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How to Easily Cut Stone Tiles and Veneer With a Wet Saw

Paul has been upgrading his home for the past five years. This labor of love has proved to him that learning is a lifelong journey.

How to Cut Stone Tiles and Stone Veneer With a Wet Saw

When you take on any DIY projects requiring the installation of real stone tiles or stone veneer, you'll need to know how to use a wet saw. Wet saws come in many sizes and also with various motor sizes and blade depth. The wet saw is an important tool to provide the finished look for your stone project, allowing precision cuts to be made to form the exact fit required and look desired. A wet saw makes cutting stone products easy.

Depending on the job requirement, there are several types of wet saws to choose between. Portable handheld wet saws allow you some flexibility as to where you can cut the tiles. The precision is not as good as bench or table type wet saws, but these work well where a rough cut is all that is required. These generally are best suited for stone tiles alone due to the depth of cut limitation.

The bench-type of wet saw is great for those precision cuts and does allow for thicker stone tiles and even many stone veneer facings. I have purchased my own bench-style wet saw as they are relatively inexpensive. Since I had taken on many DIY stone tile and stone veneer projects, the bench wet saw paid for itself in no time. I used this saw for cutting the stone tiles and trims for my stone tile shower surround, slate stone tile floor, and also my stone veneer fireplace surround, all DIY home renovation projects.

If you have large stone tiles up to 30 inches in length or if you are looking at installing stone pavers for your sidewalk, patio, or driveway, you would be wise to look at renting a Bridge wet saw. These wet saws come mounted on a set of rails premounted on a table. With these types of wets saws, you slide the saw to make the cut. The stone tiles or pavers are locked in place and do not move. When I installed my patio stone pavers, I used this type of saw and it cut them effortlessly.

Filling the Water Tray

How to Use a Wet Saw

To use a wet saw, the first thing you need is to set up the wet saw on a stable surface. I always use a Workmate type of portable bench. Make sure the water tray can slide out easily for filling. Ensure you have a long enough extension cord as well.

Fill the water tray up to the line notched within the tray. Do not fill above the line, usually within approx 1/2 inch from the top of the tray.

Measure the stone to be cut. You don't have to place any markings on the stone, simply measure the area where the stone will be placed, and then set the guide arm on the wet saw to the same measurement. There are marked ruler guides on both sides on the saw table. Place the guide firmly in place on the top end to line up with the desired measurement, then lower the bottom end and hold secure as you fasten the locking lever in place.

Lower the blade shield, put on your safety goggles and then power on the wet saw. Place the stone tile or stone veneer onto the surface and line up with the guide. Holding firmly against the guide, slide the stone forward until the wet saw has completed the cut. Move the free-cut stone away from the blade and turn off the wet saw. Once the blade has stopped moving, carefully remove the cut stone piece from between the saw blade and the guide. You can also wipe off the wet stone residue with a sponge or cloth.

Always read and follow all safety measures noted in the manual that came with your wet saw. When all cuts have been completed, always clean off the wet saw. Wipe off all residue and empty the water tray. You will have to check the water tray periodically between cuts as the water level will drop. You may even need to clean the tray out completely and refill with fresh water. This is especially true for projects requiring a lot of stone cuts.

Setting the Guide Arm

Cutting the Stone

Types of Wet Saws Used to Cut Stone Tile and Stone Veneer

4-3/8" Hand-Held Wet Tile Saw: Comes with 10ft water hose, great for stone tiling projects. Allows portability to cut the tiles anywhere. Good for stone tiles.

  • Motor: 11 amps
  • Arbor: 20 mm
  • Bevel Angle range: 0–45 degrees
  • Blade Diameter: 4 3/8 inches
  • 45-degree cut depth: 7/8 inches
  • 90-degree cut depth: 1.5 inches
  • Length: 10.5 inches
  • No-load RPM: 14,000
  • Voltage: 120v AC only
  • Weight: 13 lbs
  • Width: 8.5 inches

7" Wet Tile Saw: Bench style wet saw for precision cuts, can cut thicker stone. Has water reservoir for cooling blade, adjustable Rip Fence and Miter Gauge for accurate cuts. Great for stone tiles and stone veneer.

These saws are very affordable in the $100 to $200 range or can be rented as well. If you have a few projects, it's worth the money to purchase this style of wet saw. This will handle most stone tiles and stone veneer up to 1.5 inches thick. I have used this for cutting stone tiles for my floor and shower surround as well as stone veneer for my fireplace surround.

  • Motor: 4.2 amps
  • Arbor: 5/8 inches
  • Bevel Angle range: 0–45 degrees
  • Bevel Stops 0 and 45 Degrees
  • Blade Diameter: 7 inches
  • 45-degree cut depth: 1 inch
  • 90-degree cut depth: 1 3/8 inches
  • Length: 14 inches
  • No-load RPM: 3,600
  • Voltage: 120v AC only
  • Weight: 18 lbs
  • Width: 13.25 inches

30'' Bridge Tile Saw with Water System: Ideal for cutting large format tile including ceramic, porcelain, granite, stone and marble tile. Rips up to 30'' tile and can diagonally cut up to 22'' tile. This table wet saw is mounted on rails, so you move the saw, not the stone.

This is more of a heavy-duty wet saw and is great at cutting thicker stones such as paving stones for sidewalk and patio areas. I rented one of these wet saws for cutting paving stones for my patio and sidewalk entrance and it made the job so easy, cutting bricks was like cutting butter.

Prices can range from $500 to over $1000 so definitely cheaper to rent unless you install large stone tiles or paving stones for a living.

  • Motor: 10.5 Amps / 1362 Watts
  • RPM: 3260
  • Blade Capacity: 8"
  • Arbor: 5/8"
  • Rip Cut: 30" Tile
  • Diagonal Cut: 22" Tile
  • Depth of Cut: 1-1/2"
  • Size: 46.3" L x 19.8" W x 57.5" H (w / stand)
  • Weight: 121.3 lbs (w / stand)

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Does it matter which side of a stone tile is facing up when cutting?

Answer: I cut all of my tiles face side up, it has always provided great results.


Paul Cronin (author) from Winnipeg on April 16, 2012:

Thanks for commenting garage-remotes. I honestly could not recommend one brand over another. I bought my wet saw from a local Home Depot store and I looked for a wet saw that could cut at least 1 1/4 inches thickness. I also looked for a motor that was a little more powerful so it could withstand a lot of cutting. The wet saw I purchased cost me about $150.00 but has been great and will serve me for many projects to come. I would just suggest to anyone looking at purchasing or renting a wet saw to think about how much cutting they need to do, whether it's a one time effort or one of many projects, and also what kind of stone they will be cutting. I have rented a heavy duty bridge type wet saw for paving stones, well worth the rental fee but not worth purchasing for me.

Rob Reel from Los Angeles, California on April 13, 2012:

Great hub! Can you recommend a good brand for wet saws?

Paul Cronin (author) from Winnipeg on April 13, 2012:

You're most welcome decor-girl. The wet saw makes tile cutting so easy and also great for stone veneer. Makes any job a sinch! Thanks for commenting...

decor-girl from UK on April 13, 2012:

thanks for useful hub, I hired a wet tile cutter recently and it took a little while to figure it out.

Paul Cronin (author) from Winnipeg on April 13, 2012:

Thanks Bob, You get a great sense of pride when you create your own living space. I would always recommend starting with some small projects around the house and working up to bigger ones over time. I really enjoy the look of stone and have taken on a few projects around the home installing stone tile and stone veneer. Wet saws are a must so thought I'd pass the info along. Appreciate your comments as always!

diogenes from UK and Mexico on April 13, 2012:

Just the sort of articles needed in this economy when more and more owners are doing their own work.