Can You Cut Tile With A Circular Saw? (Without Chipping)

Last Updated On August 28, 2021 By Elliot

Our Top Guide To Cutting Tile With a Circular Saw

Tile material is not the easiest type of material to cut, not only is tile hard, but it is also very brittle, meaning it will break up easily if cut in the wrong way. 

Although circular saws are not the perfect tool for cutting tile with, you can use them to cut tile if you don't have a tile cutter on hand for the job, be aware you will have to use the right type of saw and avoid dry cutting thicker tiles due to the copious dust it will create which is a danger to your health. 

In our guide below we will discuss the different types of tile cutting blades you need for various tile types, why you should wet tile cut and a small step by step guide on how to do it.

Let's get tile cutting!

Which Circular Saw Blade Should I Use For My Tile? 

Choosing the right kind of circular saw tile cutting blade for your type of tile material is very important, most people would recommend you go all out with a special tile blade that is diamond-tipped, but not all tile jobs need this. 

Always ensure whatever type of blade you use on your saw is sharpened and free of any damage otherwise this can affect the cutting process. 

We have listed the main tile types below along with our recommended blade suggestions to give you the best finish on your cut. 

  • Ceramic tiles - Ceramic or mosaic floor tile are one of the most common types of material and can be cut with pretty much any type of circular saw blade, even a tungsten one.
  • Marble tiles - Marble is a very hard kind of tabletop tile and should be treated with care as it can chip easily, for this job we suggest using a diamond tile cutting blade as the material is quite hard to cut through.
  • Glass tiles - For normal cutting on glass tiles you can just use a dry saw, but you will need to use wet tile saws if you are planning to make longer cuts and stick with a diamond tile cutting blade. Make sure that the saw blade teeth are small to prevent damage. 
  • Stone tiles - Cutting stone tile will need a diamond wet tile blade as it is very hard, this blade should be very well-lubricated too.
  • Porcelain tile - Porcelain tile is not only expensive but hard to cut too, so you will be better off using a diamond circular saw blade for this job and a wet tile saws blade to reduce dust.

Should I Cut With a Dry Circular Saw Or a Wet Circular Saw? 

You might be wondering why it is so important to cut larger tiles with a wet saw blade rather than cut tile dry. 

This is because trying to cut proper tile with a dry saw will create a huge amount of dust and friction, this dust is very harmful to your lungs as it is crystalline silica dust, cutting dry will also wear the diamond blades down very quickly and lead to overheating which can kill you saw. 

Cutting tile with wet diamond blades is much preferred as they have a dedicated water projector which allows for better dust management and also stops the blade from wearing down so quickly by reducing friction and heat. 

It is still important even when wet cutting your tabletop tile to wear a dust mask as the sawdust created from tiles is very bad to breathe in even in minor amounts.

How To Cut Tile With a Circular Saw (Our Step By Step Guide) 

Now we know the type of circular saw blade we need for cutting tile and to avoid cutting tile material with a dry saw blade, we can dive into the details about how to go about the cutting process. 

Tools Needed 

  • Wet circular saw. 
  • Sawhorses/sacrificial board. 
  • Straight edge. 
  • Marker. 
  • Clamps. 
  • Measuring tape. 

Step By Step Guide 

  • Step one - First of all, you need to measure your tile, most of the time you will be using pre-cut tile blocks, if not you will need to cut the larger tile down, to begin with first. Mark on the tile where you wish to cut on both edges.
  • Step two - Take your straight edge and draw a line through the centre to both marks to use as your cutting guide for later. 
  • Step three - If you have a sawhorse, you should now lay your tile face up on the sawhorse and clamp it securely in place for cutting, if you have a sacrificial board then you need to lay the tile on top of this so as the circular saw's base has something to rest on while cutting. 
  • Step four - Adjust your blade height to avoid any tile issue when cutting and line the tile circular blade up with the points marked for cutting on your tile. Turn the blade on and water source on your saw. 
  • Step five - Now your saw is switched on you can begin to cut through the tile very slowly, do not try and force the blade and follow the guide marked earlier for accurate cutting. Never twist the blade from side to side. 
  • Step six - After cutting, remove the saw blade, turn off the machine and dispose of any waste, you will need to clean up the dust from the cut with a vacuum.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cutting Tile With a Circular Saw 

How much does a tile cutter cost? 

Depending on the type of tile cutter you buy and it's quality it could cost anything between £15-£50.

Do diamond blades for circular saws cost a lot? 

Typically, diamond blades do cost a little more than tungsten blades for a circular saw but shouldn't set you back more than £20-£50.

Are porcelain tiles harder to cut through? 

Porcelain tiles are harder to cut through than ceramic as they use a mix of material, using a diamond saw blade however should do the job.

What are some tips for cutting tile with a circular saw? 

Our best tip for cutting tile with a circular saw is to start slow and don't try and cut through the material at a high speed, never force the blade as this could cause the tile to shatter, always use a wet blade and follow the marked guide when cutting.

Could I cut tile with a mitre angle saw? 

It is possible to cut a tile with a mitre saw but you would need to invest in a diamond blade also for the best results, a watering system is needed too so as you can reduce dust build-up.

Why is a water pump important for cutting tile?

Water is very essential when cutting tile as it reduces heat build-up as well as dust which can be harmful to your saw and your overall health.

What should I do if my saw does not have a watering system?

If your saw does not have a water system to reduce dust and cool down your blade then you could try to use a bucket of water instead or a garden hose, you would need an extra pair of hands to do this while you are cutting. 

When using a bucket or hose you need to be careful about mixing water with electricity as these saws are not designed to be used with water like tile cutters are.

For people who have no way of cutting your tile wet then you need a high-quality respirator mask for the job as the crystalline silica dust is very dangerous, we suggest avoid dry cutting tile whenever you can, especially longer cuts as they will create more dust.

Final Words 

Overall, although not recommended, it is possible to cut tile with a circular saw rather than a tile cutter if you have a diamond-tipped blade and use a wet blade saw with a water source rather than a dry blade. 

You should always cut through tile at a slow speed when using a circular saw and wear appropriate protective equipment for the dust, never try and force the blade through the tile.

Elliot

I'm Elliot Higgins the Founder of multiple hardware stores around the UK. I love wood and wood working. Watching a fine piece of pine or cedar turn into a work of art is extremely satisfying. The one thing I love more than woodworking is the toys that we use! On HandyToolsHome.com; we bring you information and reviews on all kinds of tools.

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