How difficult is it to cut a big (flange) hole in brittle marble tile? I am just asking this question here because, even though I will not be laying my tiles myself, my tile setter is currently overseas and inaccessible yet I am designing the floor tile pattern.

I am using 12" marble tile for the floor. My dilemma is whether to design the pattern so that I have two tiles with cut out semicircles meet around the flange or to have one whole tile with a full circle inside of it go all the way encircling the flange.

I would prefer to be able to do the latter (single tile with a large hole), however, given the material and size, I am not sure if that is possible. I think that the former is certainly possible but from the aesthetic perspective, I would like my pattern to involve one large tile around the flange.

I have heard that marble is really brittle and making fancy cuts is hard.

  • What size hole is it?
    – HerrBag
    Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 1:04

3 Answers 3


A diamond hole saw will do the job, use plenty of water and light pressure.

You will do better with a single hole, AFA breakage goes, compared to making 2 edge semi circles.


If we are talking about a toilet flange, there are 2 methods, each with variations, depending on your equipment.

  1. With a tile wet saw, raise and lower the blade such that you cut diameter lines edge to edge. Rotate the tile 10 degrees and repeat. Flip the tile over and repeat from below. Remove teeth with an angle grinder fitted with a diamond blade. If you are connected to a GFCI outlet, a helper can slowly spritz the cutting with a water bottle. It will keep the dust to a minimum. I would recommend a continuous edge (not segmented or stepped) diamond blade for this. The cheap table type tile wet saws actually excel for this cut, allowing fast and accurate cuts, all from below.
  2. The whole cut can be made with an angle grinder setup described above, you just have to tip the blade at 45 to the surface of the tile and sneak up on the line from the inside of the desired cut out. With marble you have to go slow and minimize pressure. This method also works nicely for electrical boxes.

Yes, I used a diamond disc for my angle grinder and just slowly worked around the edges of my marked circle from both sides until I had broken through. Its tedious and dusty but it came out fantastic. enter image description here

  • Hello, and welcome to Home Improvement. Thanks for the answer; keep 'em coming. And, you should probably take our tour so you'll know the details of contributing here. Commented Apr 2, 2020 at 14:34

It is much more important to set your tile by centering your spacing. You want to avoid very small pieces along the borders. Better to have six inches on each side than eleven inches on one wall and one inch on the other. I have had good luck with a round carbide coated blade that fits a standard hacksaw frame. They will cut tile or stone pretty easily. It will cut at any angle that you can hold the hacksaw. You can also drill a hole in the tile pass the blade thru the hole and reattach it to the saw frame. I would guess you are doing the toilet flange and it doesn't need to be perfect if the toilet is covering it any way.

  • Have you used this method on marble tile?
    – HerrBag
    Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 0:17
  • I have cut granite back splashes and threshholds and I think thats tougher than marble. The blades are cheap under $10, I would try it before shelling out big bucks for a hole saw that only cuts one size hole.
    – mikes
    Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 0:38
  • So, no. Its the fact that MARBLE isn't tough. It needs a smooth cut.
    – HerrBag
    Commented Apr 9, 2013 at 0:54

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