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How to best cut very large textured porcelain tile so it doesn't chip? & overlap

How to best cut very large textured porcelain tile so it doesn't chip? & overlap

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Old 05-25-16, 03:09 PM
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How to best cut very large textured porcelain tile so it doesn't chip? & overlap

Hi
I'm redoing a shower with large 8" by 48" wood look porcelain tile that has a texture. I bought a decent hand tile cutter as I heard that they do a good job on porcelain. I tried a few but am still getting small chips - seems like they happen when the wheel goes over the texture - no matter how hard or easy I push. Likely also not helping is that they are relatively cheap ones from a big box.

I read that there are special blades for wet saws for porcelain. Would they work any better? Am not loving the idea of buying a bridge saw so I could cut the suckers - but if it would cut them clean I could likely justify it. - I can't see how I could make my cheap little table style wet saw work with such a long tile - but if any one has done it I'd love to hear.

While on the subject of long tiles. I know that I shouldn't overlap more than 1/3 (16"). One of my walls is only 3' so if I'm cutting them down to 3' (assuming I use a tile that goes all the way across - not exactly sure what is going to look good yet) would that change the amount I should overlap to 12"? Might not be an answer to this as it likely depends on how badly bowed the things are??

If you have any tips on how to set up a nice random overlap pattern that would be much appreciated too - its an alcove shower with 2 3' side walls and a 6' back wall. I can slap them up easy enough but making them look pretty...

Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 05-25-16, 04:49 PM
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This trend for large format tiles has its drawback as you are finding out. If there is a major texture in the tile, a simple tile score and snap cutter is not going to work. A wet saw is needed - however you obtain one it is imperative to get smooth straight cuts. I won't be much help on trying to make 4' wide tile look good in a 5' shower. That is something that should have been thought through way before this stage of the remodel.
 
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Old 05-25-16, 05:50 PM
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I use a wet saw. You have to watch what type you get to make sure it can accommodate tiles that long. I have one where the frame that supports the motor can get in the way sometimes but I have another where it's not an issue so look at how your tiles will fit in the saw before purchasing or renting.
 
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Old 05-25-16, 07:46 PM
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Thanks. So you've both been able to cut textured big box store quality porcelain with a wet saw with no chipping?

I was planning on trying rips with my cheap table top wet saw - is it a bridge type or one with a sliding table that might be able to cut that long?

Wife has shown me pics of vision. Looks fine. Will be PITA but oh well.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 03:46 AM
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I have a tile cutter and have used it in the past. A tile cutter can only make straight cuts. It takes several scores (especially with a dull wheel blade) if you want a clean break with no chips. Ever since I bought my cheap $100 wet saw, I haven't touch the tile cutter any more. A wet saw makes life so much easier when it comes to tiling.

The biggest pain with a wet saw is hauling it out and setting it up. Oh, and of course, cleaning it afterward. I also get concern of a water usage penalty since we have been in a long drought in the state of California.

Therefore, I am waiting for Memorial sale this weekend and will be getting this tile saw (dry cut), basing from the reviews and cheap price:

4 in. Handheld Dry-Cut Tile Saw

I also recommend that you read this article on the blade:

Diamond Blade Guide- Segmented, Turbo, Continuous- StoneTooling.com
 

Last edited by WRDIY; 05-26-16 at 04:20 AM.
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Old 05-26-16, 05:11 AM
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I saw a similar Dewalt hand held saw on another board. This one was a bit bigger and a lot more $ but had a water attachment so you could use it wet or dry. It was recommended as an option to rip long tiles. I wonder if a little 4" one would have enough power?

You are that dry in Cali that you have to worry about the bit of water that a wet saw uses! Not good.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 05:18 AM
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It's not a matter of power as the blade only sees the tile where it touches the blade so most tiles cut about the same. In general the cheap saws where the blade passes up through the table are low powered. They can cut any tile but they are slower and require a steadier hand to push the tile through. More professional saws have the motor and blade mounted above and the tile either rides on a table that slides back and forth or you pull the the saw through the stationary tile. The big help is that the cut is guided straight by the saw. Table size is also important when cutting really long tiles but no saw is able to support a 48" long tile so some cuts may require some skill or creativity.
 
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Old 05-26-16, 05:54 AM
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If you don't go perfectly straight through the blade it will bind on you which makes long rips on large format tile a challenge with the small tabletop saws. Dry cutting is another animal and I use it for unique cuts that can not be accommodated by my bridge saw or my tabletop. It usually involves a cut out of the center of a tile for plumbing rough in's and such.
 
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