HOW TO CHOOSE DIAMOND BLADES FOR PROPER CUTTING OF PORCELAIN COUNTERTOPS PT 1

If you begin looking for a diamond blade to cut porcelain tiles you will quickly discover that there are many options. Some blades designed for use on tile saws are labeled as 'ceramic blades', others are called 'porcelain tile blades', and others are designated as 'tile blades'. This can make choosing the right blades for cutting ceramic surfaces, porcelain tiles, or other sintered materials a challenge. Why is that the case?

Porcelain Ceramic Blade Styles

One reason selecting which blade to use can be tricky is that there are several design elements present on each blade. For example, there are continuous-rim porcelain blades, turbo blades for cutting ceramic materials, and even ultra-thin porcelain blades. Additionally, each blade has specific characteristics that distinguish it from its peers. But Why some many different blade styles? The answer comes down to determining what kind of performance measures are important to the one using the blade.

Measuring Blade Performance

The performance of Each professional is measured a bit differently from others. For example, one installer may focus more on productivity by keeping a close eye on the speed at which a blade cuts. Another might want a blade that lasts a long time because he or she feels that it is the best option for the budget. Still another professional may want a blade that produces a cut with the least amount of chips.

The visible differences in porcelain diamond blades are elements that address some of these concerns and others as well. Why are porcelain blades visually different from other blades that cut hard materials?

Ceramic Porcelain Continuous Rim Blades

One of the issues that come up when working with porcelain or ceramic material is that the material is so hard that it can be easily chipped during the cutting and shaping process. Another factor that can affect the process of working with these materials is the heat that can be generated by the friction of the blade cutting the material.

One way blade designers overcome the potential chipping issues is by engineering diamond blades that have a continuous rim. Since the gaps between the segments are very, very small (if the blade has any gaps at all), the blade is in virtually constant contact with the porcelain. This means that once the cut is started, the only area of the porcelain that is being removed is inside the cut itself.

Blades that have segments with gaps tend to knock material off the sheet that is being cut. On the other hand, a blade with a continuous rim or extremely small gaps between the segments, will remove the material through friction and not so much by hitting the edge and ripping the material away. This type of action (the frictional style cutting) means there is less of a risk of chipping the edges of the cut.

The importance of having adequate equipment to cut dekton and porcelain

Dekton, among other alternative stone materials, continues to grow in popularity for applications such as countertops, flooring, and both interior and exterior wall cladding. Being a hard dense product, it is crucial to use appropriate tooling during the fabrication process. Carlos Sustaita, production director for STA Granite, provides several important tips of advice for those working with compact sintered stone.

Why do products such as Dekton need special/different tools than those that are used for cutting granite and marble?

Material hardness is the key to understanding why you need different tools to fabricate Dekton. The material has a
very high density (ultra-compact), which means that if you don’t use proper tools, you can either break the tool or the material or even worse, damage the machinery.

The cutting process requires trimming the edges to release tensions. Then you have to follow cutting recommendations, which include using plenty of water, the proper speed, feed rate, etc. Once you follow the rules, it’s a piece of cake.
When doing edging on Dekton, What is the difference in the process compared to a natural stone?

In this sense, Dekton’s edge is very easy to work with since the material is very homogeneous, and it is easy to get very good results. Any fabricator can do it well on the first attempt.

What are some common mistakes that fabricators are making when it comes to cutting this material? And, what are some common mistakes with doing edging or doing sinkholes or something?

The main mistake is trying to fabricate Dekton as if it was a granite or quartz composite. You will fail if you use the same tools, speed rates, and so on. Another common mistake is trying to cut Dekton in uneven support. It is a common source of problems too.

Sometimes people ask about what machine is best to cut Dekton. I believe the key is not the machine but the tools and proper maintenance. I have seen people with very modest equipment doing amazing things and the other way around.

7 Keys for Cutting Ultra-Compact and Sintered Dekton and Porcelain Materials

1. Water

It may seem too simple or too intuitive to matter, but less than adequate water AND hoses positioned incorrectly is the most common error causing headaches among cutting these materials.
2. Check your table level

One of the more overlooked aspects of successful cutting is, to the degree that your table is not level in the horizontal plane, vibrations will occur. This unevenness can result in chipping and likely breaking the edge of your slab.
3. Buy the right blade

As cliche, as it may sound, choosing the right blade for the material you are processing, is critical.
4. Removing tensioning strips

While each manufacturer of ultra-compact and sintered porcelain materials may, or may not have tensioning strips built into the perimeters of each slab, if they are not removed before cutting, the slab is at higher risk of cracking or breaking.
5. Feed rate and RPMs

Using the same feed rate and RPMs you may be accustomed to when cutting other materials can be a recipe for trouble. Unlike fabricating more common materials such as marble and granite, we’ve seen the most success cutting ultra-compact and sintered porcelain materials when following a systemized approach is used.
6. Avoiding Plunging

While plunge cutting tends to be of little concern for most sawyers when cutting ultra-compact and sintered porcelain materials it can pose big problems resulting in cracking or breaking your slab.
7. Cutting Sinks

Projects requiring a sink cut-out can be an obstacle many fabricators dread. Since we already know plunging is not the ideal way to go about this, what are your options? When preparing a sink cut-out, it is advised to drill each of the four corners with a 1/2” core bit before to start initiating cutting.
HOW TO CHOOSE DIAMOND BLADES FOR PROPER CUTTING OF PORCELAIN COUNTERTOPS PT 1

HOW TO CHOOSE DIAMOND BLADES FOR PROPER CUTTING OF PORCELAIN COUNTERTOPS PT 1

If you begin looking for a diamond blade to cut porcelain tiles you will quickly discover that there are many Read More
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