The porcelain tiles, used especially in floors, have gained great importance and popularity in recent years. They owe their name precisely to the fact that they derive from the porcelain, a material used since ancient times, and present a notable evolution in the properties of glazed ceramics, since once the porcelain products They are molded and dried undergo a high temperature treatment.
Therefore, one of the main characteristics that differentiate a porcelain of a ceramic is its higher hardness, density, impermeability, durability Y ease of cleaning, which make it ideal for use on floors with intense traffic, such as those in shopping centers, public buildings, hotels, clinics, industrial premises and airports, for example.
Placing a porcelain tile it does not require great skills or the use of sophisticated materials. However, when carrying out cuts or perforations in a porcelain plate We must know that there is a wide variety of tools and machines that we can use depending on our needs and the size and frequency of the cut to be made. In general, these elements are the same as those normally used to cut ceramic tiles, although it must be taken into account that, as we have already pointed out, the porcelain It is a very hard material and, depending on the element used, it may require more demands.
For this reason, in this article we are going to provide guidance on what we can use to cutting and drilling porcelain tiles.
Porcelain tile cutting with hand tools
When it comes to very small cuts to be made only once or very infrequently, many find the hand tools shown in the figure more than satisfactory, mainly because they are easy to use and very economical.
The procedure to follow with these tools is very simple. With the help of a ruler or squad metallic, first we mark the porcelain plate with a carbide-tipped pencil. If when hitting the plate with the pencil it does not break along the marked line, then we use a ceramic cutting pliers and we separate the cut portion.
They can also be used carbide roller pliers to cut ceramics that fulfill both functions, that is, they mark and cut the plate.
Porcelain tile cutting with Manual Machines
If we must make straight cuts, both orthogonal (90º) and diagonal (45º), we will also use a carbide-tipped wheel, but this time mounted on a cutting machine simple that does not require electricity. Again, the wheel is the one that marks the plate (a single, light and decisive pass is usually sufficient) and the cutting of this is produced by means of a mechanical lever movement. The force that this lever must exert on the separator to break the porcelain it is about 600 kg. For this reason, some manufacturers offer cutting machines designed exclusively for porcelain that guarantee sufficient strength.
The manual cutting machines They are generally marketed in different models including standard, semi-professional, and professional, as well as in various sizes that cover those of the license plates. porcelain and other ceramics. In the following video we see examples of these machines and the cuts that can be made with them.
Porcelain tile cutting with Electric Machines
1) Cutting with an angle grinder
If we want to make cuts of various types, an angle grinder with the appropriate abrasive disc can be extremely useful, since it will help us to make both straight and circular cuts (for example, to place a plate around a toilet flange), cuts in “L” or square cuts (for example, around electrical outlets, grates, drains, etc.). Due to the hardness of the material, cutting disks They must be diamond and within these, those of continuous band or turbo.
The following video shows us the many cutting possibilities of porcelain with an angle grinder.
2) Wet cutting
So far, all the cutting methods we have seen are dry. However, to achieve professional cuts, of optimum quality, without formation of dust and to prolong the useful life of the cutting tool, it is always advisable to work with machines equipped with cooling systems. immersion in water.
to) Cutter saws
For this purpose, the ceramic cutting saws that we already reviewed in a previous article are also suitable for cutting porcelain, as long as we use cutting discs suitable for this material, that is, diamond blades with continuous or turbo band and, preferably, designed for wet cutting. Some manufacturers offer dedicated cut-off wheels for porcelain.
Basically, these saws can make all the cuts that an angle grinder would, including the ability to make bevel cuts; however, they have a number of advantages, including cleaner cuts without chipping or breaking plates, easier chip removal, and no emission of dust.
Various types of wet cutters, of variable size and cost, where everyone can choose the most appropriate one according to their budget and the work to be done. The following video shows us one of these machines in operation for cutting porcelain.
b) Water cutting technology
Lastly, in the large-scale production and industrial environment that demands precision cutting in porcelain The use of water cutting machines may be applicable. However, due to the high cost of these machines, it is clear that it will not be an option if what we want is to simply install or renovate the floor of our business or home.
When installing a siding of porcelain, especially in bathroom walls or floors, it is very possible that we find ourselves in the need to carry out perforations on the plate, either due to the presence of pipes, taps or drains, in which case we must use cup saws.
To drill holes between 6 and 12 mm you can use conventional drills and a carbide tipped cup sawas long as care is taken to keep the saw as cool as possible to avoid burning.
For larger holes it is advisable to follow either of these two techniques:
a) Use the diamond cup saws in pneumatic drills.
b) Mount diamond cup saws on grinders or cordless drills without striker and cool with water. It is convenient to use centering brackets for proper tool holding. For example, the Rubi firm markets these supports under the name Foragrés Guide. This type of support not only ensures the correct supply of water, but also allows a drilling of great precision, stability and functionality.
In this video we see an example of how to drill holes in plates of porcelain through the use of a Foreigner Guide.