Cutting ceramic tile with an angle grinder?

Or porcelain tile. I'm about to tile my tiny little bathroom. I was thinking about getting a cheapo tub saw to cut the tiles, but how about just cutting them freehand with a "turbo" (wet or dry) 4" diamond blade mounted on an angle grinder? Would this work better and faster than cutting the tiles with a scribe and a nibbler? (the porcelain floor tiles may be too thick to cut with a nibbler)
Is there a way to spray the cut with water to keep dust down if I only have 2 hands? Seems like it would take 3...
thanks, Bob
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Might work, but would make tons of dust, unless you kept it sufficently wet. The "cheapo tub saw"'s work prety good. I bought one at Harbor Freight a few years back, and 4 major tile jobs later it's still going strong, on the original blade. I paid something like $55 for it... The ones sold at the BORG are similar, but more expensive. (These are the type that look like table saws, and use a "splash" mechanism to move the water. That's the biggest drawback-- the splash not only gets the tile and blade wet, but you and the surrounding area too). The pro saws that look like radial arm saws work better in this regard, since they use a mechanical pump to wet only the tile and blade, but also cost much more)

Sure, get a helper <grin>. Seriously, I used a circ saw and a concrete blade to cut some patio pavers in half last summer. I had LOML stand by with a spray bottle full of water. It helped keep the dust down and the blade cooler...
-Tim
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zxcvbob spake thus:

I think the problem with any freehand method, which is what it sounds like you're suggesting, is that it's easy to bind the blade in the cut, which will stress and likely fracture the tile in a way you'd rather it didn't.
It *might* work if you could somehow strap the grinder down to make a stationary saw setup. Now all you've got to figure out is how to spray water on the cut without shorting out the grinder.
Probably easier just to rent a tile saw.
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I have used one for many years for small jobs that I don't want to bother with the wet saw. If I can I use it outside. Just be sure to use safety glasses. If I can I clamp the grinder to a railing or something so both of my hands are free. I bought 2 blades figuring I would have an extra for when one wears them out. Been about 20 years now and I stll have not opened the other blade. Tried masonary blades once when I didn't have the diamond one with me. Then it gets real dusty. I also have a diamond blade for my chop saw which I got one day when I was too far away to go back home for the grinder. It works well that way also as long as it's outside if it's possible.
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I recently retiled 18 sq. ft. toilet room. The score-and-snap tool worked OK unless the line was near the edge. I took my 5" angle grinder outside with a diamond blade and took my time. It worked great and the dust was directed downward. The tile were very large.
wrote:

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I've cut them dry with my angle grinder and diamond blade many times. Do it outside. For most cuts, I used the score and snap cutter with excellent results. Only the notch cuts (around outlets, etc) and small pieces did I need the diamond blade.
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I just did my master shower and floor. Guest bath floor i did i just used my angle grinder with diamond blade. pita and LOUD! This time though before i rented a good one i said what the heck and tried the el cheapo $88 wet table tile saw at depot or lowes..it comes with diamond blade.
I wouldn't want to do more than a few large tiles or a large room with it but for 88 bucks it beat the heck out of the angle grinder anyday, was alot quieter and cut much faster than trying to do dry! Major thing i noticed is if you have a large tile over say 6 to 8 inches you cant cut it in a single pass, the blade drift is too much and the gaurd deflect also, so you have to do 1/2 pass each side. But for a small job...it wasn't too bad at all.
- shawn
zxcvbob wrote:

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None of the accuracy issues you mention.
-Tim
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Tim Fischer wrote:

I second this saw. I bought it for $69 2 years ago, and used when I finished my 1500 ft basement floor. I must cut a few hundreds of the 12" floor tiles a a couple of hundred of 6" wall tiles for the basement bath and kitchen. I even used it cut over 10 pieces of granite tiles for the basement kitchen - particularly the cutout along the sink opening.
The saw (and the original blade) worked fine for all those cuts. A friend borrowed to do his kitchen floor (200+ ft), and currently in another friend home (for finishing basement floor and bath). Hope it will still works when it comes back.
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I use a 4.5" diamond blade & angle grinder freehand for trimming porcelain and ceramic tile often. That said, you wont get a really smooth cut. If you can keep all the "hand-cut" edges on the outer edge where the 'backsplash" tiles will cover the cut edge, that should work. A tiny little bathroom should only take one day to do so why not go to Home Depot and rent a wetsaw for a day.

Not a good idea to be spraying water on your electrical power tools while using them, even if you're an octopus.
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