Which Type of Blade Is Best for Cutting Tile?

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A do-it-yourselfer has options when it comes to buying a blade for cutting ceramic tile. The decision should be based upon whether you're just doing one project or many, how fast you want to cut, whether you're wet or dry cutting, what kind of saw you're using and whether you want to cut other materials.

How Many Projects

  • If you're just doing one small project, you don't need the best or most expensive blade, which can be well more than $100. You can buy blades for less than $20, but, of course, you need something to last long enough to finish your project.

Diamond Blades

  • A diamond blade lasts longer because it has tiny diamond chips in the rim area, which wears down as you use it, but keeps revealing new diamond chips as you keep cutting. This extends the life of the blade.

Speed

  • Professionals use toothed or jagged edge blades that allow them to cut faster. A do-it-yourselfer will most likely use a toothless, or continuous rim blade. You can extend its life with a dressing stone to expose more diamond chips in a toothless diamond blade. You can also reattach some of these blades backward and then cut in the opposite direction.

Wet Cutting

  • Wet blades, the most popular tile saw blades, come in lots of sizes and prices. Water is kept flowing around the cutting area to cool the blade, so you need a water source. Setup may take longer. They aren't tiring to use and enable smooth and accurate cutting because they're not hand-held. You can make make kerf cuts (for curves). Wet blades also are safer because they don't cut through skin easily.

Dry Cutting

  • Professionals are more likely to do dry cutting. Dry saw blades are mounted on a electric angle grinder that you plug in. Set-up is faster, but the grinder is harder to control because it is hand-held. You can use it to cut backer board, tear out old tile and make kerf cuts.

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