Tips for Using a Wet Tile Saw

  • 01 of 09

    Wet Tile Saws Are the Best Way to Cut Tile, Bar None

    Cutting tile with a wet saw
    lutherhill / Getty Images

    Using a wet tile saw can be a downright fearsome proposition. Water, electricity, and rapidly rotating diamond-encrusted blades combine to make your tile-cutting a memorable experience, to say the least.

    But wet tile saws are really the only way to get a good, professional cut. In comparison, snap tile cutters just don't cut it. Used safely, wet tile saws can help you produce lots of cleanly-cut tile to your exact specifications. Bevels, small shapes, odd angles and more are possible only by using a wet tile saw.

    In the end, you'll find that not only is there nothing to fear with wet tile saws, but they are important tools if you want to lay any tile in your house.

    We'll look at how to use a wet tile saw with a pumpless Ryobi 7" that has been reviewed here before. It's a basic, low-cost, off-the-shelf saw that is easy to use. For a mere $100 cost, this tool may help you avoid hiring expensive tile setters.

    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Make Connections to Saw

    Get the Connections Right - Water and Electric in, Drain out
    Lee Wallender

    We find that connections take up so much time with our wet tile saw, if only because we want to get everything right.

    This model has:

    • At the bottom: clean water coming in from a garden hose.
    • Top, left: waste water draining out to a bucket.
    • Top, right: electricity coming into the saw.

    Wet tile saws can have a pump or not. Since this model does not have a pump, you can see the electrical cord that is not being used towards the top-center of the picture.

    Continue to 3 of 9 below.
  • 03 of 09

    Place Bucket for Waste Water Draning From Saw

    Drain out to Bucket
    Lee Wallender

    Wastewater drains through the hose shown in the previous image and into a bucket. The bucket must be lower than the tile saw to allow for the water to drain.

    Even though this bird's eye view image looks like a giant spaghetti mess of hoses, it's all really very simple. It's just one, long garden hose with one end attached to the saw and the other end in the bucket. It looks so complicated because we weren't willing to cut our full-length garden hose just for the temporary purpose of hooking to the saw.

    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    Make a Drip Loop in Saw's Electrical Cord

    Drip Loop With Electric Cord
    Lee Wallender

    Electrical safety is a huge part of using a wet tile saw. There are only a few remodeling tools where you want to have water and electricity in such close proximity. Ordinarily, you wish to keep the two as far apart as possible.

    Here is a "drip loop" in the electrical cord leading from the saw to the outlet. The drip loop is lower than both the saw and the outlet, so that water does not drip down the cord and into the outlet.

    If you're cavalier about safety glasses, don't be cavalier when it comes to electric saws.  Safety glasses are mandatory.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Turn on the Water to the Saw

    Turn on Water
    Lee Wallender

    First turn on the water to the saw. Make sure that the water isn't flowing so fast that it splashes outside of the saw's drain tray.

    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    Ensure That Water Is Flowing to Blade

    Check That Water Is Coming out Full Force Around Cutting Area
    Lee Wallender

    The water should be flowing freely all around the cutting end of the blade. If not, don't begin cutting. You could risk gunking up the blade, breaking it, breaking the tile, and even serious injury. The water keeps both the blade and the tile cool and prevents particles from flying around.

    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    Turn on Power to Saw

    Now Turn on Power to Saw
    Lee Wallender
    1. Make sure that your hands are dry. 
    2. Where is your other hand (the hand not turning on the saw)? Make sure it is not within the wet tile saw area.
    3. Make certain that blade is touching nothing (i.e., a piece of tile).
    4. Only now will you turn on the power to the saw.
    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    Push Tile Into the Blade

    Push Tile Into Blade, Keeping Hands Safe
    Lee Wallender

    When using a wet tile saw, the rotating blade head remains stationary. It's the sliding work tray that moves into the blade.

    Push the material slowly into the blade. The blade should easily cut through ceramic tile.

    Notice that we are keeping our hands out of the line of the cut (shown by the dotted line)? That's another safety measure that we like to maintain.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Is Water Flowing Around Rotating Blade

    Thoroughly Wet Blade Easily Cuts Tile
    Lee Wallender

    Optimal conditions are shown here:

    1. The blade is rotating at full speed.
    2. Tile is sliding continuously toward and into the rotating blade.
    3. Water is copiously flowing around blade and cutting area.
    4. No particles are flying outside of the blade area.