are designed so that when you cut the granite the blade goes through evenly. A high-quality bridge saw with the right blade will help you achieve this.


Wet Saws

The best tool to use when cutting stone or hard tiles is a wet saw that has a diamond encrusted blade. Keeping the blade wet will help keep things lubricated and prevent overheating.

A wet saw can look like a table saw because as the diamond blade rotates the guide keeps the tile straight. In general, it also has water spraying onto the blade to keep everything cool. This water can either be connected to a source or the machine will have a small refillable reservoir.

This type of saw is also used to cut glass because it cuts easier, is faster and has more precision than a normal table saw.

It has one main drawback though. It needs more space to operate and requires training before use.


The Achilli Saw

Our saw was born for cutting materials with more precision, so it’s ideal for cutting stone and tiles. It doesn’t matter what the size of the material is because the saws come in a variety of sizes.

If you walk past a home construction project and see a team cutting stone, then they’ll most likely be using an Achilli saw. If the material they’re using is of a substantial size then they will probably be using a larger version, but all Achilli saws are sturdy in build.

These saws have larger diamond blades for precision and toughness and can cut to a much larger depth than a normal saw. 

Whatever saw you use ensure it is in good working order and you’ve inspected it before each use. Injury prevention is important.


Five Quick Tips

When cutting natural stone, here are five quick tips to get the most from your project:

  1. Practice with some old material first
  2. Push the blade through the material slowly and smoothly
  3. Final cuts should always be made with the finished side up
  4. Be extra careful with marble tiles as they can break easily
  5. If you don’t have the right equipment and don’t know how to use it, hire a local contractor (or ask the store) to cut the items for you


Dust Can Kill

Any dust created when cutting tiles or stone can be hazardous to health. If you breathe in the silica that is pushed into the air during use it can cause a terrible lung disease or other health related conditions, so don’t breathe in the dust.

That means wearing the right grade of dust mask. One that can filter out unwanted particles, such as an N95 that will help filter out most particles in the air.

When you’re thinking about home improvements and you need to use a saw to cut tiles and stone, ensure you have the correct items for the project. If you do, you will be well on your way to being happy and proud of your achievements.

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