How to Make Angle Cuts with an Angle Grinder When Working with Floor Tiles


Using a hand-held angle grinder to cut floor tiles is another efficient way to use a power instrument. Typically, a cutting or grinding disc is fastened to the end of a strong motor coupled to a 90-degree-angled gearbox. They can accommodate blades or discs with diameters ranging from 4 to 9 inches and are available in a wide range of conventional sizes. Still, a 4-1/2″ or 5″ model is ideal for cutting tiles because of its portability and ease of usage.

While they are significantly more hazardous to operate and more difficult to control when cutting tiles, wet tile saws can be less expensive to purchase and more manageable to use in the field. They are low maintenance because water isn’t needed, but cutting masonry produces a lot of dust, so it’s advisable to do it somewhere with good ventilation or, even better, outside.

Wearing protective gear is essential. Since the cutting disc spins much faster than the blade of a wet tile saw, flying debris from the latter is far more likely, making goggles a necessity. They also make a lot more noise; therefore, ear muffs or ear plugs are recommended, and a respirator or dust mask is necessary due to the dust emissions. Even though this dust comprises relatively large particles, any fabric placed over the mouth and nose will efficiently filter out the dangerous particles. Wearing your “Sunday best” while using also is a bad idea because of the high probability that you will start to look like “Casper the friendly ghost” after a while.

The angle grinder can be used for various tasks depending on which of four typical discs you attach to it. An abrasive grinding disc is used for grinding, while an abrasive steel-cutting disc is used for cutting when working with metals. You should never utilize metals like your tile transitions or subfloor mesh, even though they are cheap, disposable, and shrink in size with usage.

However, there are again two disc options to pick from when cutting floor tiles. The abrasive stone-cutting disc has the same properties as the steel-cutting disc, and it may also be used for steel cutting since it is made to overcome the difficulty of cutting a re-bar that has been unwittingly implanted in concrete. These abrasive discs have two drawbacks: first, you have to replace them more frequently because their diameters wear down through use; and second, the depth of cut decreases as the diameter decreases.

The diamond cutting disc is the most efficient tool for overcoming these challenges while chopping through stone and tile flooring. Although these cost more than abrasive discs, they last significantly longer. They are ideal for cutting through masonry, even when implanted with a steel-reinforced bar. They are essentially flat discs of solid steel structure with man-made diamond particles encrusted within the outside diameter. However, they should never be used to cut steel without any other material being present, as this is unsafe and will wear out the disc quickly. However, these discs have an added benefit over abrasive carborundum disposable discs, which may be used on wet tiles and stone.

After selecting a disc, the next step is to mount it on the angle grinder. A single center locking nut is tightened using the two-pin angle grinder wrench often provided with the instrument.

The wrench tightens a thick washer-type locking nut counterclockwise onto the disc, resting atop a thick collared washer centered on the output shaft. Carefully pull it without making it too difficult to remove later by pressing a locking button linked to the gearbox, which keeps the post from rotating when tightening. The disc spins in the same direction as the threads on the locking nut, so the nut is effectively tightened.

When mounting a disc, it is essential to do it securely to prevent it from moving around. This might happen if the locking nut is mounted in the wrong direction or if the disc is not correctly fitted to the grinder (with the center hole resting on the collared washer). It can be screwed on either way and has a raised shoulder on one side that should be facing out when attaching cutting discs but inwards with thicker grinding discs, so make sure you have it set up correctly before turning on the power to start cutting.

Finally, always disconnect the power source before you change the blades on your angle grinder. Never leave the tool connected to the socket when changing discs; doing so could result in significant injury to your hands or even a wrench being hurled at high speed and hitting you in the face.

One easy way to prevent this from happening again is to use a plastic cable tie or something similar to fasten the angle grinder wrench to the end of the power tool cord, close to the plug. In that case, you’ll discover that the plug must be removed from the socket before the wrench may be used. The minor precautions taken can prevent the most significant hassles, and this maintenance rule should be followed with EVERY electrical item.

Matt has a kid who is two and a half years old and another child on the way. Over several years, his “spare time” allowed him to restore a 1960s house for him and his wife to reside in. His two seemingly unrelated passions, floor tiling, and extreme activities have combined to make him a more confident and fearless problem solver.

Matt spent nearly three years refining his “A Unique Step-by-Step Guide: Making Floor Tiling Easier” book. He intended for it to be user-friendly for readers of all skill levels.

Visit to order a copy of the book, or enter to win a free DVD on floor tiling. To learn more about the exclusive offer he is making, select the FREE DVD.

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