Making L-Cuts in Ceramic and Porcelain Tile

Discussion in 'Remodel Forum & Blog' started by Verdeboy, Nov 24, 2006.

  1. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    I have a really nice Rubi tile cutter, which easily makes staight cuts and diagonal cuts in all kinds of tile. So far, I've only done shower tile jobs and haven't had to make the kind of L-cuts and rounded cuts you need for floor tile.

    I don't have the money or even the space in my Jeep to get a good wet saw. I can get a continuous rim dry diamond blade for both my rotozip and my circular saw to make those kinds of cuts. I'm worried that the rotozip wouldn't have the power and that the 3.5" blade would be too small, and the circ. saw would be too clumsy. Am I correct in these assumptions?

    I can afford a large or small angle grinder, which can also take a dry diamond blade. Would one of those be the best tool for making these sorts of fancy cuts if I don't have the wet saw?

    PS: I've already posted this question on the John Bridge forum, but would like your input as well.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2006
  2. Cal

    Cal New Member

    Messages:
    228
    Location:
    Northern Virginia
    First off ,,, If you are going to stay in this buisness ,,,get a truck !

    If you can't afford a wet saw ( at this time) the best way is to use the diamond blade in the grinder . For softer tiles ( 4x4 , 6x6 ) wall tile,,, then
    just keep going with the roto-zip .

    Worked for a few years without a truck or a wet saw . BELIEVE me,if you are steady working ,you CAN afford both of these and they DO PAY FOR THEMSELVES !
    Luck
    cal
  3. tile work stinks

    Cal is right .... if you are really in business
    you better get a Van or you are just
    spinning your wheels...

    We used to do tons of tile work....
    its waaayyy too competitive and
    too tedious and too time consumeing for
    my taste...

    and every time I would start a big tile job, you could
    almost guarantee that the phone would start
    ringing off the wall for all sorts of easy, quick,
    lucurative plumbing service calls...


    that we couldent get to because of the
    "competitive tile work" we were stuck on for the week..

    my father used to say
    "you got to take the good with the bad"

    my brand new tile saw hasent seen action in almost 2 years and thats fine with me.
  4. $4 blade on a 4" grinder

    I have cut dry hard porcelain
    - with a blade made for cutting cement, and
    - with a diamond blade, made for precise cutting.

    They both work. :) .

    Outdoors or on a balcony is the best. The dust is bad. A wet saw is always better.


    david
  5. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    When I did my house in '65 I had only a radial arm saw. I used a masonry blade to cut inside corners. You can also use a table saw. If you cut to the line on the glazed side you can chip out the remainder with pliers. If you kind of crush the area you are trying to remove there is less chance of breaking the part you want to keep.

    If you are doing it with a saw, cut the line nearest to the edge of the tile first.

    I have done it manually by using a good glass cutter to score out to the edges and draw a radius at the corner, with a lot of scoring in the area to be removed. I then used a pair of pliers, such as slip joint, to crush and break out little pieces. Sometimes you break of the part you want to keep, and most times you don't.
  6. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Thanks, but my Jeep is just fine for my needs. I've taken out the rear seats and mounted the spare tire on the roof. It's like a big lock-box with plenty of visibility all around. The roads here are mostly "unimproved" as JAD can attest to, so 4WD is essential. I work about half the time and go hiking in the mountains the other half.

    I might do 5 shower jobs and 1 floor tile job a year. I have to budget space for minor electrical, plumbing, carpentry, painting, roofing, caulking, tiling, etc., etc.,
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2006
  7. Gencon

    Gencon Renovator

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Etobicoke, Canada
    I use my Roto-Zip with the dry diamond blade and it works just fine.It has plenty of power for this. Though you do have to take it apart and blow the dust out of it after awhile or it will stop working.
  8. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Rotozip says that a new, larger cut-off attachment should be coming out soon, along with a bigger and better dry diamond blade. I am mostly worried about power. The Rotozip has 5.5 amps, and the Bosch 7" angle grinder I was looking at has 15 amps. Some of those floor tiles are pretty thick.
  9. Gencon

    Gencon Renovator

    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Etobicoke, Canada
    I cut ceramic, porcelain, marble slate and granite with mine. The blade is at least a couple of years old and still cuts great. Power has never been an issue. I wouldn't use it as my main tool for cutting tiles, I have a wet saw for that, but for making shaped cuts for corners, edges or closet flanges, the Rotozip works great. Its light weight makes it easy for one hand operation too.
  10. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    I actually do alot of business out of a Geo Metro... so, if the Jeep suits your needs then hang onto it. My van burns too much gas and I'm in a very rural area where a call 20 miles away is not unusual.
    I've done several tile jobs with nothing more than a very cheap wet saw I purchased from HD or Lowe's ... I can't remember but it was like $60 or so and has served my purposes really well. I can't compete with the Mexican's around here so I pretty much just stick to plumbing when possible eventhough I enjoy the tile work... I prefer the money work.
  11. khayes

    khayes New Member

    Messages:
    53
    Location:
    Alpharetta, GA.
    Ditto what Randyj said - I bought a cheap wet saw from HD (about $75)thinking if it could just get me through my one project, I would be ahead money-wise. I'm not in the business, but I've since done many jobs with it - back splashes, floors, surrounds. It keeps on working just fine. I do need to replace the blade and will do it when the next job comes up.
  12. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    K... another really good thing about my "EL-CHEAPO" tile saw... it's very small and easy to store! Lightweight and really just jolly damn nifty.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,888
    Location:
    New England
    Felker sells a neat little wetsaw that looks like a circular saw. HD sells a similar, less well-made version for about the price you can find this one on-line. Since there is no pan, you need to work outside or where there is a floor drain, since the thing spews water all over the place. The small table-saw like wet saws also can work, but don't wet the blade well, thus can wear them out faster. Neither one cuts dense materials very quickly, but work and have the advantage of not limiting the length of the cut.
  14. Verdeboy

    Verdeboy In the Trades

    Messages:
    2,051
    Did I mention I use my Rubi TS-40 cutter for the all the main cuts. I can't imagine how any wet saw could be easier. You just score it and snap it. Takes about 10 seconds per tile and there's no mess, no noise, and you don't need electricity.

    I had one of those cheap MK cutting boards, and I hated it. I had to score a tile 5 times and then hope and pray it would break where I wanted it to. You can find it on E-Bay soon or else in the trash.
  15. Randyj

    Randyj Master Plumber

    Messages:
    1,047
    Location:
    Alabama
    I used my el-cheapo wet saw tile cutter on a terra cotta tile floor and definitely could tell the difference than with the thinner glazed tile...but, it did the job and I had very good accuracy for cutting very slim pieces to go against a tub apron. Everything straight that went under base boards was easy to cut with a pretty good tile cutter. On the terra cotta tile job I got tired of trying to cut with that and just cut everything with my wet saw.
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