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Knowing how to cut granite is a skill that can help you install floor or wall tile, as well as fabricate granite countertops and related accessories like backsplashes. Cutting granite can be done safely and with precision by wet-cutting and by using the correct tools.
Before You Begin
Depending on the type of granite cut that you need to make—short tile cuts, long countertop cuts, or inside sink cutouts—you may need to use one or a combination of three tools: wet tile saw, wet circular saw, or angle grinder.
Cool, nearly dust-free granite cutting is achieved by applying water to the cutting area and to the blade. While dry-cutting is sometimes necessary, wet-cutting is preferable whenever possible.
Use a continuous-rim diamond blade for wet-cutting. Never use a blade with teeth for cutting granite and other stone. Some diamond blades that appear to have teeth are actually called segmented blades. These blades should be used for dry-cutting. The segments keep the blade cooler and help move waste material away from the cutting area.
Tools for Cutting Granite
Wet Tile Saw
A wet tile saw is usually best for making short, straight granite cuts of up to 24 inches and 2-1/4 inches deep or thinner. Granite tile for flooring or walls usually falls within these dimensions.
Mounted on a table or a stand, a wet tile saw provides a stable surface for making straight cuts with no dust. A wet tile saw continually sprays water on the cutting area to control dust and cool the material.
If purchasing or renting a wet tile saw, be sure to verify that the saw's rip length and depth ratings are sufficient for the size of granite you're cutting.
Wet Circular Saw
A handheld wet circular saw is the best tool to use for granite cuts of up to 10 feet long. Granite countertops, backsplashes, and front edges or aprons typically are 5 to 10 feet long.
A handheld wet circular saw feeds water onto the cutting surface from a bottle mounted on the tool.
Angle Grinder and Drum Wheel
An angle grinder fitted with a diamond blade can be used to dry-cut sink cutouts or to make other short cuts in granite.
An angle grinder with a 4-1/2-inch blade can comfortably cut 1-3/4-inch-thick granite. Use a drum wheel sanding attachment on the grinder to smooth the inside sink radiuses.
Double-insulated electric power tools intended for wet/dry use come with an extensive safety section in the instructions. Read this carefully. Among other instructions, a drip loop must be created with the electrical cord to prevent water from running into the electrical outlet.
Wet-cutting granite does not suppress all dust. Always wear breathing, hearing, and eye protection when cutting granite.
If using a conventional table saw, circular saw, or angle grinder, do not apply water to the saw, saw blade, work material, or anywhere else in the vicinity.
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