When tile cutting, it’s important to have the right tools. I mean, we all want speed and precision, right? If you’re asking yourself, “Can I really cut tile with a miter saw?” Stick around. I did my homework and learned the steps and safety measures to make it work. So, let me share that knowledge with you.
What is a Miter Saw Regularly Used For?
A miter saw is commonly used to cut wood, beveling, or cutting boards in straight or angled cuts.
It is also used in cross-cutting boards in a 45-degree position and in creating compound miters. Additionally, miter saws can be used to cut small pieces to length and make square cuts.
It comes with a stand, making it easier for you to make an angle cut. You can use a miter saw to cut into corners. It also has a storage stand, making it easier for you to store when not in use.
On the other hand, a wet tile saw is needed to cut tiles properly. Nevertheless, you can still use a miter saw with a diamond blade or carbide blade attachment if you don’t have the wet tile saw. You can only use miter saws for cutting tile in small tile jobs.
How Can You Cut Tile With a Miter Saw?
You can use a miter saw to cut tile with the correct blade attachment. Being careful is the key to this DIY project.
So here are the proper ways to make different cuts, such as angle cuts, straight cuts, and square cuts. The only thing that you cannot do with most miter saws is circular cuts.
(How about taking tiles out? Here are the top tools for removing tiles!)
How to Make Straight Cuts
1. Using a pencil and a tape measure, mark the front of the tile on the part you need to make a straight cut.
2. Put the tile firmly and directly onto the tray of the miter saw and keep it in place.
3. Gently squeeze the trigger of the miter saw. Carefully run the blade through the tile.
How to Make Angle Cuts
1. To make angle cuts on the tile, loosen the adjustment bolts or adjustment lever of the miter feature to slant the blade. Hold the tile squarely under the blade.
2. Use the markings on the tile to adjust the appropriate angle blade percentage correctly.
3. Slant the blade left or right on the face of the tile for curved cuts. You can also slant the blade downward or upward to the left for edge miters.
How to Make Square Cuts
1. To make square cut-outs, use the drop feature of the blade. Mark the back of the tile and put it on the miter saw tray face down.
2. Make sure that you put the tile securely in its place. Pull the blade down on top of the cut line. To ensure that all sides of the square are cut, you may rotate the tile.
3. Using your knuckles, tap the cut-out area lightly until it falls off.
Use the Right Miter Saw Blades
Since a miter saw is not naturally used for cutting a tile, unlike tile saws, using the correct blade will help you finish the job. Diamond circular saw blade and carbide blade attachment are two good blades for dry-cutting and an alternative for the tile nipper.
Diamond or Carbide Blade
A miter saw with diamond or carbide blades can be used to cut tiles. Only do dry-cut with a blade the manufacturer designs for dry cutting. Diamond blades and carbide blades are best for dry cutting. They are different from cutting using wet saws.
Continuous rim blades for wet tile saws are created so that the water flows continuously and cools the blade while you are using it. If the amount of water is insufficient, the diamond blade can get damaged and overheat.
What’s worse is that the blade can fly out and cause damage to objects or people around.
Turbo Rim or Segmented Rim Blades
Purchase a diamond or carbide blade that has a turbo rim or a segmented rim blade. The turbo rim and the segmented rim blades both have gaps to ensure that the heat will be thrown out into the air.
Make sure that the blade is suited in the right direction when installing it. A wrongly attached blade will wear thin early and even cause accidents. Dry cutting a tile will give off lots of dust. Therefore, make sure that you have a vacuum with you.
Easily clean up the dust by connecting a wet/dry vacuum to the miter saw’s vacuum port. If you don’t have a wet/dry vac, a standard vacuum will also do the job. The saw’s dust port is designed to help you collect excessive dust efficiently.
Use Water as a Lubricant
Water is one of the most effective lubricants for blades. It is also used to release heat as you use the miter saw to cut tile. You can use water to lubricate a segmented rim blade, or a wet tile saw, especially if you are doing wet-cutting. You can use a garden hose to wet the blades.
Working with any kind of tool or saw can pose accidents or damage. To minimize the chances of accidents while doing your project, here are some of the safety tips that you should follow:
Use all Necessary Safety Equipment
Wear working gloves, earplugs, dust masks, safety glasses, and additional face protection to protect your head and body from debris and tile dust. It is also important to keep your fingers clear from the blade.
Check the Working Condition of Your Miter Saw
Check the working condition of the miter saw  even before using it to cut tile. Make sure that it has the proper blade extension.
Potential Issues When You Use a Miter Saw to Cut Tile
Here are some potential issues you may encounter when you are using a miter saw to cut tile:
Blade breakage is one of the most common issues when cutting tile. Excessive heat and overheating of the blade happen even if you are using the right kind of blade. In the process, it can even damage or break the blade.
Dry-cutting uses air instead of water to cool the blade. Therefore, it is important to have surrounding air or proper ventilation in your work area. Do not continue to cut ceramic tile without cooling down the blade.
Allow the blade to cool after cutting by releasing the pressure and running it at full speed freely. Doing shallow cuts is advisable to prevent overheating of the blade.
If you need to make a deep cut, do several shallow cuts with proper intervals. Do not allow the blade to cut at its own speed to prevent damage and overheating.
Cutting a few tiles will not always cause the blade to break. However, blade shattering can happen if you are cutting tiles all day.
Too Much Dust
Cutting tile creates a lot of dust. That’s why it is important to wear additional face protection. It prevents you from inhaling excessive dust. Dust can also create problems for your miter saw. Too much fine dust can clog up the windings of the motor.
Even if it is not an immediate problem, letting the dust sit on the motor of your miter saw can burn out the motor eventually. A chop saw can be a suitable alternative for cutting tile as it is safe from dust.
Natural tile saws allow you to feed the blade in a horizontal manner which makes the cut more accurate. Unfortunately, the miter saw can come down on the tile in a pinching motion.
It makes the cut less accurate. But if you have a sliding compound miter saw, you can lessen the pinching.
Other Saw Alternatives
Here are some other saw alternatives that you can use to cut tile:
Can a Jigsaw be Used to Cut Tile?
You can use a jigsaw or saber saw to in cutting tile. Just make sure that it has an abrasive carbide or diamond blade. It cuts the tile safe and clean. Jigsaw is also lightweight and easy to use.
Can You Use a Multi-Tool to Cut Tile?
You can use a multi-tool or oscillating tool for cutting holes into the tile. It can also be used for curved cuts, shaping, filing edges, and trimming. However, it still cannot replace good performing wet tile saws, but it is an efficient and affordable alternative.
What is the Best Saw for Cutting Tile?
The best saw that you can use in cutting tile is a wet saw. The constant water flow keeps the blade cool, which minimizes damage and overheating. It also reduces dust particles from getting into the motor or harming you.
What is the Best Method of Cutting Tiles Without Using a Saw?
An angle grinder can help you in manually cutting tiles without a saw. You need to start by measuring and marking the tile. Place the tile flatly on a workbench.
Gently pull the trigger of the grinder along the cut line and cut slightly and slowly. Repeat the process until cut out areas are smooth.
Can you cut ceramic tiles with a miter saw?
You can cut ceramic tiles with a miter saw using the right blade attachment. However, there is a risk of damaging your miter saw, ruining the tile, or even hurting yourself. But with the proper method and following safety tips, it is a good alternative.
How can you cut marble with a miter saw?
You can cut marble with a miter saw using a diamond blade. Wear safety equipment before starting the process. Mark the area you want to cut and slowly move the miter saw along the line. Do several shallow cuts to prevent breakage.
As you can see, you can use a miter saw in cutting tiles. Sure, it took a bit more effort and safety precautions, but trust me, it did the job perfectly. With a miter saw, you are able to make angle, square, and straight cuts on tiles.