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How to cut porcelain tiles with an angle grinder

By: Daniel Smith

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Porcelain tiles are probably the most aesthetically pleasing type of tile on the market. However, cutting them can be quite a challenge. They will break with the slightest of pressure. In this guide, we will teach you how to cut porcelain tiles with an angle grinder.

A diamond wheel is an absolute must for cutting porcelain tiles. It will cut through the porcelain tile like a hot knife through butter. Cutting straight lines is a breeze but when it comes to circles or any other odd shapes it’s best to go at it from anywhere between 30° and 45°.

An angle grinder is especially useful for when you need to cut curves like you will if you are installing porcelain tiles around pipes or around the base of your commode. Not only is it easy, but once you get the hang of it, you can cut some pretty clean circles in a matter of minutes.

If you are looking for an angle grinder that will help you cut porcelain tiles we recommend the DEWALT DCG418b. You can read more about this angle grinder in our DEWALT DCG418 angle grinder review.

Steps for Cutting Porcelain with an Angle Grinder

An angle grinder is good for cutting just about any shape you can imagine. Just remember, since you are cutting with a wheel, you won’t always have the same length of cut on the bottom of the tile as you have on the top of the tile. Fortunately, any bits of tile sticking out can be fixed with the wheel for a clean and thorough cut.

Step 1: Safety

Cutting with an angle grinder, especially into porcelain tile, is going to create a lot of dust and noise. You don’t want any of that stuff in your face and lungs, so protection is a must.

If you can cut outside, do so, and if not, make sure that you are in a well-ventilated area. Wear safety glasses to keep porcelain dust out of your eyes, and protect your ears with hearing protection. A grinder is already loud but when the wheel touches the porcelain, it’s much louder.

Step 2: Mark Your Porcelain Tile

Mark the areas that you are going to cut on the tile. Make sure that none of your cuts are going to leave only ½” or less of tile remaining on one end. You don’t want to go any more than that because there might not be tile left to maintain its integrity. 

Mark it out with a clean, black marker. You can use a permanent marker, just mark it on the bottom of the tile, remembering how the tile is going to fit in place before you cut out your sections.

Step 3: Cutting the Tile

For straight-line cuts, you don’t need to angle much and you can dig right in at a 90° angle. For circular cuts, however, you want to score the surface of the line you drew, maintaining your angle all the way around the line.

Then you come back and do it again, going a little deeper this time. You are essentially creating a trench as you go along, recutting the same circle but a little deeper with each pass until you are through the material.

Once you are completely through, slowly and easily use the diamond wheel to clean up the cut if necessary. If you did it right, however, you probably won’t have to. 

Step 4: Semi or Half Circle Edge Cuts

When you are making semi or half-circle cuts on the edge, you don’t want the part that you’re cutting to snap off under its own weight before you finish. The best way to remedy that is to draw out your semi-circle and then draw straight lines that will allow you to cut out the heaviest section before you do your circle. 

Like you would do with a circle, go ahead and score the first or second layer of your semi-circle and then cut through your lines, removing the heaviest portion before you finish your cut along the semi-circle that you marked out. If you do it that way, there’s no danger of the material snapping off before you complete the cut.

Are you looking for an angle grinder wheel for metal? Check out our post: Best angle grinder wheel for cutting metal.

Best angle grinder wheel for cutting porcelain

As mentioned in the video above, our favorite grinder for cutting porcelain tiles is the DEWALT DW4765 Diamond blade or DW4764 if you are looking for a 10″ inch variant. This Diamond Blade is specifically made for cutting tiles. The XP4 is our favorite blade as it offers up to 4 times the life of standard blades.

DEWALT Diamond Blade for Porcelain Tile

DEWALT Diamond Blade for Porcelain Tile

our score: 9.3
  • Great value for money
  • Diamond matrix
  • Designed for high power tile saws
  • 4 times the life of standard blades
  • No blade wrapping

Video: How to cut porcelain tiles with an angle grinder

Final Thoughts

That’s all there is to it and the hardest part will be learning to maintain a 30° to 45° angle all the way around your cut. Once you go with an angle that’s comfortable to you, stick with it, and don’t change your angle at any time throughout the cut.

The Author
Daniel Smith
My passion for power tools and work clothing started when I was a kid. My father and I used to build tree houses together, he taught me all the tricks of the trade! Meanwhile, I'm a 28-year-old with more than 7 years of experience on various job sites.
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