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I'll be framing out some walls on a tile floor laid over a concrete slab subfloor. As I understand it, the proper way to do this is to cut out the top flooring, and attach the walls' base plates directly to the subfloor, in this case the slab.

The tile floor is in fine shape, so what I'd like to do is use an angle grinder or circular saw to cut out channels through the tile for the walls. Will this work? If I cut a line down a tile and it cracks, the finished product will not look good, because I'll have to replace the broken tile with whatever I can find that looks similar.

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    This can be a tough call but the wall on a good base is the best option. – Ed Beal Jan 18 '18 at 8:09
  • @Ed Beal, if you would leave the tile in place would you use an adhesive to affix the plate to the tile rather than drive concrete nails through the 2x4 plate? Would driven fasteners cause spreading cracks in the tile? – Jim Stewart Jan 18 '18 at 10:28
  • @JimStewart driving a nail through a tile will certainly spread cracks through the whole tile. If you pre-drill the tile with a larger-than-needed bit, then drill the slab with the correct bit and use concrete screws, you can probably avoid immediate cracking, but if there's any irregularity with the tile thinset, torquing down those screws could still crack the tiles pretty easily. – JPhi1618 Jan 18 '18 at 16:53
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You can use a tile cutting blade on your circular saw, I would wet the floor and also make a measurement of your tile thickness.

You can then place 2 x 4 's as a platform with a 1 by attached to force a straight line edge for your circular saw with a specified depth. This way you can move across the top surface in a straight even line with an even depth - the likely hood of a crack would be much more remote.

If you did try to cut without any kind of straight guide or depth control I think there would be a greater possibility for issues.

Just an FYI - if you are able to cut at a grout line for one side of this channel you will make this job a lot easier on yourself.

Saw Guides

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    Good advice, but wetting the floor won't do much. The blade will quickly cut through the water film and begin creating a massive dust cloud. You need to either supply a continuous stream (not wise with a circular saw), or simply cut it dry and manage dust as needed. – isherwood Jan 18 '18 at 16:33
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If the tile is well bonded, there's no reason to remove it. I would use construction adhesive under your wall plate, and I would use a masonry drill to put holes through the tile for your fasteners.

If someone wants to replace the tile down the road, they'll end up making the same cuts you would have. Why do it now if it may never need to be done at all?

If you do decide to make the cuts, a diamond wheel in an angle grinder will do well. Run a large vacuum directly behind the wheel to collect dust. It should leave very little chipping, and won't crack anything unless there's a loose tile or you get rough with it.

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