Can You Use a Circular Saw to Cut Tile?

Imagine you are working on the job site and all of a sudden you need to cut tile. Can you use a circular saw to cut tile?

A circular saw can cut tile without any problem, provided that the saw is equipped with the right blade and proper cutting instructions are followed during the process.

Yes, it is true and you can use your circular saw for tile cutting. However, there are a few things that you need to know before you pick your circular saw for this kind of job.

Can You Use a Circular Saw to Cut Tile

First of all, you need to ask yourself two main simple questions:

  • Have you mounted the right blade for the job?
  • are you following proper safety guidelines?

In this article, I will tell you about the correct circular saw blade for tile cutting. Besides that, I will also teach you how to cut tile with a circular saw properly. In addition to this, you’ll also learn the safety guidelines for using a circular saw.

I hope you must be excited to learn everything mentioned above. Therefore, I won’t keep you waiting anymore. So without any further ado, let’s get started.

Should You Use a Circular Saw for Tile Cutting??

Now that you already know you can make use of your circular saw when it comes to tiling. but the question is, should you use the circular saw as a tile cutter? and what are the consequences of using a circular saw for such kinds of tasks?

Well, honestly I would always recommend getting a tile cutter or a tile cutting saw. It is because tiles can create a lot of dust during the cutting process. That dust is extremely harmful to your lungs therefore, the best tool for cutting tiles is always a wet saw.

Having that said, you should always invest in a decent tile cutting saw. However, if you don’t have one then, of course, you can use your circular saw.

How Do You Cut Ceramic Tile Without Chipping?

So far you’ve learned that you can use a circular saw for tile cutting applications without any issue. However, circular saws are powered by motors, and once started they are run at a very high speed. Therefore, it is possible that you may end up chipping the tile sometimes.

Now you might be thinking about how to cut the tile without chipping it because that would be a disaster. Well, to be honest, it is very simple and all you have to do is to follow the right technique.

I’ve already explained the process of tile cutting using a circular saw below in a step-by-step manner though. But to give you a rough idea you will need to mount a saw blade with a higher number of teeth.

The more teeth the blade has the less will be the distance per inch between each successive tooth of the blade. This way it will be able to produce finer cuts without chipping the tile. However, it may still cause problems sometimes, especially when the blade gets dull with use.

Pro Tip: Always use a Diamond or Carbide Tip Blade for such kinds of projects to ensure cleaner outputs.

What are the main types of tiles you can cut using a circular saw?

There are different types of tiles that can use for different projects. The most common types are as follow:

  • Porcelain Tile
  • Glass tiles or mosaic tile
  • Granite tiles
  • Slate Tiles
  • Concrete tiles
  • Ceramic Tile    
  • Natural stone tiles

If you want to, you can actually use your saw on all the above-mentioned types of tiles.

However, I must warn you that some of these might not be suitable for your power saw. For example, ceramic tile is not recommended.

precise tile cutting with power saw

Things You Need to Know Before Cutting Tile with a Circular Saw

While using the circular saw for cutting tile, you should be very careful about two things:

The blade on your circular saw should not be dull or chipped. You may need to use two blades for the process of tile cutting.

One blade will be used for ripping while the other one is used as a scoring blade.

The tiling material that you are going to be using will also determine the type of blade you need.

There are various types of blades available for circular saws on the market today. Some blades have carbide-tipped teeth that cut through glass, ceramic tile, brick, and other hard materials.

Similarly, another important thing you should remember is not to force the tile through the saw while cutting it. You have to cut the tile slowly and carefully with your circular saw.

Besides a carbide blade, the best blade for this kind of job is usually a diamond blade. The main thing about a diamond blade is that it is powerful and can easily make accurate cuts without ruining the piece.

Again you must only use a saw blade specifically designed for cutting tile. Do not use blades intended for wood or other materials.

You should also be aware of the fact that if your blade has any nicks or cracks, it must be replaced right away.

It’s very important for you to select the right blade for cutting tile. I have written about different types of blades in a separate article.

You can find that article here: Types of Circular Saw Blades: What You Need to Know Before Buying.  

a powerful saw cutting thick slab

How to Cut Tile with a Circular Saw?

Here’s a step-by-step method of tile cutting with a circular saw. However, just as I mentioned above, you need to mount the tile cutting blade before you even plan to cut ceramic tile of any other kind.

Step 1: Prepare the Tile or Block to be Cut

Generally, tiles are pre-cut from 12-inch tiles. If you want to cut a 4 x 4-foot block of tile, you will need five 16x16x4 blocks.

You can use these pre-cut blocks for your project, but in case you don’t have one, you need to cut a whole tile first.

Once you do that and have your whole tile ready, mark the center point of the tile using a pencil or chalk. This will be your guide for cutting the tile later on.

Step 2: Setting up for Cutting Tile with a Circular Saw  

Before placing the circular saw on the tile, you must place a sacrificial board underneath it. The saw’s base will rest on this board during the process of cutting the tile.

The purpose of using a sacrificial wood board is to give your circular saw something to cut with while sitting firmly on the ground.  

Your circular saw must be placed at a proper height so that it doesn’t create any unwanted problems while cutting tile.  

If you have more than one person doing the job of cutting tile, each one should ensure that the base of the saw is placed at an equal distance from the floor.  

If your circular saw isn’t lined up properly in this manner, there will be a high chance that it falls over during operation.

Once you are done with preparing the cutting site, go ahead and turn on the machine.

Step 3: Start Cutting Tile with a Circular Saw.  

Once you have turned your saw on, make sure that it is properly aligned with the center point of the tile. Once done, start moving your tool in an up-and-down motion. 

You should move at a slow speed until you get the hang of it.

Start increasing your cutting pace as you gain more confidence in yourself.  

If you are not getting proper results, try adjusting the height and tilt of your saw before making another cut.  This will help in delivering better results while cutting tile with a circular saw.  

Step 4: Cutting Tile and Removing the Waste

Once you are done cutting the tile, unplug your saw. Make sure that you also turn it off as well.  You can do this by pushing a button on its handle or turning a switch to the OFF position.

Step 5: Cleaning Up the Cuts

Cleaning up the cuts will be extremely important if you want to prevent dust and debris from spilling over to other parts of your workspace. You can do this using a broom or a vacuum cleaner.

Make sure that your circular saw is turned off before you start cleaning up the waste.  There’s always a high risk of short-circuiting if you try to operate a tool with the power ON.

Congratulations! You have just finished reading about how to cut tile using circular saws. I hope these instructions will prove useful for your next tiling project.

neat and clean tiles

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Cut Tile Without a Tile Saw?

Yes, you can cut tile without using a saw. Cutting will be done in the same fashion as that described above. However, there will be a huge waste of material while cutting with this method.

How Do You Cut Ceramic Tile Without Chipping?

Cutting ceramic tiles without chipping them is not a difficult task. There are several things that you need to do in order to cut and remain worry-free of chipped tiles.

These are:

  • Setting up the right cutting site Using the correct saw blade
  • Choosing the right speed for your circular saw
  • Cutting the tile in straight lines

While these steps are not difficult to follow, it is always better that you take precautionary measures while cutting ceramic tiles.

A chipped tile may look good for a short duration of time; but in the long run, it could cost you more.

The same can be said about installing damaged or chipped tiles on your flooring surface.

Apart from the chipping, tiles can get damaged while cutting as well.

What Kind of Blade Do I Use to Cut Ceramic Tile?

You will need to invest in a carbide-tipped blade to cut ceramic tiles. Apart from that, you can also use a diamond blade or a special tile blade for the job.

You can always find a decent tile blade for porcelain tiles at a very affordable price.

How Do You Cut Porcelain Tile Without a Wet Saw?

Cutting porcelain tile without a wet tile saw is possible and it can be done in many ways.

You can use different types of tools such as angle grinder, manual tile saws (tile cutter), circular saws, etc.

However, you will need to be extra careful with tools such as the angle grinder before cutting porcelain tile.

Do Carbide Blades Cut Tile?

Yes, carbide blades can cut ceramic and porcelain tiles very well. However, you will need to run the tool at a slow pace while cutting.

Are Porcelain Tiles Harder to Cut Than Ceramic?

Yes, porcelain tiles are harder to cut than ceramic. They require more power to be cut compared with ceramic tiles.

Here’s a Cool video that shows cutting tile with circular saw

Final Words

In this article, I have answered one of the most tricky questions that are very common among beginners.

The question is: can you use a circular saw to cut tile? Well, the short answer is yes you can but you will need to mount either a carbide blade or diamond masonry blade for the job.

Apart from that, you also need to follow the right technique for the tiling job otherwise you can hurt yourself or damage the tool and the workpiece.

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