Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Barry Gray
If you’re a DIY home renovator and have a project at hand, like retiling a room, you’ll need to buy tools to get the job done. Purchasing new tools each time you need a small job done seems like a waste, though. Well, with modern advancements come cheaper solutions.
Cutting tile usually requires a wet tile saw, and in some cases, you can use a glass cutter. However, if you want to make a quick job of cutting tiles and already own a miter saw, you can simply buy a diamond or carbide miter saw blade to cut those tiles to size.
Cutting tile with a miter saw can become a dangerous job and requires adequate tools and preparation to get it done right. So, let’s see how you can cut tile with a miter saw.
Can You Cut Tile With A Miter Saw?
While not the safest option, you can cut tile with a miter saw — if you have the correct blade attachments.
An important thing to note when looking for tile-cutting blades is that you need to look for blades with a turbo rim blade or a segmented rim blade.
These blades are designed with gaps to accommodate airflow and heat generated by cutting the tile to dissipate.
Why Do You Need Airflow In a Tile Cutting Blade?
Most people who want to cut a tile will use a wet tile saw with a water supply.
The water supply helps cool down the blade and washes away any dust generated by cutting the tile.
It also helps to capture this dust to prevent it from circulating in the air — a hazard you want to avoid at all costs.
The reason you want a diamond saw attachment is that it’s designed to be cooled by water as you’re cutting the tile.
And even then, you’ll sometimes find yourself troubleshooting with some of the most expensive wet tile saws.
It’s very easy to feed the tile too quickly, and when this happens, you risk burning out the saw’s bearings. It’s, unfortunately, a mistake many first-time tile cutters make.
How To Cut Tile With A Miter Saw (Step-by-Step)
While you’ll traditionally use a miter saw to cut wood and other softer materials, you can cut tile with suitable blades and safety precautions.
Here’s how you can cut tile with a miter saw:
- First, you want to ensure that you’re in a well-ventilated area, wearing a mask and protective gear (like goggles, gloves, and earplugs).
- Ensure that you’ve installed the correct blade and secured it tightly.
- Start by making a mark on the tile area you need to cut, using a ruler and a permanent marker. You want to make this mark on the face of the tile rather than the backside.
- Place the tile onto your miter saw’s base, squaring it up with the back of the tray to hold your tile in place.
- Using one hand to hold the tile firmly in place, press the saw’s trigger and slowly pull the blade down onto the tile.
- Repeat these steps until you’ve made all the necessary cuts.
The process is similar to making angled cuts, except that you need to adjust the miter saw to angle the blade.
If you want to make a square cut, use the “drop” feature of the blade. If you’re making a square cut, you want to make the markings on the back of the tile.
Protip: To avoid dust particles circulating in your room, try attaching a shop vac to your saw’s dust port. Cutting tile dry is a messy job and can create not only a mess in your room but also in your lungs.
Precautions, Concerns, And Safety When Cutting Tile With A Miter Saw
As you may have noticed, while cutting tile with a miter saw is possible, it shouldn’t be your first option.
Here are a few safety measures, precautions, general concerns, and warnings to consider before cutting tile with your miter saw.
Safety Measures To Take When Cutting Tile With A Miter Saw
Safety comes first — always.
If you have any doubt that it won’t work, then it’s better to call it quits and try an alternate route.
Here are safety measures to be mindful of when cutting tile:
- Make sure that you’re in a well-ventilated room.
- Ensure that you’re wearing the correct safety gear and that it’s not damaged.
- Check, and double-check that the blade is securely attached to your miter saw.
- If your hand or fingers are too close to the blade, don’t cut the tile using this method. A wet saw tile won’t cut your fingers, while a dry use one will.
- Be extra cautious when cutting ceramic or natural stone tile.
While it seems excessive to list these measures, it’s best to be safe than sorry.
Concerns To Be Mindful Of When Cutting Tile With A Miter Saw
On top of the safety measures and precautions, you want to ensure that you know of anything that can go wrong.
Here are some concerns when cutting tile with a miter saw:
- There is a risk that the blade may shatter — wear protective gear.
- Breathing in tile dust is a significant health risk — wear a mask with a good air filter.
- Excess dust can cause your mister saw to cease working — when you’ve made all the cuts, remove any remaining dust or attach a shop vac to your saw.
- You may have a few inaccurate cuts — tile saws allow you to feed the tile horizontally, while a blade that comes down on the tile will do so in a pinching motion.
Knowing the risks before cutting tile with a miter saw will help you understand what to expect when things go wrong and why they went wrong.
If you’re a bit nervous about cutting tile with a miter saw after reading this, here are some alternatives you can consider.
Alternatives To Cutting Tile With A Miter Saw
There are alternative options to cutting tile. Here are two popular options:
Use A Manual Tile Cutter
Manual cutters use scoring and pressure to cut the tile to your desired size.
It’s made with a base, a handle rod, and two metal tracks to score the tile. These tools are inexpensive — some only cost around $25 — which means you won’t be making a significant investment in something you might only use once or twice.
Here’s a post on using a manual tile cutter to size your tile.
Use A Glass Cutter
Like manual tile cutters, a glass cutter uses scoring and pressure to get straight cuts.
Using a glass cutter may require more accuracy to get a straight cut, but these tools are super cheap, some starting around $5.
If you need to make an angled tile cut, you can use a tile nipper or a rubbing stone.
Cutting tile with a miter saw requires you to invest in the proper blades, but some safety concerns and risks come with this option.
If your budget doesn’t allow you to rent a wet tile saw or buy one for yourself, cutting tile with a diamond or carbide blade is still an option.
Ensure that you’re taking all the proper safety measures, and only use this method if you’re working on a small project that requires a few cuts.
Larger tiling projects will demand loads of intricate cuts, which will make renting or investing in a wet tile saw worth the money — if anything, you can sell it after you’ve used it!