How to cut ceramic tiles with an angle grinder

Written by debbie tolle
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The angle grinder is a multipurpose tool that can sharpen blades, cut through steel or mortar, sand off paint, and cut tile. This tool is designed to quickly perform jobs when the correct grinding wheel is used, and tile is no exception. When installing tile, sections must be cut out so that the tile can fit around obstacles such as floor vents, toilet flanges, and electrical sockets. Angle grinders are available in different sizes, but one of the most common sizes for cutting tile is the 4-inch grinder.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Cardboard
  • Utility knife
  • Straight edge
  • Clamps
  • 4-inch diamond carbide wheel

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  1. 1

    Measure the length and width of the object that the tile needs to fit around with the tape measure. Mark with a pencil the same measurements on the face, or top side of the tile. Use the straight edge to connect the pencil marks. For rounded objects such as a toilet flange, make a cardboard template the exact same size as the tile. Cut the template with a utility knife to fit where the actual tile will be placed. Place the template on a tile and trace it with the pencil.

  2. 2

    Place the tile on a work table so that the edge that must be cut is hanging over the edge of the work table. Use the clamps to secure the tile to the table, and position the clamps so that they will not be in the way when you cut the tile.

  3. 3

    Install the carbide-grinding wheel on the 4-inch grinder. Located on the bottom side, and near the front of the grinder is a nut and washer secured to a threaded shaft. Remove the nut by pressing the lock button on the top of the grinder to keep the shaft from spinning, and by using the provided wrench to turn the nut counterclockwise. Behind the nut is a washer that also must be removed. The washer just slides off of the shaft. Place the carbide blade on the shaft, and then place the washer and nut onto the shaft. Tighten the nut with the wrench by holding the lock button, and turning the wrench clockwise.

  4. 4

    Plug in the grinder and press the power button until it locks. With the power button locked, the wheel will turn continuously. This feature allows you to focus on controlling the grinder, and not on keeping the power button pressed in. Hold the angle grinder sideways so that the grinding wheel is at a vertical angle to the horizontal tile. This means the grinder should be positioned so the thin edge of the grinding wheel is facing up so that it can cut into the edge of the tile.

  5. 5

    Cut the tile at its outer edge with the grinder. Place the blade up to the edge of the tile, and follow the traced line with the blade until you have cut out the portion of tile you're removing.

Tips and warnings

  • Don safety glasses before cutting the tile.

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