Granite is an attractive and durable stone material that can be challenging to cut through. For applications such as kitchen countertops, granite tile can be significantly less expensive and easier to work with than granite slab. This guide reviews how to cut granite tile.
Tools for Cutting Granite Tile
Granite tile is more durable than alternate types, such as ceramic tile, but is also more challenging to cut. While ceramic tiles can be scored with a cutting wheel and snapped with a tile cutter, granite tile is too heavy and dense for this method. Consider the following tools for cutting granite tile.
- Before cutting the tile, use a straight edge and an erasable marker to measure and indicate where to cut.
- Angle grinders are capable of cutting granite tile but offer less control over cuts. Given that granite tile is thin and easily cracked, control is an important factor. You may need an angle grinder for polishing the edges of the cut tile.
- A circular saw with a diamond blade can be used on most types of granite.
- A wet-cut circular saw offers the best option for cutting granite tile by producing less dust during cutting.
Safety Tips for Cutting Granite Tile
Consider these safety precautions before you begin cutting granite tile.
- Remove hand and arm jewelry or other accessories to avoid snagging your hands on the saw blade.
- Roll up sleeves and tie back any loose hair.
- Wear safety goggles and a dust mask while handling the saw. During dry cutting, this will keep granite dust from harming or irritating your eyes and keep the silica dust from entering your lungs.
- Use ear protection.
- Do not wear gloves when operating the wet saw, as they can weaken your grip.
- Use a blade designed to cut natural stone. Using the wrong size or type of blade can damage your saw and possibly result in injury.
Advantages of Granite Tile
Granite tile is available in a variety of designs, patterns and colors. Durable and long-lasting, it offers a hard, shiny surface that’s very resistant to stains or scratches for easy maintenance. Granite tile is recommended for high-traffic areas, kitchen or bathroom countertops and living rooms.
Preparing to Cut Granite Tile
Make sure you have a sturdy work surface for using the saw and holding the tile safely.
- Have all your tools handy and ready.
- Cut granite tile outdoors if possible, to simplify cleanup.
- If you cut granite indoors, lay drop cloths on the floor and cover any surfaces you wish to protect.
- Have a shop-type vacuum available for cleaning up the dust.
Cutting Granite Tile With a Wet Saw
Wet-tile saws can vary in operation, but they all work on similar principles as table saws, with a sliding table that feeds the tile into an overhead blade. Check the owner's manual for specific instructions.
- Before wet cutting, make sure the saw's reservoir is full.
- Align the tile on the table, setting the protective fence to keep your hands as far as possible from the blade during the cut.
- Turn on the saw and give it 15 to 20 seconds to get up to speed.
- Holding the tile glazed side up with both hands, feed the tile along the fence and into the blade. Push the tile between the blade and fence until it clears the blade.
- Before removing the tile, turn off the saw and let it power down. Always unplug a power saw when not in use.
- After using a wet-cut saw, wipe up any granite slurry with a damp rag.
Tip: Consider using a few extra pieces of tile for practice cuts.
Polish the Granite Tile Edge
If the cut end of the granite tile will not be facing a wall or another piece of tile, you may need to polish the edge with an angle grinder and diamond-grit polishing pads.
- Polish tile edges before installating the tile.
- Clamp the tile to a workbench.
- Begin grinding with a 50-grit pad.
- Hold the grinder at a 45-degree angle to the surface of the tile edge. Applying even pressure, move it along the length of the tile, first away from you, then back toward you.
- Wipe the tile with damp cloth to remove the dust.
- Repeat with higher-grit pads until the edge attains the desired polish.
Granite tile is shiny, durable and resistant to scratches and stains, offering an excellent upgrade to your kitchen or bathroom countertop, backsplash or other application. With patience and the right granite cutting tools, you can save money by cutting your own granite tile.
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