Cutting Tile with a Table Saw


When it comes to doing projects at home, one of the biggest projects homeowners face often comes with adding tile to floors, walls, counters, or anywhere in your home. When you start placing a tile, you have to be able to cut the tile to size to make it fit.

tile cutting using a table saw
Image by Hustvedt via Flickr

Of course, there are tile cutters and wet saws that are designed for cut tile and might be the route you want to take. But then there are table saws. If you know how, you can use the table saw to get the same type of made.

If you have a table saw on hand, it is possible to cut your ceramic tile using that instead of worrying about tile cutters and similar tools. In this guide, we will discuss just how you can cut tile with a table saw.

Check the Table Saw

Band Saw Vs. Table Saw
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If you want your table saw to cut tile, there are some things you need to check out about the saw first. One important factor is that your table saw needs to be pretty powerful. How much power you need really will depend on the saw.

Here’s a good way to answer whether your saw will be able to handle it. Have you ever tried to cut any type of hardwood? A good test would be to try hardwood and see if the saw struggles or if it cuts it just fine.

If the saw can easily cut hardwood, it probably has enough power to handle cutting tile as well. Now, while a table saw isn’t really the recommended tool for cutting tile, it will work if it has enough power.

You also need to make sure that you have the right kind of blade on the saw. The best blade for tile cutting is probably a diamond blade that is made for dry cutting. Remember that a wet saw is made differently. The moisture is there to protect against the friction of the cut. Be sure to use a strong blade for cutting tile on a table saw.

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Be Prepared for the Task

worker using safety goggles while working
Photo by Atoms on Unsplash

This won’t be your normal job on the saw, you are going to need a few supplies nearby. If you make sure you are well-prepared before you get started, the process should run more smoothly for you.

We mentioned above to make sure you have a suitable blade for this job. You won’t be able to use your everyday blade for cutting wood. You need a diamond blade or even a masonry blade and it needs to be sharp.

In most cases, a diamond blade will work for most ceramic tiles. If your tile is slate or something even harder than ceramic, you probably need a masonry blade for those materials.

You always need to wear the proper safety gear too. Just like when you cut wood, you should plan on wearing safety goggles. Tile can sometimes have small splinters that might jump up in the air so you want to protect yourself from them.

At a minimum, you need safety goggles. However, it wouldn’t hurt to also wear gloves and maybe an apron for additional protection. Finally, the dust from cutting tiles could really be bad for you to breathe in. You need to plan on wearing some sort of mask to prevent breathing that dust into your lungs.

The Process for Cutting Tile on a Table Saw

tile cutting using a table saw
Image by Hustvedt via Flickr

Now that you’ve got most of the basic details under your hat, let’s talk about actually cutting that tile.

We do want to point out that if you’re just using this for a few quick cuts or a one-time DIY project, that’s fine. However, if you plan to continue to cut tile regularly, you really should invest in a tile cutter or a wet saw instead of using your table saw.

Now, when you are ready, follow these steps to cut your tile.

  1. Make sure the table saw is powered off and unplugged.
  2. Remove the blade that you have been using and put on a fresh blade. We recommend a dry diamond blade with smooth edges but you could use a masonry blade if you’re cutting something besides ceramic tile.
  3. Prepare the tile with measurements and markings so that you can cut it correctly.
  4. Put on your safety gear, including eye goggles, mask, and gloves at a minimum.
  5. Power on the saw and let the blade come to speed.
  6. Start pushing the tile through to the blade. Move slowly and if the saw seems like it is getting bogged down, you should stop. Use a push stick if necessary to safely push the tile through and keep your fingers safe in the process. It’s best if you can cut the tile in one single motion by pushing continually.
  7. When the cut is complete, turn the saw off.
  8. Wipe the edges of the tile off using a damp rag. This will help cool the edges from the friction of the saw.
  9. Place the tile and keep going.

The process of cutting the tile really isn’t too hard. It’s the prep work and making sure the saw you are using can actually handle the task that can be the most challenging.

After Care for Your Saw

clean table saw
Image by Nottingham Hackspace via Flickr

While your saw might let you cut tile on it, that doesn’t mean you should do it a lot. Yes, it might be capable but cutting tile on your table saw is actually very hard on the saw. It also might be hard on your tile because there can be a lot of vibration.

If you do cut tile on the table saw, just be sure to carefully clean the saw when you finish. The dust is what wreaks havoc on the saw so empty any dust ports and be sure to carefully blow out and clean up all of the remnants of tile dust before you start using your saw again.

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You can cut tile on a table saw if you know the proper way to do it. If you plan to cut tile regularly, it might be better to go ahead and use a wet saw or a tile cutter instead. However, the table saw works pretty well in a pinch if you know how to make it work.

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