How to Cut Porcelain Pavers? A Simple Guide
The advantages of porcelain pavers are not a secret anymore. Recent technologies have permitted the creation of thicker slabs of porcelain, perfect for paver applications. So how to work with porcelain pavers and cut them to make the best possible installation?
For years, porcelain was considered to be too delicate of a material to be an efficient paver. The longevity and resistance of porcelain is known across the globe for thousands of years. Many cultures have used it both in delicate instruments and big structures.
One of the main characteristics of porcelain is its high resistance, which is exactly what you want for a paver. However, for a paver to be effective, it also needs to be thick enough.
The standard thickness of porcelain stands between 8 mm – 10 mm, with pavers designed for exterior use reaching as much as 20 mm.
That thickness, combined with the resistance and delicacy of porcelain, can be hard to deal with when working with regular paver cutting techniques. So let’s present you the options you have when cutting porcelain pavers.
How to Cut Porcelain Pavers?: The Vitrification Problem
One of the things that make porcelain so aesthetically appealing is its pristine finish. This finish is acquired during the making of porcelain, which, when cooked to high temperatures, undergoes a process called vitrification.
Vitrification is essentially the transformation of all the minerals used during the making of porcelain into a form of glass. That is what makes the porcelain a perfect combination of resistance and smooth finish.
However, that’s precisely why porcelain is so hard to cut. When working with porcelain, the only way to get the best possible cut is to use a high-quality diamond blade. Porcelain is a very dense material, and a cheap blade simply won’t do.
Also, it is highly recommended that you use an electric cutter, and one of the best alternatives for cutting porcelain is a bench saw. A bench saw will make sure your porcelain is secured into place and avoid any accidents or waste of material.
A Guide to Cut Porcelain Pavers
1º – Choosing the Right Equipment
First, focus on getting a good diamond blade that allows for a wet cut. Wet cut is the recommended technique for cutting porcelain pavers, as it allows for more precise cuts and avoids sawdust.
With your choice of blade, get your electrical cutter of choice. We highly recommend the use of a bench saw, and a circular saw if you need
2º – Safety Measures
Make sure to wear proper working gloves, a mask, and safety goggles. Even during wet cutting, dust and chips of porcelain can fly away, so it is best to be as safe as possible.
3º – Mark Twice, Cut Once
Correct measurement and marking of your paver will be your best friend during cutting. Mark the paver using a masonry pencil, check, and check again.
4º – Cutting the Pavers
The most important piece of advice we can give you when cutting pavers: be patient. Take your time, don’t rush it. Porcelain is hard and brittle, take it easy and use the cooling properties of the wet cut to your favor.
Don’t cut too deeply too quickly. Respect the resistance that the porcelain will offer and slowly cut your way through it.
In case you’re working on a circular cut, follow the same principles and keep the paver as secured into place as possible.
5º – Sanding (Optional)
If you want to give an even more professional look to your paver after cutting it, you can use a polishing pad to sand down the edges of the paver. That removes any sign of unevenness and gives the pavers a truly professional-quality finish.
As you could see, cutting porcelain pavers is not as easy as it would be with more traditional materials.
Porcelain is really hard, but also delicate and prone to break if you don’t handle it properly. The use of a diamond blade is a must, as well as an electrical cutter, which is more controllable and less explosive compared to diesel-fueled options.
It is a job that requires patience, a steady hand, and preferably some previous experience. So, if you’re not sure that you can handle it, maybe it is best to call for professional help. A professional installation is the best way to ensure you’ll use your resources optimally.
The right supplier can also help you with the right choice of porcelain paver, given you have your project designed already. Maybe you won’t even need to do any cuts if you pick the right size, for example.
If you’re around the Sarasota and Manatee Counties, in FL, we here at Eagle Pavers can help you with that and every other paver supply need you may have.