Cutout in Porcelin Tile - Is this possible?!? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Schmutz in TX
11-04-2004, 01:47 PM
Ok, I am at the end and need to know if what I am trying to do is even possible.

We purchased some porcelin tile that I would gather is on the high end. We purchased it becase we liked it unknowning (which I know now after reading the forums further) that porcelin is rather difficult to cut and can be brittle. Who knew! I thought tile was tile! :(

The tile is going on the floor and backsplash with stone accents in the BS. However I have now run into a major and possibly show stopper problem. I cannot cutout the light switch or plug recepticals. As it is now I have broken quite a few tiles than I would like and have no hope of making stable cutouts.

My method for cutting is with the use of a diamond blade on a grinder. I have not been able to find much else that will cut this stuff. I have also tried using a wet saw but with no consistent luck.

Right now I have only one unbroken cutout (picture included) but I have questions as to its longevity as it isn't even installed. There is a catch to this one as the only reason I think I have it is that I reinforced the back of the tile with fiberglass cloth and resin (yes, I'm despirate). Another reinforced in the same way broke just like the others when I was cutting it so I am back to square 0 on finding a method to achieve consistant results.

For info, the tile is Dal Tile Monticito 12X12.

I have thought of releaving the stress at the corners with cutting a hole with a drill bit but have found that about my only option with this tile is to use a diamond bit. That as another lot O $$ to a project that is already turning out to be ,,, well I'll bite my tongue. I hate to go down this path, buy an expensive bit for this one project and find out that even this won't solve my problem.

Anyway, if anyone can tell me how to make cutouts in porcelin tile consistently and with good results it would be appreciated. I would love to know if anyone out there even does this in the profession or if it is mostly impossible and not something you guys do.

Thanks in advance,

Schmutz in TX

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11-04-2004, 03:03 PM
Try setting your tile on a bed of sand. It will absorb some vibrations and give it a firm base that the grinder can cut through. On a seperate note, make your life easier by getting box extenders for your outlets. The way your cut looks, it looks as if your tile is going to support the little tabs at the top and bottom of your outlets and switches. Around hear, that's a huge code violation and a rectangle would be much easier to cut, than all those fancy notches for screws to go through. Let the grinder work slowly so as to not stress the tile so much.

Raymond S
11-04-2004, 04:01 PM
Use the grinder to cut along the marked lines on your tile. Go through the tile as far as you can and still stay within your marked box. Flip the tile over and connect the cut lines. You will have the tile attached at the corners only. Do not attempt to knock this out yet. Make 1 or 2 rip cuts in the center of your marked cutout (this should substantially weaken the hold the tile has on the cutout). Try easing the cutout free. It should break out. If it doesn't, make another rip and try again.

11-04-2004, 04:05 PM
Try the Dewalt DW4701 diamond blade. If you have one of those "super hard" diamond blades with the blue/green labelling you will have problems.

Those blades generate alot of vibration and result in broken tiles

I've been in your shoes and the type of blade was the issue.

Attach a pic of the blade and I'll tell you if it's problematic