We Know: All About Tile Saws

For what are tile saws used?

Those installing counter or floor tile will often rent or buy a tile saw to cut the tiles to size. Depending on the type of tile saw, it may be cheaper to buy one than to rent it, especially if you take into account time and gas to transport it back and forth to and from the store, and rental fees.

Tile saws are different from most other saws in that a continuous stream of water pours onto the blade as it cuts into the tile. The water is used to cool the blade that would otherwise overheat from the friction of cutting the tile. A pump re-circulates the water. The tile rests on a small platform that is pushed into the blade using a rail system.

What to Look for in a Tile Saw

There are several makes and models of tile saws on the market. Some of the available features and options include:

  • Large ripping capacity. If you are using 24" tiles, a smaller tile saw may not work for you.
  • Plunge feature to make cuts for registers and electrical outlets.
  • 0-45 degree miter adjustment for making bevel cuts.
  • Lightweight construction for one-person carrying.

How to Use a Tile Saw

Always refer to the manufacturer's instructions, especially when using power tools in conjunction with water. These are general guidelines on operating a tile saw:

  1. Be aware of where your hands are at all times. Do not wear dangling clothing or jewelry. If your hair is long, secure it behind your head so that nothing can get tangled or interfere with the saw. Wear safety goggles and thick work gloves. Tile that has been cut or broken can be very sharp.
  2. Set the tile on the platform. You can hold it with your hand, or clamp it into place. Place the tile in such a way that as you move it forward into the blade, it will make the cut that you want.
  3. With the saw running, push the platform toward the blade. If the blade does not make a full cut through the tile, lower the blade with each pass until the cut is complete. If you try to cut too much at once, you can damage the blade or stop it from moving.

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