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How to Use a Bridge Tile Saw without Chipping

Marble tile chipping when cutting

Using a bridge tile saw offers several advantages over other methods for cutting tile. For one thing, this type of equipment can often accommodate larger tiles than other types of wet tile saws. They also have the potential to be much more accurate—but for a truly accurate cut, you have to avoid chipping. In this post, we share some tips for how to use a bridge tile saw without chipping your tiles.

1. Use a high-quality diamond blade

Depending on whether you are renting or buying your bridge tile saw, and depending on the company that is providing it, the machine may or may not come with a diamond blade. If it does, the blade is usually going to be “general purpose”, which can be fine for some materials but is generally not sufficient for very hard tiles such as porcelain and ceramic. The quality of your cut is directly dependent on the quality and suitability of the diamond blade you use. For this reason, it’s worth it to invest in one of good quality that is

2. Cut in the correct direction

Based on the instruction manual that comes with your wet bridge saw, or any pictures that may be on the box, it isn’t always clear which end of the machine is the starting end or which direction the blade should move in during cutting. Fortunately, a bit of careful observation can clear up both of these questions. First, make sure you have mounted your diamond blade according to the saw manufacturer’s instructions.

If you take a look inside the blade housing (with the bridge saw turned off, obviously), you should be able to see the outlet for the water that is pumped out to cool the blade, which will be on one side of the blade. The side that it’s on is the “front” of the blade; that is, the first part that should come in contact with your tile as you cut. This is your indication of which end of the bridge saw you should start from.

Another way to figure out the proper cutting direction is to look at the markings on the core of the diamond blade. Many blades will have small arrows showing the direction of rotation. The key here is that you want the blade to rotate down into the tile; if it rotates up as it contacts the tile, you’re more likely to chip the tile, and any bits of tile and mud will be slung upwards into your face.

3. Start with a bit of masking tape

To prevent chipping at the beginning of your cut. it can be helpful to place a piece of masking tape on the edge. Just a short piece laid along the edge, perpendicular to your cut, can make a difference. If chipping is still a problem for you along the length of your cutting line, you can try putting a longer piece of masking tape right on top of your line, all the way across the tile.

4. Slow down near the end

While cutting with your bridge tile saw, you shouldn’t put any excess pressure on it to make it cut faster than it wants to. This is even more important when you reach the last inch or two of the cut if you want to avoid chipping the end. Slow down and take those last couple inches nice and easy. If you are still getting chipped tile near the end of the cut, another trick you can try is putting one hand on each side of the tile and pushing in slightly towards the blade.

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