What is a Wet Saw Used For?

Updated 03/9/2023

Unfamiliar with a wet saw and what it’s used for? Allow me to explain.

A wet saw is an advanced cutting system equipped with a trough filled with water, which then sprays onto the material being cut to prevent overheating of both the tile and the tool itself.

This effective mechanism enables precision cuts while keeping all components safe from damage caused by elevated temperatures.

These machines are undeniably expensive- although, for $50 a day, you can find one that you can rent. 

When you use a wet saw, always ensure you are wearing safety glasses. That way, you can keep stray fragments from hitting your eyes and potentially damaging your vision. 

The first thing that you have to do is put water in the trough until the level of the water is well above the pump.

After this, position the tile in such a way that the area to be cut is at the center slot. You can then go ahead and push the tile against the saw blade.

Wet saws may be equipped with a number of attachments that will allow it to make bevel and angulated cuts. To perform a bevel cut, use a bevel guide. Place it on the tile and let it stay there as the saw blade cuts through. 

For the angle cuts, grab an angle guide, place it on the tray, and cut as you will, making sure that the tile and the angle guide are aligned to one another. Curves can also be made using wet saws. 

Pipe openings, for instance, may be made in this manner. This is quite a risky procedure for one who is performing the cutting, as the hands will be in close proximity with the saw blade. 

Because of the high hazard and technical demand, only people who are skilled with the wet saw can perform this.

The wet saw is made mainly to cut through ceramic. The edge that it leaves on the cut ceramic is usually clean. 

There is a need, however, to trim the tiles when installed in the room since they will not perfectly fit the uneven edges of the room in most cases. 

For this purpose, a table-mounted portable wet saw will come in handy. This portable wet saw has a circular blade, as well as a water pump, and a hose for constant wetting to prevent overheating.

DEWALT Wet Tile Saw with Stand, 10 Inch, 15-Amp, 1,220 MWO, Corded (D36000S)
  • Cutline indicator, rigid frame, and stainless-steel rollers provide cutting accuracy to within 1/32 in. over 30 in. cuts
  • 37 in. rip cut capacity (41 in. with plunge) and 18 in. cutting clearnace left of blade allows users to rip 36 in. x 36 in. tile in half
  • 8-1/2 in. crosscut capacity is ideal for cutting 6 in. sills and 8 in. x 48 in. planks at a 30% offset
  • 91 lbs. for portablility to and from the jobsite
  • 28-7/8 in. width from column to cart edge fits through standard 30 in. door frames

A special saw, however, is required for ceramic tiles, which tend to be brittle and thick. Ceramic will crumble when ordinary blades used for cutting metal and wood are used. 

Aside from this, overheating with be inevitable, and the blade will likely break. The wet saw is actually designed to overcome these unusual qualities of ceramic since the blade that it uses is duller, is not prone to overheat, and can be easily transported from one site to another.

A wet saw possesses a special kind of blade. This saw blade is wide, and dulled a bit, and not serrated. It does not use metal to cut- instead, it utilizes sharp sand or diamond crystals. 

A hose is attached to the circular blade which spews out water continuously onto the blade and the tile that is being cut. This very hose is attached to a pump that is made to rest in a big water vessel like a large bucket

The water pump gives off a cooling jet every time the machine is made to run. The waste material produced, whether ceramic dust or excess water, is collected into a tub. 

To use the wet saw, you must first determine the measurements that are called for when fashioning the tile. Most of the time, cuts are made when the tiles are to be applied around corners, or by the electrical outlet. 

Now that you’ve got the measurements make some marks on the tile with the use of a grease pencil. Under normal circumstances, a wet saw can cut through 12 inch or 30 cm thick ceramic tiles. 

For thicker ceramic tiles, you can use a larger saw. Before you cut, make sure that you have your safety glasses on. 

Proceed to align the tile onto the tray with the marks falling along the orientation of the saw blade. Let the machine run. 

Push the platform towards the direction of the blade as it runs. No extra pressure is needed to do this. 

See to it that water is continuously flowing throughout the entire cutting process.

How a Wet Tile Saw Operates

Unlike the saw blades that are used to cut wood, the make of the blade used to cut ceramic is not that of metal. It is, instead, a carbide blade equipped with diamond cutting edges.

An angle grinder may probably be a more appropriate machine to compare with the wet saw. Like the wet saw, an angle grinder posses a carbide circular blade that it thicker than usual. 

The blade cuts more by the mechanism of grinding than by cutting, which is the opposite case with the sharp blade.

When used this way, the toothed sharp metal blades will not create that much dent onto the tile. 

Worse, they will break easily. The grinding mechanism does a good job of cutting through tiles. 

To prevent overheating of the blade and the tile, water should constantly stream. This also helps reduce the particles that fly around during the cutting process.

The Disadvantage of a Snap Tile Cutter

Using a snap tile cutter, or a rail cutter, you can be able to fashion big 12” tiles. The problem, however, is that this machine tends to be unpredictable, as it sometimes breaks tiles off in fragments. 

The wet saw is still the most ideal machine for the job.

2 Reasons for the “Wet” Part of Wet Tile Saw

  1. The Cooling Effect – The constantly poured water keeps the tile from getting too hot and eventually breaking off. The water here also acts as a lubricant.
  2. Keeping Particles at Bay – Water prevents minute particles from flying off the tile that is being cut.

Types of Wet Tile Saws

  • Recirculating Pump – With this type of wet saw, water is being recycled, that is, water that is streamed is recirculated, eliminating the need for a faucet.
  • Fresh Water Source – In contrast, these saws derive water from a source, such as a faucet.The other name for these types of saws are “pumpless”. The apparent disadvantage of the so-called “pumpless” wet saws is that you always need to have a water source nearby.

Should you Buy a Wet Tile Saw or Not?

Wet saws are obviously more expensive than table saws and circular saws. There is actually no immediate need to buy a wet saw if you only intend to apply tiles in a single room.

The solution to this problem is to rent a wet saw, as it will prove cheaper than buying one in the long run.

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