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How to Use a Wet Tile Saw – A Complete Guide

By: David S. Miles | Last Updated: October 7, 2021

For home decoration or remodeling, if you are thinking about installing tiles in your floors, door jamb, or showers, you would need to get a perfect cut-out. A wet saw will provide you perfect cuts. It will be clean and smooth, and you won’t have to worry about the burn or chipping.

In this article, I will talk about how to use a wet tile saw and the three most used cuts that the tile installers use. Here, I’m going to be showing you how to do a straight cut, an L-cut, and a u-cut using a wet tile saw.

Tips on How to Use a Tile Saw

Use a Tile Saw

Now, I’m going to guide you through three different cuts on two different types of saw. Just in case you have one that has chop action, and also going to explain to you how to do it if your saw does not have chop action. What I mean by chop action is a saw that has a head that can go up and down. Actually, chop down on top of the tile, where the older saws don’t do that.

Straight Rip-Cut Using a Wet Tile Saw

So a straight rip cut is pretty straightforward and pretty usually. You can get it in a jiffy.  A straight rip cut is generally needed when you’re going along a wall, and according to the dimensions of your structure, the whole tile needs to be ripped down.

At first, you’re just going to take that measure. You’re going to make a visible mark, and then you’re going to come over to the wet tile. Before starting the cut, you will need to adjust the head all the way down so that it’s in the locked position. It should be down and fixed.

Make sure the head of the saw is fixed and get the mark lining up to the blade. It’s pretty simple here. Now you will need to look down on the blade. It’s a lot easier to see if you are down in line with the actual blade. Now it’s time to turn on the saw, and then you are going to push right through.

The one thing you will need to pay attention to is that you shouldn’t be forcing the tile saw into the blade. Just let the saw blade kind of dictate how much pressure you will need to put on. If you start putting too much pressure on the tile,  the blade will be receiving the most part and might not give you an efficient cut.

So pushing with gentle pressure will produce an excellent even cutting sound. That’s what you need to hear. If the saw kind of binds up making different sounds, that means you’re pushing too hard. You don’t want to do that.

Getting a nice even rip cut is pretty easy. With a wet tile cutter, the piece cut will cut really well, leaving an excellent finish. If your tile is going to be an exposed edge, you would want to have a rubbing stone or some other type of way to sand the edge.

Also Read: Top 5 Tile Saws for Homeowners & Professionals.

The L-Cut Using a Tile Saw

So up next, the L cut. An L cut can be used to cut around a wall when two walls come together or cut around an object.  L cuts are a real common cut that you will need to make, especially when doing Floors.

Let’s say you have porcelain tile dimensions 12 inches by 24. Maybe you need to go six inches here and another six inches there. Using a square, you will take the measurements. A speed square is really an excellent tool to have when you’re marking tiles. It helps you get a lovely Square drawn.

So you got an L shape outline on your tile, and you are ready to cut. Now I could do this cut on chop action saw. Now you can do the cut with a none chop action saw too, but chop action would be easier to handle.

The same thing that you did with the rip cut. You will just need to line the blade up with the pencil-marked line of the tile. Look right down the pipe to make sure everything is lined up.

As you start to cut and when you get to the edge of your cut, you will actually be lifting the tile. Lifting up on the tile allows the blade’s curvature to cut through to the back of the tile. Since the tile is round, if you were just to stop it at the endpoint, the cuts will be angled.

It won’t cut through the same depth all the way through the tile, so you’re going to need to lift the tile up. As you lift it up, that helps transfer the cut all the way through instead of leaving more meat on the tile in the back.

So you are going to do that same thing as you make the other side of the L. Just line it up. You can close one eye to focus your vision on the cutting line. It will be easier for you to get the marked line lined up. As you get close to the point of the L, try going really slow. You don’t want to go out past the marked line, you can stay short of it, but you don’t want to go past. If you go past the marked line, you’re going to ruin your cut.

So after you made the L, you will still have a little bit to clean up in here. The curvature of the blade doesn’t allow you to go all the way through, even when you lift up the tile. So you just need to clean this up. You can do this one of two ways. You can flip the tile upside down, and that’s going to allow it to go deeper. So just flip it upside down & need to go a little bit past.

Or the other thing you can do is hold the tile, which is where the chop action comes in handy. Go from the backside and go a little bit past until you reach right in the corner. You would just get in here and kind of manipulate things with your hand.

Now you’ve got an adorable L cut all the way through. One thing that’s helpful to do is if you have a heavy tile & you’re trying to do fine-tuning like this. Try to find a way that you can rest an arm that would make it a lot easier to have stability and control over your cut instead of trying to hold it in the air because these tiles are pretty heavy.

So there’s a nice beautiful perfect L cut right there. That again, if this weren’t exposed, if you had a baseboard going on it, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But if this was like in a shower niche where it’s exposed, you got to get these cuts perfect and sand the edges.

Also Read: 5 Top Quality Wet Tile Saw Under $300. 

U-Cut Using a Wet Tile Saw

So the last sort of cut I am going to show you is a U-shaped cut. You got a straight rip cut, got your L cut, now it is time to do a U-shaped cut.

So start taking the measurements. Let’s assume you are going 11 inches U-cut; that’s kind of the standard width of a door jamb. You are going to need a speed square. Get an arbitrary measurement on the tile.

As I have mentioned earlier, the speed square makes it pretty fast to do the markings. Maybe that’s why it’s called a speed square. Sometimes the speed square doesn’t reach all the way, So you will just start it and then use the edge just straight edge line it up.

So first with a chop action saw. When it comes to U Cut, the chop action saw outperforms the old non-chop action, but you can do the cut with both the saw.

Starting on the chop action saw, you will need to make two straight cuts. Just follow the previous method and lift the tile up when you reach the end. You will need to bring the blade all the way through the tile now. Go ahead and loosen up the head on the chop action saw. Now you can lay tile either way, and It doesn’t matter. But I’m going to suggest you to lay it in such a way that you can see the finish line.

So the nice thing about chop action saw is that you can put the tile completely under the blade and bring it down on top of the tile. So you are going to line it up just like you would make a straight line. And start the motor, leave the head of the saw loose and come down on top of the tile with the blade. Now you have to be really careful here not to go past the finish line. You gotta stay within the two lines.

Because of the curvature of the blade, It’s not cutting through that. So this still needs to come out, and when you lift it up on the tile, it gets almost all the way through. It’s not quite what you desire, but if you don’t lift up on the tile, you will have a little bit left on the underside.

So after cutting all the way through on the front, you could probably just hit this on something, and it would pop off clean, but for the sake of teaching, you will flip the tile on the backside and run a little bit longer. Because the curvature of the blade won’t go through the front. It’ll just be on the back. Okay, here we go.

There is a little rough right there on that corner probably could have done a better job there inside corners.  This is a pretty tricky cut to make correctly, but you might need to make it again. Sand the rough edges of the corners.

Now we’re going to go with the old-school wet tile saw that has no chop action at all. It got a fixed cutting head. It’s going to be really similar. Make sure you use a sharp blade. If the blade is old and dull, you might feel the vibrations and hear an annoying noise.

So now you gotta get the tile underneath the blade. Get the tray out of the way. Now you are going to lift up the tile. So real quick, that’s how you would make your cut.

The chop action saw is built with great features; it is a lot easier and simpler to use, especially if you’re just a beginner. But if you don’t have access to a modern chop action saw, then a traditional wet tile saw would also get the job done. As the blade is fixed and provides limited mobility, you just have to be extra careful with your cuts.

Final words

I hope the article on how to use a wet tile saw will help you guys get better at what you do. Maybe you’re an apprentice, or a do-it-yourselfer just wants to do their project and do a good job.

Once you get better, it’s going to have a ripple effect on not only your workers but also your community, your family, and everything that goes from there.

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