Tile Cutter

Can I use an angle grinder to cut tile?

It is not uncommon to see someone use an angle grinder to sharpen the mower blades or the gardening shears, which is just one of the many uses. The same power tool will help smoothen some rough surface of the steel window frame or even cut away a small piece of metal that is dangerously jutting out from the barbecue grill. Going ahead, you can also learn how to cut tiles with an angle grinder like a pro.

Looking at the power tool market, there are a number of versatile products that can help with doing-it-yourself work or are a part of the daily routine for a handyman.

Among these is the angle grinder, which is a handheld tool that can easily go through hard materials whether we are talking about carving, shaping, polishing or carpentry work. Can do the same with ceramic tiles? We all know what the best tool for cutting ceramic tiles is, and that certainly is not an angle grinder. 

The wet saw is excellent for doing such work. Still, we have to agree that not everyone can afford it, and it is not as popular as the angle grinder, making it inaccessible to people that don’t work in the relevant industry.

It seems like the angle grinder is your best option if you have to do some work with ceramic tile finishing. But is it all that easy? It depends on your skill and the model that you are using. To help you, we prepared a few tips on how to cut tiles with an angle grinder, along with insight on the process itself. Let’s take a look.

The most effective way to cut ceramic tile is with a wet tile saw, but not everyone has access to one of these specialty tools. You can also cut tile with a 4-inch angle grinder with a stone blade attached, and while the cuts aren’t as clean as with a tile cutting board or a tile wet saw it is an acceptable method for rough cuts around heater vents, doorways and against walls where they will be covered by baseboard or finish materials.

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What is an angle grinder?

An angle grinder is a handheld power tool that can be used for a variety of metal fabrication jobs that include cutting, grinding, deburring, finishing and polishing. The most common types of angle grinders are powered by electricity; either corded or battery-powered.

Which abrasives discs you select to use with your angle grinder depends entirely on your specific application and the material you are working with. Read on for more on this.

It is not uncommon to see someone use an angle grinder to sharpen the mower blades or the gardening shears, which is just one of the many uses. The same power tool will help smoothen some rough surface of the steel window frame or even cut away a small piece of metal that is dangerously jutting out from the barbecue grill. Going ahead, you can also learn how to cut tiles with an angle grinder like a pro.

Tile Cutter

Choose the right type of Angle Grinder

Although all angle grinders can perform the tasks of cutting, grinding, polishing, and sanding, the nature of work, whether light, medium or heavy-duty influences the choice of the tool. Light and medium duty angle grinders are best for household and industrial applications. For heavy-duty applications, you need robust grinders powered by gas like the ones used in oil and gas plants and the construction industry. The type of surface determines the type of grinding wheel. This is especially true for cutting tiles that would require different types of cutting discs to cut tiles into different shapes. You can give different shapes to tiles to suit the design or pattern.

A diamond blade used with an angle grinder is most suitable for cutting tiles, although cutting it with a wet saw might seem most effective. But since it takes a longer time to cut tiles manually and it is also difficult to maintain accuracy, cutting tiles with the help of angle grinders is a better option. In this article, we will provide you with a step by step guide for cutting tiles with an angle grinder.

The preparation

Before you start the actual work, make sure that you know the job and what would be necessary to perform the task satisfactorily. A smooth-edged, diamond-tipped blade is best for cutting ceramic tiles with an angle grinder, but for porcelain tiles, you must use notched blades, but for natural stone tiles, you must use serrated blades. Diamond tipped blades leave a smooth cut without damaging the tiles but tighten the disc or blade tightly to the grinder to prevent tile damage due to vibration. Use masking tape to cover the edge of ceramic tiles to protect it from chipping when cutting. Since the diamond blade generates a lot of dust and noise when cutting, use earplugs, a dust mask, and safety goggles for complete protection. Now you are ready to start the cutting process.

Choose the right tool

Although you will find different types of angle grinders in the market from electric grinders to pneumatic grinders as well as gas-driven grinders, for use in standard settings, electrical grinders, corded or cordless are most preferred. Electrical grinders are most convenient to use for large jobs by covering more area.

Get the right blade

Consider the type of tile- ceramic, porcelain, or natural stone that you want to cut to help in selecting the cutting disc or blade that can provide the kind of cut you want. For the smoothest cut on ceramic tiles, you must use a diamond cutting blade. To cut tiles made from natural stones that are thicker and harder than ceramic tiles and you do not mind having rough edges along with the cut, then a serrated blade is the best choice, which is also most suitable for cutting concrete and bricks.

We have the best stone cutting tools for your next stonework.

Hold the tile securely

Having chosen the grinder and the blade, you are now ready to begin the process of cutting. Fix the piece of tile securely in place on the surface where you intend to work by using a clamp. Perform the task in a well-ventilated room to allow the dust generated during cutting move out from the room, which can otherwise cause suffocation. Before starting the process, take up the protective gear of safety goggles, mask, earplugs, and hand gloves and check the electrical connection of batteries while switching on the power to check that the grinder is working.

Complete marking the tile

Measure the tile and mark the portion you want to cut according to the size and shape you want. It can either be a straight cut or any other circular, semi-circular, or rectangular shape. Use masking tape when marking and cutting the tile to prevent chipping away from the edge.

Cut the tile

Now that you are ready to cut the tile hold the grinder at the right place and the proper angle on the tile and apply the correct cutting pressure while pulling it along the cutting line. Depending on the thickness of the tile, keep increasing the pressure to complete the operation.

There are many tools for cutting stone, but stone cutting blades are the best.

Things to Consider before Cutting Tiles with an Angle Grinder

The Blade

A diamond-tipped, smooth-edged blade is the best type of blade to use with an angle grinder, especially when cutting ceramic tiles. This is because it leaves a beautiful smooth cut.

On the other hand, notched blades are best for porcelain tiles, while serrated blades are more suited to natural stone tiles. When you get the right blade for the right tile, ensure it is attached securely to the grinder.

This can be done by using the accompanying tightening tools for the grinder you have. Make sure you tighten the blade because vibration leads to cracked ceramic tiles.

The best type of blade to use with an angle grinder when cutting ceramic tile is a diamond-tipped, smooth-edged blade without any notches or serration. Notched blades are for porcelain, and serrated blades are more suited to natural stones. Once you have the right blade, make sure it is attached securely to the grinder using the accompanying tightening tools for your grinder. Vibration cracks ceramic tiles, so you want the blade on tight.

Masking Tape

The grinder movement can chip off the ceramic glazing when cutting the tiles. This is why it is essential to use masking tape to cover the edge as it offers great protection to the ceramic tile.

Depending on your comfort level, you can either use a single layer of the tape or more. When using it, first draw your marker lines, place the masking tape on top and then trace the lines through the top of the tape.

You can add additional layers if you would like but be sure not to overdo it.

Covering the edge where you are going to cut the tile with the grinder is a good trick to keep the edge of the ceramic glazing from chipping off due to the grinder movement. You can use a single layer of masking tape — or two or three — depending on your comfort level. The best method is to draw your marker lines, place tape on top and then trace the lines through the top of the tape and then add additional layers if you like. Anything beyond three is overkill.

Safety Equipment

It is dangerous not to have the proper equipment when operating power tools. When cutting with a diamond blade, it creates a lot of dust and noise. You should, therefore, be using a good quality two-strap dust mask for the dust and earplugs for the noise.

In addition, you would need work gloves due to the sharp objects and safety glasses for the flying fragments of the tile that chip off during the grinding process. It is also advisable to this process when you are outside where it is well-ventilated.

Never operate power tools without proper safety equipment. While a dust mask is sufficient for the dust, you need to wear earplugs as well as work gloves and safety glasses. Also, wear a long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans, so you don’t accidentally get cut by flying fragments of ceramic that chip off during the grinding process. Hold the grinder firmly with both hands as you cut the pieces of ceramic tile and clamp them to a cutting surface for best results. If the grinder has a side handle, use it. Also, ensure the guard is in the proper position to deflect chips away from you.

When cutting, hold the grinder firmly with both hands as you cut the pieces of the tile and clamp them to a cutting surface for the best results. If the grinder has a side handle, this is a plus.

Cuts

The angle grinder excels at helping make angle cuts against a wet tile saw, which is designed for straight cuts. Cut directly down into the surface of the tile, making gentle passes across the lines of your cut while holding the blade of the grinder vertically against the tile and along the mark. You can also hold the blade against an edge horizontally, flush with the face of the tile, working the edge of the blade of the grinder down into the tile slowly to make precise, rounded edges for drains, working your way around slowly as you grind away little bits rather than cut down into the tile. Straight cuts are made by pushing the blade into the tile vertically and cutting through the tile along with the marks.

As we mentioned above, cutting tiles with an angle grinder is not that safe, nor an easy task to do. Unless you have experience with using this tool, we recommend that you call in someone who does and prevent a potentially serious injury caused by mishandling or a strong kickback.

On the other hand, if you have worked with an angle grinder before, it is all about having the right equipment and staying patient. What is the proper safety equipment? You will need to invest in things such as a dust mask, goggles, gloves, and earplugs if you want to be protected from the noise, as well as hazards such as flying debris which could injure you during the cutting process.

Apart from that, you should always hold the angle grinder with both hands, using the side handle to your advantage, if there is one. Also, the positioning of an angle grinder plays a huge role, as you are at risk of getting hit by ceramic chips which is why you should wear a long-sleeved shirt and jeans.

Other than the safety equipment, you want to ensure that you are using the right type of blade; in this case, it is a diamond-tipped notched smooth blade made out of porcelain, which is good for cutting through rocks as well. Ensure that the blade is properly and tightly fitted to prevent it from detaching from the angle grinder in the middle of the process.

One of the common things that experts do when cutting through ceramic tiles is covering the tile with masking tape. What this will do is prevent and deflect the chips from coming straight at you. But how do you get a precise cut with masking type blocking your view? By marking the cut with a permanent marker beforehand.

For angle cuts, you will want to hold the grinder horizontally and cut along the mark. If what you are looking to achieve are straight cuts, then it is better to hold the tool vertically (with both of your hands) and push directly into the tiles!

Can You Cut Roof Tiles With an Angle Grinder?

This depends on the type of roof tile. But if we’re talking about the slate variety, the best option is to use a slate cutter or cut your way through the slate with a trowel. While you could utilize an angle grinder, the lasting effect won’t be ideal as the cut will appear too clean and when slates are cut the correct way – hacked or nibbled – they showcase a natural-looking bevel along the front edge; an angle grinder will, unfortunately, leave it looking dead straight.

Now if you are only operating with an angle grinder and still wish to cut slate roof tiles, you can use a stone disc to make the necessary cuts. Sure, it might appear a little unnatural to the trained eye, but none the less, angle grinders can effectively cut slate roof tile.

Conclusion

It is more than possible to cut ceramic tiles with an angle grinder, as long as you have experience with this tool and you are not in any rush. It all comes down to the adequate safety equipment, a strong and a powerful blade, and preparation that includes masking tape and marking the cut with a permanent marker. If you don’t have access to a wet saw, an angle grinder is a good alternative for such a task.

You can use an angle grinder to cut tiles. A wet tile saw would be preferable, but an angle grinder requires less special techniques to operate it. Therefore do not be shy and try your hand at using an angle grinder.

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