Can You Cut Tile With a Circular Saw? (All You Need to Know)

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One satisfying part of doing home renovations is installing your own tiles. While it can be fun to do it yourself, cutting the tiles without damaging them can be challenging. Thus, having the right tools and technique is crucial. 

But if you don’t own tile saws, you might wonder if you can cut tiles with a circular saw. So, let our experts answer the question in detail. 

Is it Possible to Use a Circular Saw for Tile Cutting?

Yes, you can use a circular saw to cut tile and various types of materials, such as those used for flooring and countertops. If used properly, circular saws can tackle thicker surfaces made of stone.

Cutting tile with a circular saw is possible as long as you make sure you have the proper equipment and safety modifications.

While it might appear like a no-brainer, most stonework and tile projects require a water component to avoid shallow cuts and cut successfully.

Bosch CS5 120-Volt 7-1.4-Inch Circular Saw

This component can help decrease friction, cool the saw blade, and create a precise and cleaner cut.

Although circular saws were never designed for cutting tile, you can still use them to cut through a few types. Just a couple of easy adjustments can make your circular saw into a wet saw.

Kinds of Tiles You Can Cut Using a Circular Saw

There are several types of tile you can cut with a circular saw, which are:

circular saw blade

How About Ceramic Tiles?

While you can also cut ceramic tile using your circular saw, it requires meticulous and careful attention. So, our experts don’t really recommend trimming ceramic tiles with a circular saw. If you’re going to cut ceramic tiles, we suggest using a wet tile saw for the best results. 

Can You Cut Without Chipping?

Of course, you can cut without chipping, depending on your technique and skill. However, circular saws are power tools that are motor-powered, running at high speed once started. This means you might end up with a chip on your tile during the process. 

Cutting tiles with a chip would surely be a disaster. But if you use the right blade for the right tile with the proper technique, making accurate cuts is easily achievable without chipping. Also, before you start trimming, you’ll need to ensure that the saw blade you use has enough teeth. 

clean cut on granite with circular saw

The more teeth the saw blade has, the better it will be able to cut the tile without getting damaged. This is because it will have less distance between its teeth that it needs to avoid getting chip damaged. But be ready as sometimes, it can cause problems if it gets dull.

Best Circular Saw Blades for Tile Cutting

Type of Blade

If you’re planning on using a circular saw to cut hard materials such as stones (marble and granite) and tiles, you will need to replace your current wood blade with a diamond-coated blade. 

No ifs nor buts; this is what you need to do if you want to use your circular saw for cutting tiles or stones. 

What’s tricky here is there are so many different types of diamond blades that it can be hard to pick the one that’s right for your project. The various kinds of diamond-coated blades include:

diamond blade cutting through tile

These are all designed for different applications. Which one is right for your task depends on the type of material that you’re trimming.

Size of the Diamond Blade

If you have a circular saw, you might have a 71/4-inch blade, the most common type of circular saw blade. However, you may also use the 5 1/2 -inch, 6 1/2-inch, or 10 1/4-inch circular saw blades. 

To make tile cutting successful, you’ll need to use the appropriate blade size for your wet circular saw. 

But take note – the most commonly used blades for tile cutting are not always the same sizes as those used for other types of saws. For instance, there might not be able to a diamond tile-cutting blade for 7 ¼-inch circular saw. 

So, check the availability of blades for your saw before you proceed with your cutting tile project. 

diamond saw blade

Although it’s generally possible to get away with a smaller blade, you should never go bigger than that. A smaller blade will allow you to cut a bit deeper, and it will also change the cutting depth of your saw.

Factors to Consider for Wet or Dry Cutting

Tile Material

When choosing a blade for cutting tile, opt for the one that will work well with the material that you’re planning on using. For instance, if you’re planning on cutting porcelain, choose a diamond blade that will work with that type of tile, like ones for a tile cutter, tile saw, or wet saw. 

Continuous Rim Blade

A continuous rim diamond blade is ideal for minimizing the amount of chip buildup on your tile. However, this can limit your wet-cutting applications.

How to Cut Tile Using a Circular Saw

Wet Cutting Method

The wet saw method’s primary goal is to keep the blade cool while trimming. This method works by using a water pump to cool the blade of the saw to cut tile. Here’s how: 

Step #1: Measure and Draw on the Tile

It’s important to mark and measure the cut line before starting the process. This can be done using your pen or pencil. After the cut, you can just clean it to remove the markings. 

granite with blue tape markings for measurement

Step #2: Have the Water Prepared

If there’s no water pump available, you can use a bucket of cool water to prevent the blade from getting too hot, or you can water with a garden hose. We suggest having someone assist you in this step. 

Step #3: Start Cutting

Now you can start cutting. Make sure to trim as soon as the water flows through the tile. This will allow the saw to lead the way in the cutting process – applying very little pressure to your tile.

Step #4: Polish the Cuts if Necessary

After you have cut the tile, turn off your saw. You can do this by pressing a button on its handle or turning its switch to the OFF position.

Then finish up by polishing the cuts to get rid of all the debris and dust that has accumulated on your job site. 

cleaning granite with water

Safety Reminder: While using a circular saw to cut tile allows quicker cutting and minimizes the risk of damaging the special tile blade, this method can also be prone to electrocution. Another alternative is to use the dry-cut method, which we will explain next. 

Pros of Wet Cutting

Cons of Wet Cutting

Dry Cutting Method

If the wet-cutting method is risky for you, do the dry-cutting process. One important factor to remember when using the dry-cut method is to slow down and steady. 

Before you start trimming tile, make sure that the blade you choose is made for this process. Like with wet saws, certain specifications are required for this type of cutting.

Step #1: Measure and Draw on the Tile

The first step in the process is to ensure that the tile is clearly marked. Doing this is no different from other cutting jobs.

Step #2: Use Safety Equipment

Using safety equipment is a standard protocol in any cutting project. But particularly in the dry-cutting method, we suggest using a respirator mask or safety glasses [1]. These types of equipment help deal with the crystalline silica dust that comes from the process.

green circular saw on wooden surface

Step #3: Start Cutting

The cutting speed can be the biggest difference between the dry cut method and the conventional approach. When you opt for the dry-cutting method, you must go very slowly and cut in short sections. 

This is to prevent the blade from overheating, which can pose various risks to you and the tile.

Step #4: Polish the Cuts if Necessary

Finally, after cutting, make sure to polish the cuts. If you’re unsatisfied with how your tile is cut, try using an angle grinder to smooth it. This tool, which also has a diamond masonry blade, can help smoothen the tile’s edges. 

Pros of Dry Cutting

Cons of Dry Cutting

Best Tool Alternative: Wet Tile Saws

Wet tile saws are a type of circular saw that’s commonly used for cutting tile or other hard materials like stones. You can connect this type of saw to a hose to cool the blade while cutting. 

It’s also ideal for cutting larger pieces of tile or stone that are difficult to haul onto a wettable saw.

Leegol Electric Wet Tile Saw

Also, wet tile saws are very mobile and are commonly used by tile setters and home improvement enthusiasts. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to use for accurate and straight cuts. 

You’ll need a jig or guide rail system for this. In addition, they’re prone to blade kickbacks, which we can say are not recommended if you’re a beginner. 

FAQ

What other tools can I use to cut tiles without using a tile saw?

You can use other power tools to cut tile or various materials without using a tile saw. The saws include the stationary tile saw, tabletop tile saw, sliding table tile saw, and a bridge tile saw. Miter saws are not recommended.  

What blade should I use for ceramic tile?

You will need a tungsten carbide blade to cut a ceramic tile. You can also use a diamond or a standard tile blade for the job. 

Will carbide blades cut through the tile?

Yes, carbide blades can cut tile with a circular saw. It can even cut porcelain tile and ceramic tile. However, it needs to be run at a slow pace to ensure a smooth cutting tile process. 

Which tile type is more difficult to cut, ceramic or porcelain?

Porcelain tiles are more challenging to cut compared with ceramic tiles. You need more power to cut porcelain tiles compared to ceramic ones. 

Conclusion

While you can cut tile with a circular saw, it’s not the best tile cutter tool. Circular saws are just an alternative if you dont own a wet saw, which is the ideal tool for cutting tile. 

What’s good about circular saws is there are two ways to cut tile: the wet and dry cutting methods. However, both routes require patience, teamwork, and some adjustments. Additionally, ensure you use the right blade specifically designed for the type of saw and materials you’ll use. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson

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