Can a Circular Saw Cut Tile?

Circular saws are used for all sorts of projects, but can they be used to cut tile? Tile often requires unique blades and cutting conditions. Using the wrong saw to cut the tile around your home can lead to jagged cuts and chipped pieces. It can also be quite dangerous.

A circular saw can cut tile if it has fine teeth. Wet saws are the best for cutting tile because they prevent overheating, chipping, and dulling. Make sure the teeth are designed for smooth cuts. Many circular saws have special blades designed for cutting tile, so they’re worth the upgrade.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can cut tile with a circular saw, what kind of saw blade you should choose, and a handful of safety suggestions.

How to Cut Tile with a Circular Saw

To cut tile with a circular saw, follow these step-by-step instructions:

  1. Mark the tile to know where you need to cut it. Use a bold, wide-tipped marker. It’s hard to see thin lines when cutting tile with a circular saw. Some people prefer making three lines, with the outer two lines being the guides for the inner line. Whatever you do, always mark before you cut.
  2. Clamp the tile to an elevated cutting surface, such as a pair of saw horses. Saw horses sit side by side, letting you cut any material much easier. However, you can also clamp the tile to the vice at the edge of your workbench. Make sure there’s plenty of space for you to move the circular saw without bumping the table.
  3. If you have a stationary circular saw, guide the tile into it; if you have a handheld circular saw, guide the saw into the tile. Stationary circular saws are typically better for cutting tile because they’re strong and offer optimal leverage. However, they’re a bit more expensive and bulky.
  4. Cut slowly to ensure you don’t chip or overheat the tile. If you cut the tile too quickly, you’ll break chunks out of it. Furthermore, the friction between the fast-moving blade and the tile could cause it to get too hot. Improper cutting speeds can dull the blade and ruin your tile in a matter of seconds.
  5. Stop if you smell or see burnt tile and excessive amounts of dust. This is quite rare when using the proper saw blade. However, it’s important to look for these signs of damage because they can harm your lungs. Cut tile will undoubtedly cause a bit of dust, but it shouldn’t be more than a small cloud around the blade.

According to eHow, you should always use a wet blade when cutting tile with a circular saw. Not only does it minimize the dust output, but it also prevents the tile from becoming brittle. You can choose a circular saw with a wet attachment or have someone slowly trickle hose water onto the tile while cutting it.

What Kind of Circular Saw Should You Use for Tile?

You should use a diamond circular saw blade when cutting tile. It should be a wet saw since tile can overheat and break if it’s cut with a dry blade. Fine teeth will produce a much smoother cut on the tile than wide teeth. Choose a blade between four to seven inches since it’s the most common size found on tile saws.

Pro Tool Reviews suggests choosing the finest blade teeth you can find. Not only will it make the cut look smooth (as mentioned above), but it’ll also prevent excessive amounts of dust. Wide blade teeth increase the chances of chipping the tile. These blades are often designed for wood. You can also look for circular saw blades specifically made for tile.

For instance, the Dewalt 7-Inch Diamond Blade is perfect for all sorts of tiles. You can use it to cut floor tiles, roof tiles, and more. It uses ultra-durable diamond-tipped teeth to slice through the tiles without skipping or overheating. This blade also has fine teeth designed to prevent too much dust from filling the room.

Precautionary Tips for Using Circular Saws on Tiles

When using circular saws to cut tiles, it’s important to cut from the top down. Never cut at an angle because you’ll risk chipping the tiles. Circular saws require slow, precise movements to prevent them from overheating, creating too much dust, or skipping. Skipping blades will wreck the tiles and cause safety hazards.

Remember these recommendations before cutting tile with a circular saw:

  • Always sharpen your circular saw blades if you want to cut tile. Sharpening your blades will prevent them from skipping, dulling, or chipping. Tile is one of the toughest surfaces you can cut with a circular saw. It’s important to have durable blades, which is another reason we suggest using diamond-tipped circular saws.
  • Never use a dry saw with a wet attachment or a garden hose. While you can make modifications to some circular saw blades, they have to be designed for wet or dry cutting. Wetting a dry blade will cause it to rust and skip. Furthermore, it can overheat and damage the tiles.
  • Never cut tiles without clamping them before using a circular saw. Cutting tiles with a circular saw requires two hands. You can’t hold the tile with one hand, nor should you ever cut a loose tile. If you don’t have saw horses, install a horizontal vice on a workbench or another stable, sturdy surface.

You shouldn’t have any issues cutting tiles with circular saws now that you have these tips in mind. If you’re worried about messing up the tiles, consider getting a few scrap tiles to practice.

Final Thoughts

Circular saws are some of the fastest saws on the market. Make sure you work slowly, but go at a steady pace to prevent overheating and uneven lines. Always wear safety glasses and gloves when cutting tile with a circular saw. Keep in mind that there are many different tile materials, so you might need to change your blade for the project.

Damien Madeira

Damien has been doing woodworking for the last 5 years. He began as a hobbyist with hand tools and slowly worked his way up to own larger machines and mill rough wood into beautiful creations. While still considering himself a hobbyist, he has a passion for woodworking and enjoys working with epoxy as well.

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