Content of the material
- Profile Menu
- Corner Cuts and Really Big Jobs
- STEP 1: Measure and mark the tile.
- STEP 2: Cut the tile with a wet saw.
- STEP 3: Smooth the edges of the tile.
- 3. How to Cut Already Installed Tile on a Wall: Measuring Marking the Cut-out
- 9 Methods to Cut Ceramic Tile
- #1 Using a Manual Snap Cutter
- #2 Using a Tile Nipper
- #3 Using a Wet Tile Saw
- #4 Using a Glass Cutter
- #5 Using an Angle Grinder
- #6 Using a Rotary Cutting Tool
- #7 Using a Tile Scribe
- #8 Using a Power Drill
- #9 Using a JigSaw
- Small Jobs with Straight Cuts
- STEP 1: Measure and mark the tile.
- STEP 2: Score the tile.
- STEP 3: Snap the tile.
- STEP 4: Smooth the edges of the tile.
- Make a dish-shaped cutout for small holes
- Photo 1: Plunge cut
- Photo 2: Repeat plunge cut
- How to cut tiles with a wet saw
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Corner Cuts and Really Big Jobs
If you’ll be cutting lots of tiles for a big job, or if you need to make corner cuts around door jambs or wall outlets, invest in a wet saw or rent one from your local home center. (I recommend renting unless you envision doing many similar projects in the future.) As with any power tool, read the instructions carefully before you begin and heed the recommended safety precautions. It’s also not bad idea to take a few practice cuts before jumping into the project.
STEP 1: Measure and mark the tile
First, measure and mark the tile where you want to make the cut.
STEP 2: Cut the tile with a wet saw
Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions for the wet saw, and make sure you’ve put enough water in the tub. Turn the wet saw on, confirm that water is flowing over the blade, then proceed to make your cut the same way you would cut wood on a table saw.
STEP 3: Smooth the edges of the tile
If the cut edge of the tile is rough, smooth it with a rubbing stone.
3. How to Cut Already Installed Tile on a Wall: Measuring Marking the Cut-out
Before cutting any tile glued on a wall, determine the number of tiles to cut. Use the steel rule, triangle and a measuring tape, such as the RUBI Flexometer, to find out how much of each tile you must cut. Mark the cutline with the Chinagraph pencil or non-stain pen.Next, place masking tape onto the tile running along the edge of the mark. Adding tape over the part you intend to keep intact and attached to the wall will keep it from chipping. Use a handheld sprayer to add water to the tile surface.This water keeps the dust from going into the air and lubricates the tile for the cutting blade. If you chipped the wrong tiles, consider replacing them. Replicate the cut with a RUBI manual cutter before you replace the broken chipped tile.
9 Methods to Cut Ceramic Tile
To make the procedure of cutting ceramic tile easy, three different tools and techniques are recommended the most. However, one should keep in mind that cement, stone, terracotta and a certain type of porcelain tiles should only be processed using a wet saw. Here are the 8 tools you can use for cutting a ceramic tile:
- Manual Snap Cutter
- Tile Nipper
- Wet Tile Saw
- Glass Cutter
- Angle Grinder
- Rotary Cutting Tool
- Jig Saw
- Tile Scribe
- Power Drill
#1 Using a Manual Snap Cutter
A snap cutter and a wet tile saw are the two main power tools which can be used to cut a ceramic tile. If you are looking for a budget option which is easy to carry out the task as well, then you should go for a snap tile cutter.
It is also known as a rail cutter and works similarly to a glass cutter. It has a carbide wheel that is slowly pressed along the tile to score.
A manual snap cutter comes in really handy for making straight cuts. If you want to make a perfectly straight cut, the manual snap cutter is what you’re looking for. Handy as it is, it is a worthy investment as it only ranges around $200 (decent quality) and is available on any home improvement online portal or shop.
Follow the guide to cut a ceramic tile with manual snap cutter:
- To use the snap cutter, initially, you have to prepare the tile and mark the line.
- After marking the line, place the tile firmly against the front guide, lift it and depress to score a straight line.
- After scoring, depress the handle in order to snap the tile in two pieces. If you’re cutting ceramic tile (more than one), clamp the fence into the same position as the first cut and place the tiles succeedingly.
- However, you should brush the debris away after you’re done with the cutting procedure.
#2 Using a Tile Nipper
But most of the times we want to make irregular cuts across the edges rather than the straight cuts. In such cases, using an efficient tile nipper is beneficial as the snap cutters can’t make the irregular cuts.
Also, known as the nibbling tool, it can be used to make a half inch or an entire inch distant cuts from the edge by making the scoring lines. This tool is also used to make notches or tiny cutout. The best part about the nippers is that they are relatively chip ranging from $10-$25 based on their quality.
However, the drawback of a tile nipper is that the cuts that are made using it are not as clean, unlike the rest two tools.
- To make a cut using the tile nipper, initially use a snap cutter for scoring the lines.
- After scoring, nibble the tile chips one by one slowly from the tile area that is to be removed.
- Removing larger bits will shatter the entire tile and therefore, patience is what you require while nibbling the tile away.
#3 Using a Wet Tile Saw
The precision of tile cuts are made using the wet saw, but one has to be experienced to use the wet saw. Wet saws are largely available in different models, different sizes both for renting and owning.
Therefore, find a prominent home improvement center or portal to purchase a budget priced wet saw which can be available for around $60. In case if you are looking for a wet saw that can handle the bulk job, get a professional one which costs around $500.
The tile saws come with pumps which squirt water on constant basis onto a sharp diamond blade. Inexpensive saws do not have any pumps but have the ability to keep the made submerged.
It’s a mandatory to have a splash guard for the wet saw if you want to use it in the indoor environment with the help of scattered spray. However, using it outdoors is recommended because of the dust and splatter it delivers. In case if you want to make curvaceous cuts, employ a radial arm wet saw.
- To cut a tile with a wet saw, initially set it on a smooth surface. If the saw comes with a pump, put the pump in a pan and fill the pan with water.
- Test it and make sure it’s functional before proceeding to cut in a way that it supplies water stream to the diamond blade.
- If your saw doesn’t have a pump, fill the pan to a certain level such that the blade stays submerged in water and keep filling the water after every 20 cuts.
- Now, take a marker and mark the tile on the surface in the shape you want to make a cut.
- To make straight lines, place the tile on the tray pulled away from the diamond blade. Turn on the saw, hold the tile rigidly against the tray, slide it and let the blade cut the tile.
- To make angle cuts, switch to the protractor like mode and cut notches by making small and parallel cuts that are around 1/4 inch distant. Take a tile nipper and finish the work by nibbling the chips away.
#4 Using a Glass Cutter
If the task is small and doesn’t involve any curvy or complex cuts, you should use a glass cutter. It can be found anywhere in the nearby local tool stores or even online for a very low cost.
- Measure & Mark: By aligning the horizontal edge to the bottom of the tile, measure and use a pencil to mark the area where you want to cut.
- Position & Score: Place the tile down on a robust surface (a plywood suits best), move the square cautiously and keep it a little off the marked line. Now press down the glass cutter and move it along the marked line by using the square as a reference.
- Snap Tile: Place a wire hanger along the marked/cut line and press down on the edges until the tile snaps.
- Smoothen: You want to smoothen out the edges whenever you cut a tile since the sharpness would be dangerous. Rub the edges across a brick or a rubbing stone to do so.
#5 Using an Angle Grinder
Another tool you can use is an angle grinder (4-inch) with a stone blade. It is helpful to make angled cuts. The cuts will not be as cleaner as you get using a wet tile saw though they would be fine. Around the doorways and heater vents, you can make rough cuts quite easily.
It is important to choose the right blade (diamond tipped and smooth edge) for the angle grinder when cutting ceramic tile. Once you are done fitting it tightly into it, start the procedure:
- Draw your lines to mark the area to be cut
- Place the tape on top to cover the edge to prevent chipping
- Gently press down the angle grinder and cut along the surface and the lines
- By holding the blade against an edge horizontally, you can make rounded cuts
- By holding the blade against an edge vertically, you can make straight cuts
#6 Using a Rotary Cutting Tool
What if you want to create a hole in the center of the tile or make cuts on the edge? Well, there is a solution!
A rotary cutting tool or RotoZip can be used to make such cuts (such as circles for pipe insertion) or any shape. It has a blade that works similarly to a drill bit and moves super quickly. The bits cut through the ceramic tile. It doesn’t cut straight lines too well, but can fulfil the duty of a tile nipper easily.
They are on the expensive side but can be used for a lot of remodelling jobs at home.
#7 Using a Tile Scribe
The most basic method of cutting tiles (particularly straight cuts) is using a tile scribe. It has a tungsten carbide tip which allows it to score almost on any tile.
- Do the marking on the tile where you want to cut and put another tile against the one which is to be cut (it will work as a straight edge)
- With a firm grip, press down on the tile scribe and draw it along the marked starting and finishing line
- After scoring, place the tile on the edge of the surface you were working on such that the scored line is just above the edge
- Press down strongly on the unwanted part of the tile and holding onto the piece that you need above the edge of the work surface with your other hand
#8 Using a Power Drill
You can either use a drill or a masonry drill to cut holes in ceramic tiles. First you need to drill small holes along the diameter of the hole you wish to cut and then cut along the edges using a tile saw. At the end, you can use a tile filer to smoothen the edges.
- Use a tile scribe to mark the centre inside the hole which is to be cut
- Put it in the centre and twist to score
- After that, use a power drill to make the hole
- Start with small drill bit size and make your way up to the desired hole size
#9 Using a JigSaw
A jigsaw can also be used to make cut in ceramic tiles. It works best to make notches and angled cuts in the tile.
A tile cutter helps to make straight cuts however at times, the requirements might be different (smaller, slanted or notches). Here’s where the jigsaw shines with it’s diamond blade.
- Make sure the tile is properly fitted on the work bench before starting cutting
- Also keep sprinkling some water on the tile while making cuts using a jigsaw to make sure it doesn’t overheat
Small Jobs with Straight Cuts
If you need to cut just a few tiles and you don’t need to make any curved or corner cuts, you can probably make do with a carpenter’s square and a glass cutter. The latter tool costs little and can be found in craft stores and home stores, as well as online. You can pick one up on Amazon for under $10.
STEP 1: Measure and mark the tile
Measure, then use a pencil to mark the tile where you want to make the cut.
STEP 2: Score the tile
Place the tile on a flat surface, such as a workbench or a piece of plywood. Set your square slightly off your marked line so the glass cutter (or the scoring wheel on the pliers) will hit the right place. Then, starting at the edge of the tile, place the scoring tool on the line and press down firmly as you drag it across the tile. You should hear a scratching noise, which is the sign that the tile is being scored.
STEP 3: Snap the tile
If you’re using pliers, open them and slide the tile all the way into them, with the scoring wheel sitting directly under the line you’ve scored on top of the tile. Squeeze the pliers while gently supporting the tile as it snaps. If you’re used a glass cutter, place a length of wire hanger or other appropriately sized material beneath the scored line, then push down on either side of the tile to snap it; alternatively, grab the tile nippers and snip off the scored piece.
STEP 4: Smooth the edges of the tile
If the cut edge of the tile is rough, smooth it with a rubbing stone.
Make a dish-shaped cutout for small holes
Photo 1: Plunge cut
Center the cut on the hole and plunge slowly from the back. Stop when the slot through the face of the tile lines up with the edges of the desired cutout.
Photo 2: Repeat plunge cut Draw another larger circle to guide the depth of the remaining cuts. Make repeated plunge cuts until the circle is complete.
Most plumbing pipe holes are covered by a decorative escutcheon or hidden by a fixture base, so a precise round hole isn’t necessary. Use the technique shown here to make rough, round holes.
Start by marking the circular cutout on the back of the tile. Then plunge the diamond blade down through the tile, keeping it centered on the hole so that the slot made by the blade extends equally on both sides of the circle marks (Photo 1). Check often to see when the slot through the front of the tile reaches the edges of the desired cutout. Then use the length of that plunge cut to gauge the diameter of a second, larger circle. Draw that larger circle on the back of the tile (Photo 2). Use this circle as a guide for making the rest of the plunge cuts. Rotate the grinder about a blade’s width and make another plunge cut, stopping at the outer circle. Continue this process until you finish the hole.
How to cut tiles with a wet saw
For experienced DIYers, a wet saw will make cutting tiles easy. Wet saws/electric cutters are used for right angles, curved edges and thicker tiles such as porcelain and natural stone. You can use it indoors but outside use is less messy.
- Make sure the electric cutter has water in the tray as the blade will overheat; it also reduces the amount of dust produced when cutting.
- For curved edges, mark with a pencil the area that needs to be cut, and mark several lines up to the curved mark. This is because a tile can’t be turned whilst being cut.
- Using the electric cutter, cut the number of lines up to the curved mark so it looks like a comb.
- Draw round the curved mark with a tile scribe to score and cut into the glaze.
- Using a tile nipper, break away small bits at a time up to the curve, and file down until smooth.
Take care when cutting tiles.