As a DIY home remodeler, you have to be creative about saving money everywhere you can and getting the most out of your tools. You don’t want to ruin your tools or put yourself at risk, but if you can keep from having to buy another tool, that is the way to go.
Most people use a tile saw with a water supply. This water cools the blade and washes the tile dust away. The flow of water is excellent at capturing the fine particulate and keeps it from ending up in the air where it becomes a cancerous breathing hazard.
These saws use a diamond saw that is specifically designed to cut tile while being cooled by a flow of water.
Even with these extremely expensive tile saws, it is common to feed the tile too quickly, overload the saw, burn out the bearings and break the saw. Homeowners who are doing their first tile installation often burn out their first tile saw.
Adding A Diamond Blade To A Miter Saw
Something to consider is adding a diamond blade to your miter saw. They make 10-inch and 12-inch diamond blades that are designed to cut tile. The important thing when shopping for one of these blades it to buy a turbo rim blade or segmented rim blade. The Continuous rim blades are designed to cool via the flow of water that a tile saw has. A turbo rim blade or segmented rim blade has gaps intended to help dissipate the heat to the surrounding air.
One of the concerns is what would happen if the blade shattered. It doesn’t seem like there is much anecdotal evidence of that happening, but it is something of which to be aware. While it might not matter if you are cutting a few pieces of tile, it might not be something you want to do all day long.
Dust is the other major concern. You need to wear additional face protection when cutting tile with your miter saw, and a good filter mask to keep from breathing the dust is highly recommended.
However, that dust can also be a threat to your saw. Those fine particles are just the right size to get into the motor windings and cause all manner of havoc. It would probably take months of use in this manner to cause lasting damage, but it does seem feasible that you could burn out a saw in a matter of months if it were worked regularly in this type of dust.
Chop saws are much like miter saws, except that they are usually used to cut metal or brick. Chop saws have a more enclosed housing, primarily to protect the motor from the flying dust and metal shards.
The last concern is that the saw comes down on the tile in a pinching motion. Tile saws, on the other hand, allow you to feed the blade in horizontally, and provide a highly accurate cut. You may be sacrificing some accuracy if you try to cut tile with a miter saw. (Zachary Drumm of ToolTally.com has suggested that if you have a sliding compound miter saw, this “pinching” might be mitigated somewhat.)
We’ve established that you can use a miter saw to cut tile. There are construction workers who say they have also cut brick and paver stones with it.
If you are concerned about harming your saw, you might look into buying a used tile saw. These are available on Craigslist and eBay and are surprisingly affordable. If you do pick up a used one, spend some time flushing the pump with clear water and replace the blade. From there, you should be pretty good to begin your project.
Chop saws might be another option but aren’t likely to be cheaper than buying a used tile saw.
And, of course, you can pick up a diamond circular saw blade, and cut the tile with your miter saw.
Good luck with your project!