Argg...cutting subway tile


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Old 05-17-19, 08:36 AM
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Argg...cutting subway tile

Hi-

I am prepping 3 x 6 subway tile for a backsplash. I purchased a $25 Lowes brand tile cutter which works fine except that I can't get exactly even cuts.

I just went through about 10 tiles and I am getting a little frustrated because I can't get them perfectly even. I think all the differences in length are about 1/32" or so, but some vary a bit.

Is this amount of variance acceptable or should I toss all of these? Does it make a difference if I have a better quality tile cutter?

I don't mind purchasing a new one and starting over it's the right way to do things. I only want to do this project once and I will 100% be bothered if my cuts are going to give me poor results.

Thoughts?

Thanks!

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Old 05-17-19, 09:13 AM
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I purchased a $25 Lowes brand tile cutter which works fine except that I can't get exactly even cuts
So I'm going to guess it was not a powered diamond wet saw?

Here is the deal, if doing DIY think about how much money you are saving! All that savings will allow you to but the tools needed to do the job right!

Even a cheap $100 wet saw, or even a cheap $100 wet saw listed on Craigs List for $50 will give you much better results!
 
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Old 05-17-19, 09:39 AM
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You can even sell the wet saw when you are done. You'll be way ahead in the long run.
Saws have a fence so you get consistent repeat cuts. They make cleaner cuts too.
 
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Old 05-17-19, 10:08 AM
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Hi!
I actually purchased a Skil wet saw. I thought if I used it for these cuts it would remove too much material from the middle. Just use my saw instead?
 
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Old 05-17-19, 10:31 AM
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IMO a wet saw works better than a snap cutter. You ought to be able to even those cuts up [trimming the long ones] with your tile saw. A saw does cut off a little more but as long as all the pieces are the same length it shouldn't matter. If the grout is the same color as the tile uneven cuts are somewhat forgiving.
 
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Old 05-17-19, 10:34 AM
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it would remove too much material from the middle
If you are concerned about cutting a tile exactly in half to start or end a row, the difference caused by the blade thickness will not be visible as it will be covered at the end by tile on an adjacent wall or be buried in the caulk that you should use at the end of a row that lands against a wall. If you are ending a row on a flat surface you should be using bullnose tiles for that.

Butting a cut edge against a finished edge or having two cut edges at a joint will never look right.
 
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Old 05-17-19, 10:48 AM
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Thanks, I have the bullnose for the ends. Yea, I was just cutting some half pieces for the starts like you said. Iíll fire this saw up later and see how it goes.
 
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Old 05-17-19, 10:50 AM
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I bought a cheap harbor freight tile saw a few yrs back, I've hardly used my snap cutters since.
 
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Old 05-17-19, 11:22 AM
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I bought a cheap harbor freight tile saw a few yrs back,
I had one for a couple of years, works ok for smaller tile.

Found a nice MK saw, it's about the same improvement from snap cutter to cheap wet saw as the cheap wet saw is to the MK.

As usual, in the long run, it always pays to buy a good quality tool and just hang onto it for ever, it's actually the cheap way to go!
 
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Old 05-17-19, 12:36 PM
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The thing is you need to balance what you can afford to spend tempered with how often you expect to use it. I know good tools work better but if a tool is only expected to be used a few times you need to consider how much money you can justify for a tool that will spend most of it's time stored in the barn. I don't foresee doing any more tile work on my house but the saw is there if plans change ..... now what the kids plans are is another story
 
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Old 05-17-19, 05:19 PM
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how often you expect to use it
That is the million dollar question!

After 7 new homes and several tile jobs each I would say that I'm probably past the mean, but regardless, I bet I could sell my tools (purchased used) for pretty much what I bought them for so again quality tools, not the cheap krap from Harbor Freight, are the real bargains!
 
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Old 05-19-19, 08:33 AM
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The Skil tile cutter I got from Loweís for $80 works fantastic for this job. Iíll just keep it for the $80 I spent on it.

I completed the first segment of the kitchen. Iím generally very good at figuring out how to do projects like this after asking all my questions on here and reading blogs etc and watching videos. This first part did not come out 100% perfect but itís darn good. Just needs grout. I think my Achilles heel is speed. This is one of those projects where. I felt pressured to go fast. I wasnít sure how much working time I had with the Mapei. Everything was fairly easy except for the wall had a few minor low spots. I had to pull tile off a few times add more adhesive, and this was despite all my efforts to get it flat during prep. I think this wall had been tiled twice already so it was a bit banged up. The low/high areas seemed to be around the outlets for the most part. I will have to do better for the larger segments I have remaining.

Well, thanks for the help everyone! Here it is.

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Old 05-20-19, 08:11 AM
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A couple of my tiles around the outlets aren't completely flush, there may be a 1/32" difference where they are set into the wall deep or jutting out a bit.

Has anyone pulled a single tile off before to fix something like that? I have not grouted it yet so Im not sure if that will make it less noticeable.

Also, I have to finish two more areas of the kitchen and want to avoid this again. It's really difficult getting the wall perfectly flat before tiling. Do I need to just pay more attention to each tile when I lay it down or should I consider putting new drywall up? I did put joint compound down and leveled it but its very difficult to see any inconsistencies especially around tight areas like outlets just above the counter. thx
 
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Old 05-20-19, 08:29 AM
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Those tiles seem to have a rustic, hand-finished look so 1/32 inch will not look bad if even visible. Grouting will help it to disappear. When you have appliances, etc. on the counter the outlets will hardly be visible.

Depending on how long the mastic has had to dry, you might be able to pry a tile near an outlet off and reset with a thicker bed of adhesive, but it might not be worth it. You could damage other tiles around it and the joint line might not be straight.

See Post #8 in this thread: Kitchen Backsplash
 
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Old 05-21-19, 01:57 AM
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pull tile off a few times add more adhesive
Should be using a quality dry mortar, not mastic! Much easier to work with and bet it's recommended by tile manufacturer!
 
 

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