If you’re in the middle of a kitchen remodel, you’ll soon realize that cutting through materials like granite, marble or Silestone is far more difficult than cutting through materials like wood or metal.
Silestone is made up of a combination of quartz, pigment or dye and a resin material which holds it all together. It’s especially difficult to cut since the resin tends to melt under the heat of the saw.
Fortunately, if you’re wondering how to cut Silestone, there are some fairly easy ways to get the job done. While it may seem intimidating at first, with the proper tools you’ll be able to make quick work of the cuts you need to make and get on the way to finishing your dream kitchen!
What You’ll Need
When it comes to cutting Silestone, there are several ways you can get the job done. A tile saw or other wet saw is usually ideal, but unless you have a portable version handy, it can be difficult or impossible to cut large pieces of material this way.
Thankfully, if you don’t have a portable wet saw, you can get the job done quickly and easily with an angle grinder. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Angle grinder with diamond cutting blade
- Scrap wood (2x4’s work well)
- Painter’s tape
- Bucket of water
- Safety goggles
- Tape measure
- Grease pencil (or paint marker)
Step I: Measuring the Silestone
First, you’ll need to measure your Silestone slab and mark it before cutting. A tape measure works best for taking measurements in this case. Once you have your measurements, mark off the general area that you’ll be cutting.
Next, apply painters tape over the area you’ll be cutting. Overlap the painter’s tape by ½” or so to ensure that the entire surface around the cutting area is protected. This will help protect the countertop from chips or cracks during the cutting process.
Once you’ve masked off the area, you can use your pencil to provide an exact mark for where you’ll be cutting.
Step II: Preparing Your Workspace
Next, you’ll need to get your workbench ready for cutting. It’s best to “float” the slab above your work. Place some towels on your workbench, and on top of the towels add scrap wood on either side and in the middle of the bench.
Now, move your Silestone slab to your workbench. If you’re working with a large slab, you’ll need some help with this step, so enlist a partner. A partner will also come in handy as you’re cutting the Silestone.
Step III: Cutting the Silestone
Silestone is made from a combination of quartz (a hard and dense rock) and resin. This material will dull a traditional saw blade long before it’s able to cut through the Silestone. At that point, all you’ll have is a hot, smoking mess and you won’t be any closer to cutting the stone then you were before.
For this job, you’ll need to outfit your angle grinder with a diamond cutting blade. The diamond coated surface of these blades allows you to cut through the Silestone much more effectively. But, overheating is a major concern when cutting through this material, so you’ll need to cool the stone as you cut.
A wet saw would really come in handy for a job like this, but not many home craftsmen have one at their disposal. So, adding a bit of water to the cutting surface will help to cool the surface as you cut.
Since you’re going to be working with electricity and water, it’s critical that you take extra safety precautions. Never let the saw motor get wet. Never submerge your saw in water, and be sure that you’re wearing safety goggles and gloves whenever you cut.
If you have a partner, they can help by pouring water onto the surface of your stone as you cut. If not, you’ll need to stop after each pass and apply more water to the surface of the stone.
First, apply water to the surface of the stone. Now, you can turn on your angle grinder and begin making your first cut. Your focus at this point should be on scoring the stone. Don’t concern yourself with cutting deep.
Once you’ve made this first pass, apply more water to the surface of the stone and make another pass. Each pass you make, try to cut about ⅛” further into the stone. If you start to see dust flying from the stone as you cut, that’s a sign that you should apply more water.
Continue making cutting passes and each time try and cut around another ⅛” into the stone. When it comes to how to cut Silestone, slow and steady wins the race. Moving too quickly and you risk damaging the stone, or your saw.
Once you’ve cut through the stone entirely, you can polish up your edge and install the countertop.
The question of how to cut Silestone is one that must be answered with specialized tools and patience. While it can seem overwhelming at first, cutting Silestone is actually quite easy, and the tips outlined in this guide should have you confident enough to cut your Silestone countertop in no time.
For more tips on cutting and polishing Silestone, check out this comprehensive guide from Silestone manufacturer NS Surfaces.