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How to cut porcelain slabs

When it comes to paving, porcelain slabs are increasingly popular with homeowners who love their contemporary look and durability. However, porcelain slab cutting isn’t top of a list of favourite tasks for those with the job of laying them. This is because they have the reputation of being more difficult to install than alternatives like sandstone and granite.
How to cut porcelain slabs

When it comes to paving, porcelain slabs are increasingly popular with homeowners who love their contemporary look and durability.

However, porcelain slab cutting isn’t top of a list of favourite tasks for those with the job of laying them. This is because they have the reputation of being more difficult to install than alternatives like sandstone and granite.

Admittedly, porcelain slab cutting is something of a speciality because it requires knowledge and technique, but that’s not to say it’s impossible for an amateur.

Of course, the rewards when you’ve finished your porcelain slab project are stunning in terms of aesthetics.

How to cut porcelain slabs

One of the first things you need for porcelain slab cutting are the right tools. Without these, you simply won’t be able to lay them properly and in a worst-case scenario will risk damaging the tiles.

You’ll require the same tools you’d use if you were doing any kind of paving project, including a cement mixer, a spirit level, and personal protection equipment.

However, there are other things you’ll need for porcelain slab cutting.

Porcelain slabs are renowned for being long-lasting. They are fired at intensely high heat and that makes them extremely strong. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t be chipped or broken during the cutting process.

What you definitely need to know before embarking on your landscaping scheme is how to cut porcelain slabs without chipping. If you don’t understand this, you are going to be wasting a lot of effort, time, and slabs.

Expert installers agree that the only effective way to cut porcelain tiles is by using a diamond blade. If you attempt to cut with hand tools or basic abrasive blades, even if they are touted as appropriate for the job, you are probably going to run into trouble.

An excellent tool to cut porcelain slabs is a 4.5-inch grinder with a diamond tip segmented blade. Once you've marked the slab, you can start by scoring the line.

Because this is an electric tool, you won’t want to put it in close contact with water to damp down the dust. Therefore, another essential piece of equipment is a dust mask.

Marking a slab

You need to mark a slab before you cut it.

If it is a straight cut, then measure the space it will be slotted into beforehand before drawing lines on your tile using the same measurements.

If you want to cut a curve, then trace around the object first.

One of the problems with porcelain slabs is they can chip easily when they are being cut, and that’s why knowledge of how to cut porcelain slabs without chipping is all important.

One thing you need to do before you start is to prepare the cut. The way to do this is score the tile, making a shallow indent that you can follow when you make the full cut, which will help to minimise the risk of chipping.

Then, you need to cut into each end of the line. This will reduce the chance of the porcelain slab cracking when you eventually cut through it.

Once you have prepared the paver, you’ll be all set to make the full cut.

Cutting a curve

Cutting straight lines is, well, straightforward! But curves can be more of a challenge.

There are two basic types: internal and external. Internal ones are concave, while external curves protrude outwards from the slab. Both need to be cut differently. The external arc is cut as a series of straight lines, each at a slightly off kilter angle, while internal arcs are cut in short straight lines.

Remember that you'll need a wet saw with an adjustable blade to cut porcelain slabs, but you can still reduce the likelihood of any chips by using a standard-depth saw.

Cutting porcelain slabs isn’t the easiest thing for a non-professional to do, so don’t expect to be able to do the job straight off. Ensuring that you do a great job relies on preparation, practice and honing your skills as well as using the right equipment.

Once you have cut your porcelain slabs, they will be ready for laying. Don’t forget, that unlike other kinds of paving slabs, porcelain tiles require a layer of priming slurry to enable them to bond to the mortar.

While the treatment of porcelain paving is not as straightforward as for other kinds of paving, don’t be put off. Once down, porcelain paving will pay you back with its beauty and durability.

At Forward Builders’ Supplies, you can check out a wide range of stunning porcelain products that are perfect for your landscaping project.

Browse our range here.

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