Question on cutting tile

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Old 08-08-07, 01:57 PM
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Question on cutting tile

I will be installing 6" x 6" porcelain tiles as a kitchen back splash. Have about seven electrical boxes (switches and outlets) to tile around. What is best technique for making the necessary cut-outs in the tile and what tools should be used? If the location of the box turns out to be in the middle of a tile, do I need to break the tile or is there a techniqe for making the hole in the tile without breaking it?

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Old 08-08-07, 02:14 PM
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See if you can layout your tile so that a horizintal grout line goes through the middle of the boxes. This way you will not have any "center cutouts" to deal with.
 
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Old 08-09-07, 07:40 AM
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If the cutouts fall on two or more tiles, you can make the cuts with your wet saw. L cuts are self explanitory. U cuts will require cutting the two sides of the U, cutting away as much of the material as possible at angles to the bottom of the cut and then nibbling away at the bottom of the U to fine tune it. You can make cutouts in one tile with plunge cuts on your wet saw as well but you need a steady hand and you may break a few tiles in the process. A wet dry diamond blade on an angle grinder works best for the one tile cutout and its what I use. If you have to cut too close to the edge of a tile, forget about it. Try to do your layout so that the cuts will be managable. You have a little bit of wiggle room with the plates. They make extensions for the boxes, or you could use longer screws to attach the plates. Are you doing a diagonal layout?
 
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Old 08-09-07, 12:52 PM
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Thanks for the replies, which are very helpful.

I am not doing a diagonal layout. Tiles will be horizontal across the area.
Also, I measured the locations of the boxes last night and it looks like there will be a horizontal grout line through each one, so I do not have the issue of having to cut the full hole in a single tile; will only need to du a "U" cut in the tile above and below each box.

Since the replies were so helpful, I cannot resist asking a couple of more questions:

1. After cutting a tile on the wet saw, do you leave the cut edge "as is" or do you use pumice stone or some other tool to reduce the sharpness of the edge? (Not talking about the U cuts here - I'm talking about the other situations (corners, top row, etc.) where a tile needs to be cut and the cut edge will be visible.

2. What is recommended material for grouting between the counter-top and bottom row of tiles, and in the corners? I know I can by a tube of caulking to match the grout and I believe there is a "flexible" grout product I could buy. What is the best approach here?

Thanks


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Old 08-09-07, 01:55 PM
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Yes smooth the edge of the cut tile with a stone where it will be visible. Wet saws do a pretty good job of making smooth cuts but yes use a stone on the surface edge. Try to bury the cuts in corners where possible.

Use a color matched caulk in the corners and where the tile will meet the countertop and cabinets.
 
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