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How to Edge & Polish Porcelain Tile

Sarabeth Asaff

Porcelain tiles are a popular material for all areas of the home. Porcelain is durable, with color that goes through the tile, rather than having a glaze on top.

Since the tile's color penetrates its body, it is possible to put a bullnose edge on a porcelain tile and, in the cases of some, smooth porcelain tiles out, polishing both the edge and body of the tile for a neat, elegant look.

  1. Cut the tile to the desired size for installation on the tile saw using the standard blade. Mark the tile and push it steadily through the saw to cut the tile through. Change the blade on the tile saw once the tiles have been cut to a bullnose blade by using a wrench to unscrew the old blade and tighten on the new one. The bullnose blade will remove the bulk of the edge on the porcelain tile and prepare it for polishing.

  2. Line up the tile's edge with the curved section of the bullnose blade on the tile saw. The tile should fit snugly up against the side of the blade so that the blade's curve will remove the edge of the tile; do not line the tile up as if it will be cut by the blade.

  3. Push the tile along the tile saw's table into the blade at a steady speed, and pull it back toward you again at the same speed until the tile has moved through the blade from one end to the next. You may need to do this several times to remove the entirety of the edge and get a rounded edge on the tile.

  4. It is recommended that you practice on a scrap piece of tile first, to determine how many times the tile should be pushed into the blade. Each tile will vary in density, so some tiles will need to be pushed into the blade more than others.

  5. Screw a polishing pad onto the angle grinder by using the wrench to loosen the bolt at the top, place the pad on the grinder and tighten down the bolt again. Test out various speeds of the grinder on a scrap piece of tile to find the speed which will best polish the edge of the tile, and if required, the body of the tile as well.

  6. Run the angle grinder over the edge and body of the tile continuously. Move the angle grinder both back and forth along the edge and up and over the edge into the body of the tile to match the edge's finish with the tile's body.

  7. Run the angle grinder in tight circles over the body of the tile as if you were drawing the circumference of an orange to polish the body of the tile.

  8. The length of time needed to polish the edge or body of the tile will vary depending on the density of the tile, and the current finish. Once again, it is best to try out this technique on a scrap piece of tile from the same lot to determine the length of time and speed needed to polish the particular tile.

  9. Never hold the angle grinder statically in one place on the tile, as this may mark the tile.

  10. Tip

    This technique can take a lot of practice to get right. It is recommended that you practice on spare pieces of tile to determine the best speed of the grinder, number of passes through the tile saw and length of time with the grinder to get the best results on each type of tile.