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Ceramic Tile Saw Blades

Confused about which tile saw blade to use? Wondering what a diamond saw blades are versus wet saw blades? Or maybe you already know what you want but just can't find it? Save time and money with the information you'll find here.

My goal with this site is to review the pros and cons of using dry versus wet saw blades, what to look for in tile saw blades, links to help you find appropriate ceramic tile saw blades for your particular project, and provide other valuable information.

Dry Ceramic Tile Saw Blades

Smaller 4” to 5” blades are the most popular for dry cutting of ceramic tile. This small diamond blade is mounted on a hand-held electric angle grinder. There are definite advantages to having this tool for your project, but there are also disadvantages. Unless you are a professional tile installer, you can probably do just fine without one.

Pros:

  • Fast and easy to set up because all you need to do is plug it in.
  • Can also be used to tear out old tile.
  • Can be used to make kerf cuts (a series of close parallel cuts to create curves.
  • Backer board can also be cut with it.

Cons:

  • Since the grinder is hand-held, you will not have consistent control over the quality of your cuts.
  • Your edges may not be smooth and even.
  • Ceramic tile chips and dust will fly, so be prepared!
  • Very difficult to use as your only tile saw on large projects.

You are not limited to using an angle grinder for dry cutting. There are 7” and 10” blades available to fit your circular saw. However, many of the same problems mentioned for the angle grinder exist when using a circular saw.

Wet Ceramic Tile Saw Blades

The most popular ceramic tile saw blades are those for use in wet saws. Wet saws and blades are designed to have water flowing around the cutting area to keep the blade cool.

Pros:

  • Allows for smooth, accurate cuts because the saw is not hand-held.
  • Can also be used for kerf cuts.
  • Doesn’t require much physical strength for continued use.
  • Wet ceramic tile saw blades last longer because the water keeps them cool when in use.
  • Safer to use because continuous rims will not cut through skin as easily as other blades.

Cons:

  • Wet ceramic tile saw blades MUST be used with water, so you will need a water source.
  • Depending upon the quality and style of your wet saw you could easily get wet, too.
  • There may be a longer set up time.

Keep in mind that wet saws and wet ceramic tile saw blades are very popular. This means you can easily find both in a variety of sizes and price levels. If you are unable to satisfy your curiosity about them online, try asking questions at your local home improvement stores. Then comparison shop at those stores and online to find what you need for the best price.

I haven’t yet mentioned wet/dry blades. These blades can be used dry in circular saws or with a wet saw. Certain applications may require this versatility, but the majority of people can easily complete their project with just a wet blade.

Diamonds in My Ceramic Tile Saw Blades?

Diamond ceramic tile saw blades comes in different sizes and types and are available for both wet and dry cutting. The two types are toothless (continuous rim) and toothed (jagged edge). The primary advantage of the toothed variety is speed. Professionals may have need of these but few do-it-yourselfers use them. The rest of this section is about the toothless variety.

Ever wonder what a diamond blade is? The best visual I can give you is to talk about sandpaper. When you use new sandpaper, it sands the surface very quickly. However, before long, the sandpaper becomes clogged and less effective. But what if you could peel off the surface of the sandpaper and reveal “new” sandpaper right below it? You could keep on working, just peeling off the old sandpaper as needed.

Well, a diamond blade works a little like this except it “peels” itself to stay sharp. Basically, there are tiny diamond chips throughout the special material that creates the continuous rim area (the rougher-looking edge) of your blade. As you use the blade, the continuous rim material slowly wears down and reveals new diamond chips that allow you to easily keep cutting your tile. This process continues until one day when you have completely used up the continuous rim of the blade. If you have chosen your blade wisely for your project, your blade will last quite a while.

If your blade stops cutting as well as usual but still has plenty of continuous rim visible, you should use a dressing stone to “wear down” the blade a little so more diamond chips are exposed. You may just not have a perfect match between the hardness of your tile and the softness of the continuous rim. You can even try removing the blade and reattaching it backwards so the blade will cut from the opposite direction. Of course, this would only work on continuous rim blades and on blades that are not marked with a directional arrow!

The “softer” the blade, the harder the surface it cuts. This is because a soft continuous rim will wear down faster and expose the sharp diamond chips sooner to keep cutting the hard surface.

While you can probably find ceramic tile saw blades out there that are not diamond blades, it is highly doubtful they will have even a fraction of the life of a diamond blade so make sure you take that into account when you compare prices.

Which Ceramic Tile Saw Blades to Buy?

Sorry, but I can’t tell you which blade to buy because I don’t know what your particular needs are. Thinking about your project will help you choose the correct blade. Do not buy more than you need. There is little need for a costly top of the line blade if all you are doing is a one-time weekend project. But don’t go so cheap that you need to buy a second blade just to finish your project.

Things to consider when looking at ceramic tile saw blades:

  • Are you in for the long haul with a big project or more than one project? Or is this a one-time thing?
  • What kind of saw do you plan to use?
  • Do you prefer dry or wet cutting?
  • Is ceramic tile the only use you will have or do you need a blade with more possibilities?
  • What arbor hole size is appropriate for your saw? The hole in the blade needs to match the size of the tile saw’s post that holds the blade. Check your tile saw manual to find the right size.
  • Do you have a tendency to push the limits of your tools? If you cut slower with your tile saw, you could extend the life of your blade. However, you might want to get a tougher blade if you have “a need for speed!”

 

I hope this information has helped you understand ceramic tile saw blades better and has provided you with sufficient resources to find the right blade for your needs.

Good luck with your tiling project!

C.J. Westrick

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