Perhaps you’ve begun your latest home improvement project. You’re now faced with the daunting task of cutting pieces of tile to fit around corners, to fit existing floor space, or even cutting a slot into a piece of tile to allow for a plumbing or electrical fixture. There are a number of ways to cut tile, including a snap cutter, chop saw, or wood shop tools with special blades. The most versatile ever is the wet tile saw. This tutorial will attempt to answer a question we imagine you’ve all been asking: how to use a wet tile saw.
What is a Wet Tile Saw?
Before discussing the particulars of using a wet tile saw, a good starting point is learning what, precisely, a wet tile saw is, what it does, and how it works. A wet tile saw is a specialized piece of equipment for cutting tile. Wet tile saws use specialized diamond blades. Much as with a chop saw the diamond blades are without teeth.
Due to the large amounts of heat created when the turning blade meets tile, wet tile saws direct water through a pump (usually) to cool the blade and tile during the cutting process. The saws don’t require different setup pump.
Parts of a Wet Tile Saw
A wet tile saw accomplishes the task of cutting large pieces of tile quickly and accurately while minimizing tear outs. To do this, the wet tile saw keeps the saw blade and piece of tile cooled with running water. The saws with water pumps are much easier and safer to use. There are different configurations of wet tile saw; some look more similar to table saws, while others look more like miter boxes.
Despite the fact they can be different, in general, wet tile saws have the following parts: (1) a motor to power the blade; (2) a fence to guide the tile; (3) a diamond blade; (4) inlets and outlets for the water; (3) buttons that turn the blade on and allow water to reach the saw’s blade.
Preparing a Wet Tile Saw for Use
Measure the piece of tile to be cut, marking it as necessary. For straight cuts, align the fence to keep the straight edge of the tile tight to the fence. To aid stability, try to align the tile so that most of the tile is on the saw’s table. For making diagonal cuts, you’ll need to use a miter gauge. The miter gauge is adjustable and should slide along, or with, the table. This allows for a variety of angled cuts. Making bevel cuts allows you to angle the saw blade relative to the table. You’ll have to check your owner’s manual for how to adjust the blade angle.
A Note About Safety
Before turning on your wet tile saw, before even thinking about plugging it in, it’s essential that you review how to use the saw safely. Tile saws turn diamond blades at high RPMs to cut through the tile. They’ll do the same to fingers or hands. They can also grab the tile or throw debris back at you as you operate the saw. Be safe! Wear safety glasses at an absolute minimum.
Consider a shop apron if available. Be sure that all moving parts are in working order before plugging the saw in. If you’re unfortunate enough to have an old tile saw that doesn’t have a built-in pump, you’ll have to take care that the water input and output hoses have no chance of contacting a live wire.
Using a Wet Tile Saw
No matter how you plan to use a tile saw, it’s critical that you first open the water intake valve, then ensure water is being dispersed to the blade. If water isn’t reaching the blade, turn the saw off. You can’t cut anything safely with no water. To make straight cuts, align the rip fence to the desired width.
Turn the saw on. Slowly push the tile along with the sliding table until it reaches the blade, keeping your hands, fingers, and sleeves as far from the blade as possible. Let the blade do the work, taking care not to force feed the tile. To make angled cuts, set the miter gauge to the desired angle and follow the process above. For bevel cuts, set the saw blade to the proper angle and follow the process above.
Believe it or not, that’s all there is to it. We suggest that you take some time to practice cutting some scrap pieces of tile before making cuts that count. If it’s scrap, hey, you were going to throw it out anyhow, right? Also, always err on the side of making cuts that are too long or too wide.
You can always take more time off; you can’t put any more back on! How’d you like this tutorial? What’s your experience with a wet tile saw? What advice would you give? Please let us know your thoughts and experiences in the contact us section. And, if there’s someone you know who’d benefit from this quick tutorial, please share.