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How to Make Plunge Cuts in Tiles

Being able to make plunge cuts in tiles is an invaluable skill to have in your home-improvement toolbox. A plunge cut is used as the starting point for a hole that is made somewhere in the middle of a piece of wood, tile or any similar object.

You will need to make these holes anytime you tile over an electrical outlet, switch plate, valve, etc. Making a plunge cut is the simplest solution when a perfectly round cut is not necessary. Most plumbing holes will be covered by a fixture base or escutcheon, meaning a plunge cut will suffice. You are more likely to need to make plunge cuts when using larger tiles.

Best tile saws for making plunge cuts

There are multiple types of tile saws on the market today. These include wet saws, dry saws, handheld saws and angle grinders. It is possible to make plunge cuts with any of these, but some are much easier to use than others. The best tile saws for making plunge cuts are those that utilize moveable blades. Fixed blade saws are not designed for this type of cutting, although it is possible with some skill and practice. There are even tile saws on the market today that boast plunge cutting features that make cutting holes a piece of cake.

The technique for plunge cut tiles

The first step is to mark the area where you wish to make your circular cutout on the back side of the tile. We suggest using a crayon or oil-based marker to avoid losing your lines when working with a wet saw.

Next, plunge the blade into the tile in line with your markings. Be sure to keep it centered so that the cut extends equally to both edges of your circular markings. Make regular checks to see when the cut has reached your desired radius.

You then use your first cut to gauge the diameter of a slightly larger second circle. Mark your second circle on the back side of the tile and use this to guide you as you make the rest of your cuts.