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What Is a Wet Tile Saw?

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  • Written By: S. Mithra
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 24 September 2016
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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.

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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 tub.

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 movable 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.

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dobrinj
Post 3

to bobkostel:

you might try renting these tools at a local tool rental place, or even at one of those big box home centers (a lot of those now offer tool rental). having a chance to work with the tool is better than anyone's recommendation.

I do find that the big MK tile saws work great. comapring that to the old days when i would score and snap tiles, a wet tile saw is a godsend.

bobkostel
Post 1

I am trying to decide on a wet tile saw. Looking at the mk-470 with a sliding table or the qep 83200 with the bridge. Which in your thoughts would be a more user-friendly saw?

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