What is a Wet Tile Saw?
A wet tile saw cuts tiles made of ceramic, leaving a clean, smooth
edge. A tile setter needs to trim tiles at the installation site to
fit the edges of a room or create inventive designs. A
table-mounted, portable wet tile saw allows her to cut tile as they
are needed to exact specifications. The saw combines a circular
blade, similar to a wood table saw, with a water pump and hose to
constantly drench the cutting area with water to reduce friction and
cool the surface.
Since tiles are so thick, brittle, and made of ceramic, a special
saw must be used. An ordinary circular saw for wood or metal would
either break the tile or get so hot that it would seize up and stop
cutting. However, ceramic tile is not cut well with sharp blades.
The wet tile saw was invented to address all these unique properties
of ceramic. It doesn't overheat, uses a relatively dull blade with
no serrations, and can be transported to a job site and set up on
top of an existing table or sawhorses.
A wet tile saw grinds a channel through the tile. A blunt, wide,
nonserrated blade uses sharp sand crystals or diamond to cut,
instead of sharpened metal. The circular blade is fitted with a
plastic hose that splashes the blade and tile surface with a steady
stream of cool water. This hose connects to a submersible water pump
that sits in a large container of water, such as a 5-gallon plastic
bucket. Whenever the saw's motor turns on, the pump also provides a
cooling jet. The excess water and ceramic dust falls into a catch
To cut a tile using a wet tile saw, measure the exact space in which
the tile will fit. Cuts are usually along a perimeter, in a corner,
or around an electrical outlet. Mark the line on the full-sized tile
in grease pencil. Most saws will accommodate tiles up to 12 inches
(30 cm) in size, but oversized saws can be rented for huge floor
tiles. Wearing safety glasses, place the tile on the moveable
platform, and line up the mark with the edge of the saw. With the
motor running, slide the platform toward the blade with an even but
gentle pressure. Since you are grinding the tile apart, ensure that
the water have sufficient time to cool everything.