A Guide to Cutting Tiles and Concrete

Do you have any tiles or concrete that you need to saw through? Have you tried to do this before? Let’s take a further look at what it takes to do the job properly.

Tiles and concrete are two very difficult materials to work with. They are strong and durable, for the most part, but if they are put under stress in the wrong way they can crack or shatter unpredictably. This makes them tricky to cut. 

Concrete poses additional challenges because it tends to produce a lot of dust during the cutting process.

This means that you need to either use a dust control device or use a wet cutting tool so the dust is mixed with water and washes harmlessly away instead of being kicked up into the air.

Can You Use the Same Tools to Cut Tiles and Concrete?

Cutting concrete is usually done via a large saw with diamonds on the blade. Dust control is achieved either through water (wet dust suppression, as it is known) or using local exhaust ventilation. 

Cutting concrete requires a very powerful saw, especially if the concrete that you are cutting is thick. Cutting tiles requires a different approach, depending on the type of tile that you are cutting. 

Ceramic tiles are relatively delicate compared to concrete and may shatter if you try to cut them with a powerful petrol or electrical saw. You need to make sure you use the most appropriate tools for the job. 

There are a few different types of tile cutters:

  • Mechanical tile cutter
  • Tile scribe
  • Electric cutters

Mechanical tile cutters are quite similar to paper ‘guillotines’ but for tiles. They are a small device that you lay the tile into, with a ‘guard’ that ensures a straight cut.

You measure the tile and line it up with the guard, then push the blade along the track, so that it cuts across the guard. 

The sharp blade will cut the tile evenly, without risk of it shattering, slipping or producing ragged edges. This is the most common way of cutting ceramic tiles.

Tile scribes are used for cutting very thin tiles. Think of them as a more sophisticated form of a craft knife. You use a ruler to guide the scribe and make small, precise cuts with the scribe.

Electric cutters are like electric saws, and they are useful if you want to make curved or angled cuts. Usually, these will need to be used with water, to prevent the blade from overheating.

Cutting Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiles such as those used for roofing will need a much more powerful saw than a ceramic tile. You should use a wet-cutter to cut concrete roof tiles. 

Since the tiles are small, you will need to work carefully and measure precisely. To prevent the tiles from breaking when you cut them, make small incisions and cut in several passes while keeping the water flowing steadily.

The cut itself should not be labour-intensive, so once you get the hang of lining up the tool and cutting properly you should find that the job feels easier.

Measure Twice, Cut Once

There is an old saying that is often taught to apprentice tradespeople – “measure twice, cut once”. This is particularly true for things like construction materials and roofing tiles. 

If you cut too much off a tile then it will be hard to undo that mistake, or sometimes not even possible, so the tile will go to waste. 

Measure, double check your measurements, and then once you are sure you have things right, make the cut. It is better to work slowly and get things right first time than to waste potentially expensive building materials. 

This applies even when making incisions into concrete. You don’t want to have a door that is lopsided, do you?

If you are looking for a concrete cutting company that is trustworthy and reliable, then don’t go past VIC Sawing and Drilling. Call us today on (03) 8786 3621 or contact us through https://www.vicsawing.com.au/contact/