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How to Cut Porcelain


Safety Concerns When Cutting Porcelain

Any blade that can cut porcelain has the potential to cut you. Don't ever give a tile-cutting project less than your full attention.

With rotor tools, a rapidly spinning blade bites into whatever you're cutting. It doesn't just slice -- it tears. That's what creates the cloud of dust and particles around the tool. You must protect your eyes --all the time, every time -- when using a rotor tool. If you don't think it's a problem, imagine getting something in your eye and then having to grope around blindly to shut off a very sharp electronic blade.

Rotor tools also create a lot of friction when they cut, and that friction produces heat. Be careful handling and changing blades. You might want to keep a pair of heavy gloves handy to prevent nicks and burns.

One hazard of renting a wet saw is the unfamiliarity of the tool. You don't want to be hesitant or uncertain when you're dealing with a big rotor tool; uncertainty can show in the cuts, for one thing, but if a problem occurs you want to know -- immediately and automatically -- how to shut off the saw. Take the time to get to know your rental. And don't make it tougher on yourself; don't practice on your expensive, custom-matched tiles. Ask your tile supplier if they have a few remnants, discontinued tiles or other pieces you can practice on.

You may need to make adjustments in the way you're cutting -- perhaps moving the guides on the wet saw. Unplug the saw before you do that. No one plans to turn on the tool accidentally; that's why it's called it an accident.

The sharpness of a wet saw reduces one safety hazard: eye damage. Because a wet saw is so sharp, and the water keeps it from creating a dust cloud, you're not as likely to get something in your eye. But that word is "reduce," not "eliminate." Keep the goggles on.

Properly cut and installed, porcelain tile is a lasting investment in the beauty, functionality and value of your home. Cutting it may be a challenge, but it's one worth attempting.

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