TOUGH TILE CUTS MADE EASY

Family Handyman|June 2020

TOUGH TILE CUTS MADE EASY
An angle grinder does what other tools can’t
JEFF GORTON

Some tile jobs require only straight, simple cuts. But most require some tricky ones: curves, holes for plumbing, or cutouts for electrical boxes. That’s when an angle grinder comes in handy. This article shows you how to use an inexpensive angle grinder with a diamond blade to cut perfect circles and squares in even the toughest tile, like granite or porcelain. You can buy a 4-in. or a 4-1/2-in. grinder for less than $60 and a dry-cut diamond blade to fit it starting at $15. In general, more expensive blades last longer.

When you’re choosing a diamond blade, look for one with a continuous, rather than segmented, rim for the smoothest cut. Be aware, though, that cutting with a dry-cut diamond blade creates a lot of dust and noise. So make sure you cut in a well-ventilated area (or better yet, outside!) and wear hearing protection, a good-quality two-strap dust mask and safety glasses.

TILT THE BLADE FOR CIRCLES

Many tile jobs require you to cut one or more large round holes for floor drains or shower valves. Photos 1 – 3 show how to cut a hole for a shower valve. We’re showing how to cut a hole that’s entirely within a single tile, one of the most difficult cuts. In the next section, we’ll show you an easier method for cutting curves in the edge of a tile. Even with this method, try to avoid a tile layout that places the edge of the circular cutout less than 1/2 in. from the edge of the tile. It’s better to shift the entire layout instead. Otherwise, chances are good that you’ll break the tile at the narrow point while cutting. The method shown for cutting a circle with a grinder and diamond blade requires you to cut around the circle several times, making a deeper cut with each revolution. The key is to maintain the same angle and shave off progressive layers, moving the cut closer to the center of the circle

1 SCORE THE FACE

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June 2020