Options and techniques for working with porcelain stoneware tiles
Progress has been made over the years. Progress in technology of manufacturing finishing tiles brought improvements, and now tile has got a competitor. porcelain tile. This tile cutter has its own advantages. It has a lower thermal conductivity, perfectly endures the effects of precipitation, temperature fluctuations, more resistant to chemicals. Since now we are talking about mechanical processing, it is worth paying special attention to the fact that porcelain stoneware has higher strength characteristics. It is much harder to break, make a scratch or scuff on the face. Therefore, porcelain tile has an advantage over tile, when constantly exposed to friction from the feet of visitors or car tires. However, the increase in strength raises the question of how and what is better to cut porcelain stoneware at home.
The best tile cutter, by definition, is the most powerful and high-speed, along with a budget (the cheapest). Handheld tile cutters do not give effective performance in mass construction and repair work, as well as in a single, but significant amount of work.
- Germans Boada is the company that makes the RUBI tile cutters. The TM-70 cuts ceramic and porcelain tile up to 21 mm. Chrome plated stainless steel guides and a side cut limiter allow you to pass over the cut line twice in case of an undercut in one go, as well as to make second cuts at 45 and 90 degree angles. Suitable for large tiles. The tile cutter is optimal in terms of cost and product quality.
- The Matrix 600 mm is a 600 mm tile cutter, which mainly cuts 600 and 500 mm tiles in width and length. One I-beam rail, bearing mechanism for the cut. The tile cutter carriage is surrounded by a guide on both sides. Clamping mechanism. Grip coating on ball and guide rail to prevent slipping when cutting tile workpieces. Light-weight stroke of handle. Aluminium frame makes it easy to carry.
- Sigma 3C3M. 1150 kg cutting force. Tile width up to 72 cm. Designed for difficult tile designs and textures. The ball-bearing handle allows for a smooth tile cut, even in hard-to-reach areas. Cushioning enhances smooth operation. Integrated alignment ruler, allows for cutting tiles at significant angles.
- MONTOLIT 26PB is a professional model. Rigid base designed for extremely even cuts. Tile thickness up to 25 mm. Depth of cut adjustment allows for evenly cutting tiles up to 25 mm thick.
- Stayer 3310-60. model equipped with a circular cutter, designed for 1.5 cm tiles, produces circular and straight cuts, perfectly shaped holes with a diameter of 3-8 cm. Outrigger ruler and right angle, 45-degree angle piece.
- BASIC PLUS 60 supplied with carrying case. Aluminum frame, guides with handle, oval cross cut guide. Chromium plating on the guideways reduces friction. The slide is made of a polymer base that does not need any lubrication. Extra long handle allows for less pressure on the tool when cutting tiles.
Some of the above tile cutters will be at the top of the best for years to come.
Ceramic tile cutting technology
Let’s consider porcelain tile cutting technologies by the most popular tools.
Hand held tile cutter
For all its simplicity, the handheld tile cutter offers a relatively high level of quality. The tool consists of a support platform, two guides that make the cut perfectly flat, a lever with a cutting roller and clamps for breaking tiles.
Some handheld tile cutter models are equipped with a “ballerina” that allows you to make round holes in the tile of different diameters.
The handheld tile cutter is suitable for tile thicknesses of 8 mm, 1 cm, etc. д. (up to 12 millimeters). Keep in mind that the thicker the tile, the larger in diameter should be the cutting roller. Ideally, the two values should be identical.
Preparing the tile cutter for work
Before you start, make sure that the cutting roller is not blunted and that its size corresponds to the thickness of the chosen tile. If necessary, the roller must be replaced.
After fixing, the roller should rotate freely. If this does not happen, try dripping a little oil into the fixing points.
The ease of movement of the tile cutter on the guide rods is checked. If the cutting element passes tightly or, on the contrary, dangles, it is worth checking the bearings and cleaning the guides.
Cutting porcelain tiles
- After measuring, make appropriate marks on the tiles with a pencil or marker;
- The tile is placed on the platform of the tile cutter and the line of the cut is aligned with the cutting roller;
- To ensure that the tile does not move during cutting, it must be fixed by hand;
- the roller is placed on the edge of the tile and, while gently pushing the lever, runs it over the entire mowing line of the cut;
The smoother you move the roller, the better the finished cut will be.
IMPORTANT! To avoid the appearance of chips in the cut, try to cut the tile “in one step”.
- After the cut on the tile is made, it is attached to the platform fixing claws so that the line of the cut was between them;
- on the part of the tile that protrudes over the platform begin to press by hand until the tile breaks.
When cutting with a handheld tile cutter, tile edges are quite even, but small chips and irregularities cannot be ruled out. In this case, the deformed edge must be sanded down.
We offer you a master class on cutting porcelain tiles with a manual tile cutter.
With a grinder you can cut a variety of materials, porcelain tile is no exception.
Getting ready to work
To cut porcelain tile, an angle grinder must have a special “diamond disc” installed on it. When installing the disc, make sure it is securely in place and be sure to wear safety glasses and gloves.
IMPORTANT! Since the angle grinder is a very dangerous tool, the use of all protective elements and compliance with safety rules is mandatory.
Working with the angle grinder
The very technology of cutting porcelain tiles is little different from cutting other materials.
In contrast to the manual tile cutter angle grinder can do not only straight but also shaped cuts.
- the tile is cut along the marked line with an angle grinder. To reduce the number of chips, try to cut the tiles “in one approach”;
- Since cutting porcelain tiles with an angle grinder can leave small chips and cracks on the edges and face of the tile, the end of the tile after cutting should be grinded with sandpaper or a sanding disc.
Electric tile cutter
While the previous two methods are considered “dry” cutting, the following technique refers to “wet” cutting. In other words, during the process, water is directed onto the tile cutter to protect the cutting element from overheating. This ensures an almost perfectly even and smooth cut.
Electric tile cutters come in two varieties: with a movable and a fixed disk. In the first case, the cutting unit is slid along the tile on special guides, while in the second case, the tile is pushed onto the disc with a platform or simply by hand.
IMPORTANT! When working with stationary tile cutters, it is necessary to be particularly careful to follow the safety rules.
Apart from a platform and a cutting unit, most electric tile cutters are equipped with a water tank, in which a part of the cutting disc is immersed. This allows you to protect the disc from overheating, and also significantly reduces the amount of dust during work.
Preparing to work
Before you begin work, you should check the reliability of the disk mount and the presence of water in a special container.
If the tile cutter has already been used, then the cutting disc must be cleaned, and the water must be changed, because ceramic granite chips that have gotten into it interfere with the cooling process.
The very technology of cutting with an electric tile cutter is very simple: the pre-marked cutting line is combined with the cutting disc and a special lever moves it along the tile or feeds it to the disc.
In the case of a manual tile feed, it is not advisable to press on both halves of the tile, as there is a great chance of skewing the tile on one side, which can adversely affect the quality of the cut.
Since the cut edges on electric tile cutters turn out almost perfectly flat, additional processing is not required.
Features of the material
Raw materials consisting of clay, kaolin, quartz sand, feldspar and mineral additives are pressed under high pressure and then sintered at high temperatures. The resulting material has practically no pores and has a hardness equal to the hardness of corundum (7. 8 on the Mohs scale). Inferior in hardness only a few materials such as diamond, sapphire, ruby, and others. At the same time thin tiles (3 mm and thinner) are quite fragile.
Please note! Material of this hardness cannot be cut with hand glass cutters, stone blades and jigsaws. They can be used only as an auxiliary tool.
Let’s consider two ways to cut tiles at home. The methods have limitations, which will be described below, as well as ways around these limitations. It is possible to achieve acceptable results with them, but it is better to cut porcelain tiles on professional equipment. Only it will give a guaranteed result in a reasonable amount of time with a relatively large amount of work.
The technology of cutting porcelain tile depends only on the tool you will use.
Cutting tiles for the floor with an angle grinder involves several sequential operations:
- Before starting work, the material must be mounted firmly on a flat surface. This can be a special bed or a wooden board. It is important that the product does not slip, as this is dangerous and will not allow the operator to saw smoothly.
- Cut porcelain tile should not be hurried, consistently moving the angle grinder along the marked mowing line. If a lot of dust forms, you can sprinkle the place of the cut with water. It will also lower the temperature of the saw a little, and increase its life.
Cutting material with an electric tile cutter is done much the same way as cutting with an angle grinder. Here, too, the tile is fixed on the bed, but the carving is only formed to a shallow depth along the entire mowing line of the cut. After that the product is taken out and simply broken down.
Working with an electric jigsaw, you should adhere to such specific recommendations:
- First of all, you should draw the contours along which the cutting will be performed. It is desirable to moisten the porcelain stoneware slightly with a small amount of water. After that you should slowly start destroying the tiles, constantly watching the condition of the wire.
- During work, it is desirable to blow off the dust, which not only covers the marks, but also clogs the thread. This will give you better control over the movement of the tool.
- If the thread reaches the end or edge, it is important to control the load on it. It is better to reduce the speed a little, to keep the tool intact, as well as to get an even cut.
If you decide to use a circular saw for machining, then there are also a few nuances here:
- The tile must be placed only on the bed. Cutting on the weight is not allowed, as this will lead to injury to the hands or other organs.
- Move the product along the previously marked mowing line in the direction of disc movement. It is important that the disc goes into the material, not out of it. Otherwise, you will have difficulty holding the sheet and the quality of the cut will be significantly reduced. When doing this, both sides must be held firmly by the hands to prevent the material from slipping out.
Try to follow all safety rules for work with circular saws.
Particular attention should be paid to trimming. For such purposes, use special automated machines that can process the edge at an angle of 45 degrees.
To cut the material is simply inserted on the bed and fixed by special clamps. Then the rollers feed it to the knives, where they chamfer it. It is difficult or almost impossible to produce this kind of beveling at home. But you can try to do it with an angle grinder, which can remove the ends.
What can be used?
Mechanical handheld tile cutter
This is the most popular tool, which is great for cutting porcelain tile. In general, such a tile cutter is designed for different materials in terms of composition, but the models designed for cutting porcelain tiles are characterized by high power and strength.
Mechanical tile cutter includes:
The last item is designed to break the tiles. The most popular model of such a tile cutter is the bearing machine with two guides.
Mechanical tile cutter can only be used to cut tiles in straight lines. With its help it is impossible to make a shaped cut. The L-shape is an exceptional option, but it is not as convenient to do by hand.
In order to carry out such cutting of porcelain tiles, you need to carry out the following actions:
- First of all, the boundaries are marked, along which you will carry out the cutting.
- Then you need to install a slab of porcelain tile on the tile cutter so that the marks were placed under certain elements: one. under the central part of the bed, the other. directly under the cutting roller.
- Then you need to run a roller from one marking to the other. And you have to apply even pressure. You need to move fairly quickly. And it can be carried out only once, because the second cycle can lead to defects and break the tiles.
- After that, you need to press on the place where the cut was made with the claws.
It is important that the roller is as sharp as possible. This is the only way to make a perfectly even cut without chipping. Before you cut porcelain tiles by hand, check how well the slides are lubricated. Otherwise, it will be much more difficult to use this device.
Manual tile cutter has a big disadvantage. with time in the guide rails appears backlash. This can lead to unevenness and splintering during cutting. Some resort to tightening the bolts needed to secure this system. But too much tension can create an unevenness in the edge of the cut. This porcelain tile can be used only if its cut will be covered with a wall tile or hidden with the use of skirting boards.
There are more expensive and better quality tile cutters. These include monorail models. They are quite large and therefore completely unsuitable for cutting porcelain tiles at home.
The hand-held tool has only a few small advantages:
- With its help, you can quickly cut boards at home, while spending a minimum of effort.
- You can save money, because you do not have to go to a specialist for cutting.
But usually the edges trimmed in this way do not turn out very straight, so they have to be hidden. Some models of manual tile cutters have special templates. By laying them on porcelain tiles, you can cut the tiles evenly and avoid wasting time on marking.
Electric plate cutter
Represents an electric machine, which generally has the same type of work as a mechanical tile cutter. But it can be used to make a better cut. In addition, it can be used for absolutely any type of porcelain tile, including the thickest and densest elements. It will not affect the quality of work in any way.
The electric tile cutter can accurately cut even the thinnest porcelain tile. It does not chip corners and leaves a perfectly flat cut. A mechanical tile cutter, on the contrary, is more likely to spoil such a tile than cut it evenly.
Electric tile cutter assumes a longer cutting procedure, but the quality of the tiles will be on top. These devices have a high price. But it is conditioned by the quality of cutting and external presentation of the result of work.
The electric plate cutter includes in its set:
- The mill (often its role is a table);
- A diamond wheel, which acts as the cutting element;
- electric motors;
- water system.
The peculiarity of cutting with a diamond wheel is that it spreads a large amount of dust from the porcelain stoneware, so the machine is equipped with an additional water system. It cools the cutting elements and prevents dust from escaping. This model has an automatic water system.
But water systems can vary. In some models, the system is a container with water, in which the diamond wheel is partially immersed throughout the cutting process. Another option involves periodically wetting the wheel with water by hand.
The fluid in this system needs to be changed in any case during the cutting process, so that dirt does not accumulate and the diamond wheel does not deteriorate. In addition, the diamond wheel must be well cleaned and thoroughly rinsed after finishing work, so that the cutting particles do not get clogged.
The electric plate cutter can also differ in the type of cutting. It directly affects the way of work and has certain features:
- Some tile cutters are designed for moving only the diamond wheel. The table remains completely stationary.
- Other models, on the contrary, involve a complete fixation of the cutting elements, and the tile in such a machine is moved by means of a movable mill. But the quality and speed of the cut doesn’t change and is still excellent.
Electric grinder differs from mechanical and manual models by the fact that it provides for shape cutting of porcelain tiles. But it is impossible to make rounded shapes and curved lines with this machine. The mechanism is only capable of making angular cuts.
In addition, such a device can cut tiles at an angle of 45 degrees. This is a more convenient way, which allows you to control the cutting process.
Some people prefer to cut porcelain tiles with an angle grinder. It is a great solution if you do not have the opportunity to buy a special cutting tool for tiles.
With its help it is possible to cut porcelain tiles of any shape and size. Plus, you can do an extra 45-degree grind. But for the angle grinder in this case, you should buy a diamond disc with a smooth surface and without holes. This type of disc is suitable for cutting porcelain tiles. The big advantage of this type of cutting is the availability of this tool. Almost every home has an angle grinder.
In addition, with the help of this device can perform shaped cutting. Since the manual tool has high mobility, you can make almost any pattern. You only need to have the necessary level of skill. In addition, everyone who makes repairs in the house with their own hands, have the skills to use an angle grinder. Therefore, the procedure of cutting porcelain tile with an angle grinder will not cause difficulties and will take very little time.
But this method has a number of disadvantages. Cutting with an angle grinder involves a lot of noise and dust. Cleaning up after such cutting will be unavoidable. In addition, the angle grinder is a tool that poses a danger. If you are careless or inattentive, it can lead to injury.
The disadvantage some masters also call the possibility of poor quality cutting. Since this machine is not specifically designed for such a process, and the cut may not be qualitative, the cut will not be professional. If the angle grinder is already old, then the possibility of chipping and the probability of small cracks on the texture of porcelain stoneware increases. That is, the risk of ruining the coating will be the most likely.
But still with this kind of cutting there is an additional grinding, so the sides are partially aligned. Trimming with an angle grinder is carried out only in cases where the porcelain tile in the cut areas is hidden by other coatings or plinth.
5 Ways To Cut Tile. Everything You Need To Know For Your First Tile Project
In order to carry out such a cut, you need to follow the instructions:
- First you need to mark the line of the cut.
- When cutting, you will need to move not strictly along the mowing line, and step back 2-3 mm to the larger side. This is because the diamond wheel removes excess material from the tile.
- When cutting, the diamond wheel should be set in the direction of travel of the entire mechanism. There is usually an arrow on the cutting elements that indicates the direction to set.
- The movements during cutting should be only in one direction. By moving in different directions, you increase the chance of chipping and cracking. Slender porcelain tiles, on the other hand, must be cut differently. gently sliding back and forth. This way you will not damage or break the tiles. The main thing is not to move too sharply.
- Before each cutting cycle on porcelain stoneware, the diamond wheel must be additionally machined to ensure a quality result. You need to go over the brick several times with the cutter. This is the way to remove excess dirt and accumulated dust from the surface of the diamond wheel.
It is distinguished by the fact that it allows you to create complex designs and patterns. This way the floor covering will be more interesting and refined. Hydro-cutting allows you to process tiles in a variety of patterns. If your flooring project includes curved mowing lines or patterns, even a manual angle grinder will not work for you. You can ruin all the plates with one wrong move of the hand. Thus, for shape cutting you need to use only a waterjet.
This tool is used only in workshops specially equipped for this process. This method of cutting porcelain stoneware involves cutting with a jet of water, which is mixed with fine abrasive particles. And the jet is thin, less than 0.5 millimeters. The jet is fed into the nozzle of the machine under tremendous pressure.
Modern systems have a computerized type of control, which allows you to cut any, even complex pattern. And you can cut porcelain stoneware up to 20 cm thick.
Water-abrasive cutting is done only by craftsmen who know their job. The tool costs quite a bit, but the result is always impressive, because you can even make a relief cut or create a panel.
Also often used at home. With it, you can easily cut porcelain stoneware in a straight line. But in this case a serrated disk must not be used. It must be replaced by a diamond type model. Cutting porcelain stoneware this way is similar to cutting wood. You need to hold the slab and move it in the direction of the cutting disc.
You should only cut with a circular saw if you already have a marking. The porcelain tile must be pressed to the working surface of the tool with both hands.
Observing safety and caution, it is possible to cut porcelain stoneware evenly, but its edges will not be perfectly straight.
Jigsaw with diamond wire
It is possible to cut porcelain stoneware at home with this tool. This way you can do not only the usual cutting, but also to cut interesting shapes and make a curved mowing line. But for this you need to have some work skills and know how to operate this tool properly.
It is also necessary to draw the outline of the cut, on which you will later move. Moving the jigsaw, you should carefully follow the direction of the wire. In the process of moving the wire, be sure to blow dust off the surface of the tile. This way the cut line will always be open. The thread will cut through the porcelain tile better, nothing will interfere with it.
For a better cut the tile should be pre-moistened. Pay special attention to the edges of the tile, because that’s where chips most often appear.
Cutting ceramic products
To cut tile with an angle grinder, you must master three cutting directions.
To master it is not difficult, at the same time the cutting line is clean and without chips. When the work is done, the tile is firmly fixed on a flat surface, marked with a pencil or marker. The part to be cut should hang down freely from the table. Cutting tool is at a right angle to the workpiece. Carefully, without jerking, slowly guide the angle grinder along the marked line. The tool should be moved toward you so that the marked line is visible.
At an angle of 450
It is often necessary to make a joint, and this involves cutting the material at an angle of forty-five degrees. This angle can only be obtained with a lot of practice. But you can use this technique: first cut the workpiece in a straight line, and then carefully with a disc, emery or sharpening stone process the edge at the desired angle.
Make a curved cut
It is often necessary to cut a circular hole in a tile. Carry out the work properly with an angle grinder is possible if you have certain skills. To do this, mark a hole on the workpiece and trace the line with a felt-tip pen, mark the center of the circle. Begin to cut at a slight angle, slowly along the inside of the mowing line, gradually passing around the entire circumference. Then cut through the sectors, take them out one by one, undercutting the ceramic if necessary. Finish the edges with a file, obtaining an even circle. Such processing is called dry-cutting.
These holes are usually cut for drains or vents.
When performing shaped workpiece processing, it is easier to make rectangular cutouts. To get even, splinter-free cuts, it is necessary to change the cutting wheel regularly. If segmented discs are used, chipping is sure to appear on the cut line.
With what and how to cut tiles at home
The question than to cut a tile arises not only among professional tilers, but also among ordinary people who are going to perform finishing work at home with their own hands. Today there are several types of tools for cutting tiles, which differ in the way of performing the operation, the quality of the cut they give, the price.
In order to choose a device consciously, not to make a mistake neither in price, nor in usability, nor in the quality of the resulting tile joint, it is necessary to get acquainted with the features and capabilities of each type of cutting tool.
Ceramic tiles are not suitable for a hand cutter, except for the thinnest varieties. When cutting thick modules, this tool is used only as an auxiliary tool.
This tool is quite suitable for trimming porcelain stoneware. Note that it requires some skill, so it is advisable to practice beforehand.