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Unread 02-24-2008, 06:26 PM   #1
slick_spe3
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HELP!!!!!!!! Tiles Breaking, Going Crazy

Ok everyone,
I'm tiling my kitchen backsplash and unfortunately have two outlets that fall directly in the middle of tiles. The tiles are 6" X 6" Rialto Terra tiles from Lowe's set in a brick pattern. I'm not sure about them being porcelain or ceramic....

I have broken 5 tiles trying, unsuccessfully, to cut 2" X 3.5" outlet holes in the tiles. Per the recommendations from this forum, here's what I've tried. I have marked the hole on both sides and drawn the X's on front and back. I bought a 4 1/2" angle grinder with a 4" Husky Turbo Diamond blade. I broke three tiles simply trying to plunge cut the X's. I then bought a $30 Bosch continuous rim diamond blade. Again the tile would fracture before I even got the X plunge cut completed. Finally I borrowed my dad's RotoZip with the 3" continuous rim diamond blade. The RotoZip cuts a lot smoother, but again the tile fractured before the X plunge cut was done. I am really going crazy on these two tiles so I'm begging for the missing link. What am I doing wrong? I am using the right tools (so I think), and I'm being gentle possible.

Your advice would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Unread 02-24-2008, 06:38 PM   #2
Steven Hauser
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Hi Rob,

It is frustrating some times, try taping the tile before cutting and then using the zip saw. Better yet tape and a wet cut can be the way to go.

If it becomes too impossible, just cut all the splashes the same way for consistency and put the outlets in with a grout joint.

Good luck.
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Unread 02-24-2008, 06:38 PM   #3
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Rob
Do you have someone helping you who can keep some water going on the cut?
Another trick is to get a drill bit and drill the four corners. Prior to start cutting.
Good Luck
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Unread 02-24-2008, 06:42 PM   #4
Lazarus
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I generally cut the rectangle out, slowly on both sides before doing any "X" cuts in the middle. Takes some practice, but go slow and don't get discouraged.
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Unread 02-24-2008, 06:43 PM   #5
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Rob,
I have actually installed those tiles for a customer and I feel your pain. They are a very beefy tile but do shatter easily. Both the responses were a good idea. Actually I would do all 3 and you should have no problem. Drill the 4 corners, tape the tile and cut it wet. Good luck
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Unread 02-24-2008, 06:46 PM   #6
slick_spe3
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Thanks Jerry. I thinking drilling the four corners is my next option. Maybe that will remove some of the tiles tendency to fracture as I get deeper with the X plunge cuts.

You know, I'd have no reason to get frustrated if I was trying what I know is the right method. That said, it is maddening that I cannot get the "right" method to work for me. I wonder if it doesn't help that it's cheap tile......who knows....

Does the water just lubricate the blade helping prevent the tile from breaking?
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Unread 02-24-2008, 07:01 PM   #7
Davy
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Sometimes you can buy switch plates that are a little bigger and will extend over to the tiles edge. That way you can just make a U or L shape cut.
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Unread 02-24-2008, 07:08 PM   #8
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Rob -

Yep, sometimes it's just the dang porcelain. Your best bet may be another blade, too. Not sure, haven't used the ones you're referring too. Diamond Products is my go to, about $60.00 for a 4" continuous rim.

Not sure what the forum suggests, but I lightly score the whole box that I've drawn on the tile. Then I'll go deeper until I just punch through and only go as far as I can without crossing the next corner line. Cut through the two long parallel lines and then the two shorter lines and you'll be left with nothing but the corners from the curve of the blade. Flip the tile upside down and carefully cut throught the same lines until those corners are cut clean. No X cuts for me.

Be sure you're placing your tile on a solid surface and hold the tile firmly. If this doesn't work for you, consider a better blade.

Drilling holes in this stuff will be a pain, being porcelain.
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Unread 02-24-2008, 07:25 PM   #9
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Hi Rob....

Mark both sides of the tile, secure the tile either with tape or I lay the tile on a scrap piece of cbu and brace the corners with my feet (shoes on of course, I ain't no hippy)....cut slowly with your grinder on the back side of the tile plunging thru to the other side....but not ALL the way to the corners. Flip the tile over, trim it up on the front a bit....flip it to the back again and finish up the corners...hth.....
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Unread 02-24-2008, 07:36 PM   #10
slick_spe3
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Thanks for all the advice guys. I will definitely post later when I have successfully made the cuts. And finally, if I can figure out how to post pictures, I will post pitchers of the completed backsplash. I'm about 80% done, but hit a major slow down with these outlet holes. Prob lost about 3-4 hours fooling with just one. AHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
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Unread 02-24-2008, 07:55 PM   #11
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Another tile bites the dust, da da!!!

I was trying the long parallel cuts (skipping the X's) using the RotoZip....I had just flipped the tile and was slowly trying to breakthrough from the backside....SNAP!! It's late and I'm giving up now. I have no clue what's going wrong. I will now try the water, tape, drilling holes....whatever it takes...jeez.......
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Unread 02-24-2008, 08:08 PM   #12
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The drilling holes concept will probably work but without a special diamond bit, you will probably get just as if not more aggravated.

I do it like mud guy. Mark the same lines on front and back. Start on front and lightly make your long cuts with minimal pressure. After you get some of the 'meat" out, start cutting some of the meat on the short sides.

Flip it over and do the same. Lightly with minimal vibration. If it keeps breaking on you. Just make it in two pieces. Some porcelains just won't behave.

On another note. I have done it on a wet saw using the same principle, with the benefit of water.
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Unread 02-24-2008, 08:10 PM   #13
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Smile

The end of the day cuts never go right...Sometimes you gotta just walk away and start fresh in the morning
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Unread 02-24-2008, 08:17 PM   #14
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I would still check it with the switch plates you have. Draw a line on the wall where the edges of the tile will be, then hold up the switch plate and see how close it is to the line. You might be trying to take it out of the middle of the tile when you don't need to.
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Unread 02-24-2008, 08:22 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slick_spe3
Another tile bites the dust, da da!!!

I was trying the long parallel cuts (skipping the X's) using the RotoZip....I had just flipped the tile and was slowly trying to breakthrough from the backside....SNAP!! It's late and I'm giving up now. I have no clue what's going wrong. I will now try the water, tape, drilling holes....whatever it takes...jeez.......
Now you know why us tile guys make the big $$.

d00de, bag the Roto-deal-e-o and try it one more time with the "GRINDER". If it breaks on you, it is the blade, the tile or your frustration.

And yes, it's getting late. Tomorrow is another day.
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