Sounds Tough but it’s not
There are a few simple things that need to be done if you want to cut an outlet hole in a tile. I will break this down step by step for you and when you are done reading through this, you will be ready to tackle it on your own!
Really one the keys to being successful at this will be, you need to take your time. Whenever I try to rush cutting an outlet, my tile either breaks or I cut too big! So, if you can take your time you will soon be a pro!
Tools needed to cut an Outlet Hole in Tile
There are actually two different tools that can be used to cut an outlet hole in a tile, a tile saw and an angle grinder with a diamond cutting wheel. I use both all the time. The big difference between the two is the tile saw(wet saw) doesn’t through dust into the air, but the angle grinder on other the hand will create some serious dust(so use it outside).
I do really like the convenience of the angle grinder. It’s quick, easy to use and involves almost no set up time. The tile saw is big and bulky and isn’t always convenient to set up. Plus, you might not have a tile saw.
You can get yourself an angle grinder for $20 to $30 and get a diamond blade for about the same. It really depends on the quality you are looking for. Here is the that I use and have always recommended –DeWalt Tile Blade
Here are a couple of angle grinders, one of which is what I use an highly recommend-
DeWalt Angle Grinder– this grinder is great and I recommend it.
Black and Decker Angle Grinder – This is a less expensive grinder and it’s just an example of how cheap they can be.
Steps to Cutting an Outlet Hole in a Tile
Now that you know the tools needed for this let’s get started and go through the steps of cutting an outlet hole in a tile.
Step 1 – Marking the Tile
The easiest way to mark the tile is having a grid on the wall that you can follow. This will give you accurate measurements and is really just the easiest way to install tile. I use a grid for everything when I’m installing tile, whether it’s on a floor or a wall. If you want to learn how to create and use a grid for tile layout click here.
Before marking the tile you need to remove the screws from the outlet. (You should be sure that you shut off the power to this outlet first!) You will need to buy longer screws from the hardware store because these probably won’t fit after the tile is installed.
Now pull the outlet slightly out of the box. You can disconnect the wires if you want, but if the power is off you can leave them attached.
When you are marking the tile, you need to be sure that the tile does not cover the screw holes for the outlet. I always mark my tile to clear the screw hole about an 1/8 of an inch. Then mark the tile where the outlet box ends.
I then use a speed square to mark the outlet on the front of the tile and then I extend the marks to the edge of the tile. Once you mark the edge, than extend that mark to the back of the tile. Once you do this you can then draw the outlet on the back side of the tile to mirror it from the front.
You will need to cut the front of the tile and on the back of the tile.
Step 2 – Cutting the Tile
Cutting the tile is pretty easy from here. You will start by cutting the longer vertical lines on the front of the tile. Then you can cut the shorter horizontal lines. The shorter lines will be the toughest to cut. You are not going to be able to cut all the way through the tile on the front side. You are just going to score it with the tile saw or the angle grinder.
Now flip the tile over and finish cutting the outlet by following the lines. You will need to cut past the lines about a ½ inch. This is because the blade is circular and it’s also why we are cutting from the back side. GO SLOW!! There is no need to rush.
Before installing the tile, fill in the cuts that extended past the lines with thin set. This will give the tile strength in those areas.
Here is a video that will show you everything that I just explained.
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