Cutting & Drilling Dense Tiles
Some italian porcelain/virtrified tiles are extremely dense. Density provides strength and durability, however, it can make these particular tiles harder to cut or drill without breaking. The following information aims to provide suggestions and/or possible solutions for tradespeople installing these types of products to obtain best and most efficient results.
Various brands, sizes, options exist in both wet saw and manual cutters. whether you are using a manual cutter or a diamond blade fitted on a hand held or wet saw, it is important that the scoring wheel is sharp and the diamond blade is in good condition and intended for use on porcelain/vitrified tiles.
Cut outs such as power points, light switches, etc. Can be difficult if the cut is close to an edge. It is suggested, that cutting a "stress release" line will reduce the risk of breaks occuring. Making additional cuts in the waste area is preferred (fig a.) as this will have no visual bearing on the tile once the cuts are complete, however a lead in cut might required. (fig b.)
It is very important that the tile is fully supported so no uneven pressure is applied to an edge of the tile. Using a diamond blade on an angle grinder is convenient, however, "freehand" cutting is the least desired method for accuracy and consistency and allows the user to "wedge" the blade while cutting that can result in a break at the weakest point of the tile.
Bathroom fittings often require a 6mm (or similar) size, while you may also need a 36mm (or similar) hole for the tap fitting etc. (fig c.). Diamond core drills are the best solution for this. Not all diamond core drills the same quality and if you are going to be drilling holes in more than one job, it is worth investing in better diamond core drills, as they will save you time and money in the long run. It is very important to allow the diamond to grind and not to force or overheat the tile and/or core drill. Expect to take a few minutes to drill each hole. Although dry cutting diamond drills are becoming popular and effective because of convenience, drilling with coolant (water) is a more economical and efficient option.