Wet tile saws are the quickest and most effective tile cutters money can buy. These powerful saws will cut tiles accurately without overheating the blade or damaging the surrounding material.
A wet tile saw is much quicker than a traditional snap tile cutter but it is also more complicated to use. They require more preparation and their cutting power means there are some important safety steps you will need to take.
In this article, we will explain how to use a wet tile saw to achieve the best finish possible. This includes which equipment you will need, how to prepare, how to make cuts, and how to clean your saw.
Set up wet tile saw securely on a flat surface and fill the water reservoir.
Mark cutting lines on tiles and adjust saw fence or miter gauge accordingly.
Wear safety goggles, ear protection, and a face mask for protection during cutting.
Turn on the saw, wait for the blade to reach maximum speed, and cut tile slowly.
How Does a Wet Saw Work?
ffaA wet tile saw resembles a table saw or miter saw. It has a similar design and size but uses different blades to a standard saw. Unlike a miter saw blade, which has teeth, a wet tile saw uses a diamond-encrusted disc that uses friction to slice through ceramics, porcelain, and other tile materials.
Wet tile saws use a stream of water, either drawn from a reservoir in the saw or from a hose attachment that provides a continuous supply. The water cools the cutting disc and the tile, keeping them from overheating and preventing dust from flying up as you cut.
There are two main types of wet saws. The most common saws for DIY use resemble table saws, with the diamond-coated disc protruding through a slot in the table. This allows you to maneuver the material around a fixed blade.
The other type is more popular with contractors and resembles a miter saw. These saws are usually more expensive because they are versatile and can cut angles and bevels in addition to straight lines.
What You Need
Like any DIY task, you will need to prepare before you start cutting tiles. Here is a list of the equipment you will need:
A wet tile saw
GFCI extension cord (if required)
Plastic drop cloth
Marker pen or grease pencil
You will also need some personal safety equipment:
N95 face mask
How to Cut With a Wet Saw
Find an area to work in that is well-lit and free from obstructions. Only use the saw if you have a flat, stable surface to work on, and protect the floor with a plastic sheet if you are cutting indoors.
1. Prepare the Saw
Fill the water reservoir so it covers the recirculating pump. If your saw’s power cord won’t reach an electrical outlet, use a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) extension cord and make sure that there is a drip loop in the cable. This will encourage the water to fall away safely because the drip loop is lower than the power socket.
2. Mark the Cut
Mark your cutting line on the tile using a grease pencil or a fine marker. Adjust the saw fence to the same width as the cut you want to make. If you need to cut at an angle, adjust the miter gauge to the required angle.
Place the tile on the saw’s table, pressing it against the fence or miter gauge. Make sure the tile is flush. Position the tile so it aligns with the saw’s blade and then draw it back so it sits in front of the blade.
3. Put on Safety Equipment
Put on your goggles and ear defenders. Wet saws are loud and messy. You should also put on your facemask; despite the water system reducing the amount of dust and debris, you might still end up inhaling some without a mask.
4. Power Up
Turn on the saw and wait for the blade to reach its maximum speed. This will prevent the tile from cracking and reduces the risk of kickback. Keep an eye on the water; it should hit the blade without splashing too much. If you need to adjust the water flow, do it now by following the manufacturer’s instructions.
5. Cut the Tile
Push the tile toward the blade slowly. Use both hands to hold each side of the tile but keep them away from the blade. Let the tile feed gradually as it passes through the blade, without trying to force it.
As the tile moves past the blade, slow down. This is where most cracks occur. Once the tile has cleared the cutting disc, turn off the saw and wait for the blade to stop moving before removing the tile. Unplug the saw.
6. Keep the Water Clean
If you need to make repeated cuts, check the water reservoir for sediment. If the water is cloudy, replace it or it could impact the quality of your finish.
7. Remove Safety Gear
Take off your goggles and ear defenders and check your work. If everything has gone to plan, you can take a moment to admire your cutting before fitting the tile.
How to Clean a Wet Saw
Drain the water into a bucket and carefully remove the saw’s trays, dropping them into the bucket as well. Wipe down the saw and its blade with a wet sponge, and spray the fence and miter gauge to remove any residue.
Empty the bucket and use the sponge to clean the trays. Allow each part to dry fully before reassembling the saw.