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Bathroom tile cutting

Old 21st Aug 2021, 20:07
  #1 (permalink)  
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Bathroom tile cutting

We just purchased enough ceramic tiles to re-do a small en-suite shower room. It was while we were driving home, gently, carefully, with a quarter of a ton of ceramic tiles in the back of the car that I woke up to the fact that bathroom tiles today are all much larger than the 6 inch square or 6 inch by 8 inch tiles that were normal last time I tiled a room. My "score and crack" tile cutter is not going to be much use with tiles that are 600 mm long. A quick google for larger cutters of the same technology suggests that they are more expensive than I expected. Then I noticed that for the same money the usual outlets are selling what amounts to a circular saw bench with a diamond cutting blade made specifically for doing the job, some even offer water cooling/dust control. The customer reviews of these electric powered saws vary from "does what is says on the tin" to "the best place for this tool is in a skip".

Can any of you add to my knowledge? I really can't decide which type to buy. Having never cut a long, narrow, tile along the long axis I don't know if I will generate a lot of scrap using the old technology. Having said that, the circular saw approach doesn't do a perfect job if the customer reviews are to be believed.............

Thanks,

Rans6...................
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 21:00
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Originally Posted by rans6andrew View Post
We just purchased enough ceramic tiles to re-do a small en-suite shower room. It was while we were driving home, gently, carefully, with a quarter of a ton of ceramic tiles in the back of the car that I woke up to the fact that bathroom tiles today are all much larger than the 6 inch square or 6 inch by 8 inch tiles that were normal last time I tiled a room. My "score and crack" tile cutter is not going to be much use with tiles that are 600 mm long. A quick google for larger cutters of the same technology suggests that they are more expensive than I expected. Then I noticed that for the same money the usual outlets are selling what amounts to a circular saw bench with a diamond cutting blade made specifically for doing the job, some even offer water cooling/dust control. The customer reviews of these electric powered saws vary from "does what is says on the tin" to "the best place for this tool is in a skip".

Can any of you add to my knowledge? I really can't decide which type to buy. Having never cut a long, narrow, tile along the long axis I don't know if I will generate a lot of scrap using the old technology. Having said that, the circular saw approach doesn't do a perfect job if the customer reviews are to be believed.............

Thanks,

Rans6...................
I can't comment on the circular saws but I bought a couple of tile cutting jigsaw blades from either Toolstation or Screwfix when I had to cut a couple of tiles to fit round an electrical socket in my kitchen.

Only a couple of quid each and they did the job. I fact, one blade was enough and I returned the other one. Pretty slow and messy though - I wouldn't have wanted to cut too many.

Obviously you don't get nice straight edge.
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 21:02
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The circular table cutters do a good job if you use the right technique. You can't rush it, especially at the entry and departure points. My only question for you would be if you are just doing a small room can you rent/hire one? Otherwise it'll just be another thing to hang your overalls on in the garage. You can get one from 60 quid up in most places, if you use one, don't let the blade get too worn, another "user error".
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 21:05
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I’ve used both over the years. The circular saw type with a diamond blade can work very well but it’s essential to keep the blade wet, or it will be blunted in seconds, especially on the harder type of tiles. I have one which uses a simple water bath under the blade. Be prepared for some mess from wet tile slurry and make sure you use eye protection.

The big advantage of this type is that you can cut inside corners or other pieces out of tiles, unlike the manual “score and crack” wheel type.
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 21:09
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I bought a budget wet, circular (diamond) saw tile cutter when faced with 15" square tiles to re-tile my front door step. It was a small platform type cutter. In my experience it cut well albeit slowly. The secret was not to try and rush the cut. A wet system eliminates the appalling dust otherwise created.

I see from a swift glance at the Screwfix website that small hand held disc cutters are available. You might be better off using such a device with tiles as large as you are cutting due to the difficulty of supporting a large tile on a relatively small cutting platform. If using a hand held powered cutter I think I would spend some time devising a clamping arrangement for a wooden straight edge to use as a guide.
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 22:08
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Have you thought about fitting all of the no need to cut tiles and then hiring a cutter because at the end of the day you probably won't use it that much.
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 22:43
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The tile cutters with a blade dipping in a water bath are relatively low powered and it is difficult to keep straight when cutting 24" tiles. They cut smaller and softer tiles well and I used one for a few years. Later I bought a bigger 'blade over' version with a water pump. Works well apart from the pump line silting up when it dries out after use even if I run clean water through it. I don't know why they don't pick up the water from a bucket of clean rather than the drip pan. ( I am on my third fish tank pump!)

The rollers on the sliding table also get sticky but with a decent blade it will cut just about anything. I have used it to cut 2" thick basalt for a stone veneer on the front of a garage, the ledge rock for the base around a whole house and 3,000 sq ft of stone flooring. Just about to use it for its seventh or eighth bathroom. ie. It is a full on pro tool and will last years. Cost me about $250C twenty years ago, cost about $400 now. Bit much just to do the odd small bathroom!

You can cut tile with an angle grinder and diamond blade but feeding the water and keeping it straight takes a good bit of skill. Not recommended.

Mine comes with an extending roller platform as its normal reach is 12". The extension bring it out to about 20" so I have to do a bit of clever maneuvering to do 24" tiles but it is still the best solution.

If the layout works for it the idea of tiling everything that does not need cutting and then renting seems like a good one.
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 23:25
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Water has to be squirted at the wheel. Sloshy, but does a good job. Must be some sold as used.

My big tile cutter scored the tile and then put pressure on the line. A few found their way into the bits box.

Never, in years of DIY, have I spread the goo on the wall/floor. Always I find applying to the tile is more accurate, getting an eye for how far to tilt the castillation edge to meter the strips height. Odd.

Just looked at some of the jobs I've done. Sheesh, years of work. But, I think I was most contented while doing jobs like this. Very fulfilling.




I cast that shower basin with cement. Mosaic base comes on mesh so spacing is mostly done for you.




I'd never done a floor before. Just one needed chipping out but it was going to be under the bed. Always, always stock a lot of spares.




Retiled the ensuite less than ten years before selling up. Wished I'd done it before. Lovely suit I nearly smashed out because of the colour, but I heard the lady say to her husband, 'I love this suite.' Bidet 40 gal iron bath and separate shower. I know what it cost to build the house in 1960, well, roughly 6k purchase price. The suite must have cost a significant part of the build price.

I managed to squeeze in a bathroom by cutting the vertical wall. Petrol disc. Bag over my head with air from the garage. Did I say something about contentment? Must have been quite mad.







Because I don't like normal edging, I'd intended on hand finishing with acrylic. It never got done.


Last edited by Loose rivets; 21st Aug 2021 at 23:42.
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Old 21st Aug 2021, 23:44
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When I redid my bathroom ~5 years ago, I bought one of these:

SKIL 3540-02 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003HIWR08/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
(It was cheaper then - $70 IIRC)
It worked fantastic! I did all the tile cutting in the yard (it can be rather messy) but it cut everything I needed, the cuts were nice and straight, and it was simple to use.
A wet saw for tile is the only way to go IMHO.
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 06:39
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Iíve done several tiling jobs with a cheap Wickes wet circular saw type tile cutter. Has worked fine although as others have said, itís messy. The blade has lasted well. I havenít done tiles as big as 600mm but I did do one kitchen splash ack with the tiles at a 45 degree angle. I made up a simple jig to hold the tile at the correct angle which worked well. I donít see why you couldnít make a jig to hold larger tiles and keep them square. Iíve found I can mark tiles with the required cut with a marker pen and then cut freehand with the bench cutter. Works well for cutting round power sockets, light switches etc - not that you will have any of them in a bathroom!
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 07:21
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Faced with exactly this ďlarge tileĒ situation I came up with a novel resolutionÖ

I hired a professional tiler, with all the kit, who did a perfect job in a few days. Cost was a few hundred quid and the result was stunning - he even laid out the scheme to avoid unnecessary cuts and have a symmetrical look on each wall.
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 08:45
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Hang on to that guy ! Real pros are like gold dust.


Trouble is, many so-called pros are anything but. I asked a "pro" to tile my bathroom. He slapped the (4" x 4") tiles on like crooked teeth. I said what the hell are you doing - he said, don't worry they will look fine when they're grouted. Either he was half blind or he didn't care. I sent him on his way, took them off and did the job properly myself - with a long straight edge across the face of the tiles as well as the X and Y. Took me a long time but they looked lovely when I had finished.
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 08:49
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I use a standard 4 1/2" angle grinder with diamond blade, hand held. After scoring half way through they usually snap fairly easily. All the cuts are going to be against walls or fixtures where a fillet of sealant is required which covers up the rough edge. With practice I can cut out a square corner or even a curve - take out small rectangles and then run the cutter round to smooth the corners off.

Of course there's a lot of dust so you do it outside but it works for me.
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 09:23
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Originally Posted by UniFoxOs View Post
I use a standard 4 1/2" angle grinder with diamond blade, hand held. After scoring half way through they usually snap fairly easily. All the cuts are going to be against walls or fixtures where a fillet of sealant is required which covers up the rough edge. With practice I can cut out a square corner or even a curve - take out small rectangles and then run the cutter round to smooth the corners off.

Of course there's a lot of dust so you do it outside but it works for me.
Me too. In fact I was recently cutting tiles with a massive 9" grinder with
this this
diamond blade which is normally used for cutting granite or cement. It's amazing how delicate you can be, although I am now very seriously considering a 4" rechargeable grinder. And unlike a tile cutter, an angle grinder is useful for 100s of things.
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 09:27
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Few weeks back I had to cut 600x600x20 mm porcelain floor tiles for outside use. Wisdom said to use a bridge saw (hired), but the hassle of finding one, and the cost if unsuccessful bothered me. I only had about a dozen cuts to do. I eventually bought this, having done a small test using an ancient one I already had in the shed:

https://www.screwfix.com/p/performan...230-240v/469gt

I was willing to add it to the cost of the job and bin it afterwards if needs be. Coped easily with what are really hard tiles, on a single blade.

As has been said, all of these water bath jobs get you soaking wet, so tog up well- and check the water level every cut- they whoosh through water.

CG
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 09:52
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I cut them manually. :-
score the cutting line with a cutting tool.
place the tile on a flat concrete or tiled surface.
put a steel rule under the scribed line. ie just to one side.
wearing solid leather soled & heeled shoes stand with one
foot either side of the line. Then stamp solidly on the side of the
tile which is away from the ruler.
Have done this many times, very few failures.
sounds silly, but it does work.

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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 10:00
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Originally Posted by M.Mouse View Post
I bought a budget wet, circular (diamond) saw tile cutter when faced with 15" square tiles to re-tile my front door step. It was a small platform type cutter. In my experience it cut well albeit slowly. The secret was not to try and rush the cut. A wet system eliminates the appalling dust otherwise created.
.
Have done a fair few tiled floors over the years and would second all the aboveÖ
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 11:28
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I have bought and used a Topps Tiles tile cutter which worked very well. To continue it's career I have sourced a replacement fine toothed saw blade that replaces the diamond blade. I am about to start a large flooring project so this will act as a saw bench for cutting laminate flooring. Should it work it will mean that the sawdust will be contained within the empty water tank though it will have to be emptied every time.
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 12:17
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Originally Posted by esa-aardvark View Post
I cut them manually. :-
score the cutting line with a cutting tool.
place the tile on a flat concrete or tiled surface.
put a steel rule under the scribed line. ie just to one side.
wearing solid leather soled & heeled shoes stand with one
foot either side of the line. Then stamp solidly on the side of the
tile which is away from the ruler.
Have done this many times, very few failures.
sounds silly, but it does work.
I was gonna suggest this too. Saw a bathroom tiler put a steel rule on top of a wall tile then scribe it twice from edge to edge with a diamond tipped blade. Then with one side supported underneath by another steel rule or sheet of metal put his weight (hands and knees) on the tile and it would split cleanly. Safety glasses a must. Of course some floor tiles are too thick to be cut this way.

These days you can now buy vinyl panels in full lengths with patterned imitation look tiles, and you can use a heat gun to shape it into and around corners. Completely waterproof, faster to install and no grouting required - but may not be the look you're after.

BTW Loose, that is some awesome tiling work in those pictures.
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Old 22nd Aug 2021, 15:10
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Saws seem to have been covered well; a borrowed Aldi cheapy works well for me.

For edge nibbling I use a masonary disk in an angle grinder, but the real revolution is cheap Chinese diamond hole saws from ebay. Now it is dead easy to put a tap or power point smack in the middle of a tile instead of having to line the tiles up to get the holes on edges. Once again, wet cutting is essential, ideally on a drill press in a shallow trough of water.
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