Ceramic Wall Tile in Kitchen- How to Cut?


Old 10-28-04, 11:40 AM
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Question Ceramic Wall Tile in Kitchen- How to Cut On the Wall?

I am installing a new over-the-range microwave to replace the old one. The problem is that the new microwave is a half inch taller than the old. The wall has ceramic tile that goes all the way up to the bottom of the old microwave. Is it possible to make a straight cut directly on the wall to remove the 1/2 of tile? Or will I have to remove the tiles to cut them? I was thinking of using a Dremel tool with a tile bit to cut the tiles directly on the wall. I would use some sort of wood guide to make a straight cut. My guess is that the tiles would show some chipping that could be covered with some kind of molding.

Last edited by bobcat; 10-29-04 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 10-28-04, 12:44 PM
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If you have an 4 inch angle grinder, you can buy a dry cut diamond blade for it. Dremmel won;t work if the tile is hard..it'll just burn up the bit...and they aren't cheap.
Old 10-28-04, 01:30 PM
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I have a better solution. You need something with a fence on it, so you can get a straight cut. You also need a wet saw to make a clean cut. You can probably rent something like that for an hour or two to do the trick, but make sure it has a diamond blade in it for cutting tile. I know the MK saws can be separated from the deck by a couple of bolts...

Put some masking tape across where you want the cut to be, and draw a line using a level and a pencil. Use some blocks of wood or something that you can stack up to make your guide that puts the blade on the top side of your pencil line (heck I'd even spend some time making a guide out of some scrap lumber). The saw should have a pump off to the side that you can stick in a clean bucket of water to provide the water for the saw. Put plenty of towels down on the counter or whatever is underneath to catch the waste water. Set your depth to 3/16" - 1/4", and cut down the line using the blocks of wood as a guide. Then you can use your dremel to finish up the ends, but don't bother using that dremel to cut the tile. It's near impossible, and you ruin an expensive bit in the process (the commercials LIE!).

Then you can use a cold chisel and a small hammer to break up the sections of tile you just isolated by knocking the grout out between them, and then setting your cold chisel in between the tiles and giving them a couple of whacks. They should pop right off. Use a rubbing stone to remove any adhesive on the wall, and to smooth out the edge of the cut tile still on the wall.
Old 10-28-04, 04:00 PM
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does this new micro go flush to the back of the wall. If not I would consider adding a row of tile the same thickness at the top to give it something to sit flush against. If not get a cheap grinder in liquidators[$15] and use the masonry disk that comes with it. Takes a while but it will cut wall tile. I had to resort to it once.
Old 10-29-04, 08:23 AM
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RE: cutting wall tile on the wall

Thanks for the suggestions. If I wanted to match the tile thickness, I could use plywood but then the microwave will stick out too far. Renting a wet saw looks like it may be the best way to go. How good do the dry cut diamond blades work? I could get one for my circular saw. I don't think it would be easy to get a straight 2.5' cut with an angle grinder.
Old 10-29-04, 10:56 AM
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It will make one hell of a mess, but if you have a vacuum cleaner handy you may be willing to put up with it. It'll also turn your saw into a dust ball...

The problem with cutting it dry is chipping the tile, and heating the tile up too much, and scorching it.
Old 10-30-04, 05:08 AM
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If you mark your line with a sharpie or a china marker and make light, slow passes with an angle grinder it should work out well. You would use a caulk line there anyway and would cover any chipping and the protrusion of the microwave also reduces the sight line at the cut. With an angle grinder, you will also have a better view of your work surface. Have someone hold shop vac along the line as you cut. A rotozip with their small diamond blade also works very well and is lighter than the angle grinder and has more power than a dremmel.
Old 11-08-04, 03:16 PM
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Tile cutting completed!

I ended up attaching a 2x4 to the wall as a guide and using my ryobi speed saw with a tile bit, which is very similar to a dremel (maybe more powerful). I figured if I chipped the tiles I could easily replace them anyway. It worked like a charm to cut 1/2" of tile for the 30" length of the microwave! I put masking tape over the cut line and did not chip the tiles. It was a little messy but not anymore than drilling holes in the wall for the wall bracket. I then cleaned up with a shop vac. The microwave was a perfect fit!
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