Buying or Renting Tile Saws
How to choose the best one for the job.
Synopsis: For a great deal of bathroom work (as well as certain jobs elsewhere in a house), tile is a key building component, and that frequently means needing to cut tile to fit in specific spots. A tile saw is a necessity for these kinds of projects. Veteran tile-setter Tom Meehan has had plenty of opportunity to work with tile saws, and he shares his insights in this article. Meehan covers topics including score-and-snap tile cutters, diamond blades, kitchen backsplashes, holes for electrical outlets, tile wainscot, curves, indoor vs. outdoor use of tile saws, and techniques for cutting small tiles. This article includes a sidebar on Meehan’s two favorite tile-saw models.
Magazine extra: Read Tom Meehan’s first impressions of Ridgid’s newest tile saw. Also, you can learn more about Ditra, the tile underlayment Meehan uses in the project featured in his article by watching our video demo.
When I started my tile company in the 1970s, I spent $800 on a heavy-duty tub-style tile saw. It wasn’t flashy and didn’t have any bells and whistles, but it was the best tool at the time.
Thirty years later, prices haven’t risen all that much, but the options are incredible. There are saws that run smoothly enough to make clean cuts in glass tile and others that are powerful enough to bulldoze through miles of granite without popping a circuit breaker. Some tile saws excel at accurate bevel cuts, and others are indispensable for making plunge cuts or creating curves.
The fact is that there are a number of well-made, modern tile saws that allow inexperienced tile setters to complete projects that took old-timers years to perfect. But the trouble with any market that becomes flooded with options is more difficulty in making the best choice. You…