Content of the material
- Manual Snap Cutter
- Rough out semicircular cuts before trimming to the line
- Photo 1: Score and rough cut
- Photo 2: Trim and grind
- Cut Tile To Your Specification
- 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
- Cutting Ceramic Tiles With a Mechanical Tile Cutter
- Contractors Tile Cutter
- Making Holes in Ceramic Tiles
- How to cut tiles with a wet saw
Manual Snap Cutter
A handy tool for making straight cuts is the manual snap cutter. You can buy one of these at a home improvement center or online for from about $70 to $175, depending upon quality.
To use a snap cutter, mark the line to be cut on the tile. Place the tile firmly against the front guide of the snap cutter. Lift the handle and depress it to score a single, continuous line across the entire tile. Depress the handle again and the tile will snap into two pieces.
If you are cutting several tiles to the same dimension, simply clamp the cutting fence into position for the first cut and then position the succeeding tiles against it. Be sure to brush away the debris after each cut.
Rough out semicircular cuts before trimming to the line
Photo 1: Score and rough cut
Score the profile with the saw, then cut in from the edge of the tile to remove as much waste as possible.
Photo 2: Trim and grind Make a series of closely spaced cuts up to the scored line. Break off the waste. Then grind the edges smooth.
The process for cutting semicircles from the edge of tiles is similar to the technique shown for full circles. You start by marking the cut and scoring the face of the tile on the line. Then, rather than deepen the scoring cut, simply remove the excess tile with straight cuts (Photo 1).
Before you remove the excess tile (Photo 1), be sure to make short cuts on both sides of the semicircle (1 and 2). Then connect the cuts as shown (3). Rather than make this connecting cut in one pass, make a series of progressively deeper shallow cuts until you’re through the tile.
Now complete the semicircle with a series of radial cuts—like the spokes of a wheel (Photo 2). Finish by cleaning up the rough edges with the diamond blade. Or remove the “tabs” with a tile nipper (a pliers-like biting tool). Then grind the edges smooth.
Attach the hole saw bit to the drill, and place the tip of the guiding bit against the mark you made on the tile. Twist the saw back and forth a few times to help the bit begin to bite into the glaze on the tile. Start the drill, holding it straight up and down against the tile.
Cut Tile To Your Specification
Cutting porcelain tile can be achieved in a variety of different ways in order to achieve your perfect results. For large, standard-sized cuts, a wet saw or a tile saw is likely to be your best bet. With those, you can get heavy-duty cuts that meet your specification and can be applied to many tiles. For smaller projects or more unique cuts within porcelain tile, hand tools are an easy suggestion. Dremels and diamond drills are good for cutting circles, holes, or unique shapes within your tile.
Keep in mind the differences between porcelain and other types of ceramic. Porcelain isn’t as absorbent, so some of the issues you may run into when it comes to using ceramic for kitchen tile may not apply here. You can always research more differences to find out whether porcelain or ceramic is the right choice for your next kitchen or bathroom remodel.
Professionals utilize different strategies to ensure that each tile is uniform. Accuracy is important in construction projects, no matter how large or small. And whether you are a DIY enthusiast or a contractor, taking advantage of these strategies – and safety precautions – is the most important thing.
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
Cutting Ceramic Tiles With a Mechanical Tile Cutter
To make the job of cutting tiles a little easier there is a range of mechanical tile cutters that can be used, these are as follows:
Contractors Tile Cutter
A slightly easier way is by using a mechanical tile cutter or contractors tile cutter as they are sometimes known. The tile is placed in the machine, the handle, which has a circular blade on the end is pushed over the tile along the line you need to cut and then the clamp is wound down onto the tile which breaks it in the required place.
You may find that with some of the cheaper ones that you need to go over the tile with the cutter 2 – 3 times to make sure that you have completly scored the glaze so the unwanted section will break off easily.
For only £15.00 its worth its weight in gold and will save you a lot of time if you have quite a few cuts to make.
If possible, get one with an adjustable guide as you can then ensure that your tile stays straight while cutting it. You will also then get a nice crisp line.
Making Holes in Ceramic Tiles
For holes in tiles there are two ways. You can either drill, using a small masonry or tile drill, drill small holes all the way round the diameter of the hole you need to cut and then insert your tile saw and cut along the edges to join up the holes.
Using this method you will need, for neatness sake, a tile file to smooth off all the drilled edges. Or you can get one of the drill bits below.
Again, at £13.00, its a bargain! Neat holes, of all sizes, every time and no frustrations with tiles breaking at the last moment. This particular one is adjustable from 20mm to 94mm and is ideal for bathrooms. The red fence around it is a guard that ensures that nothing gets caught on the cutter as it is spinning on the drill.
As with every project, as well as having the right tools for the job, it is a really good idea to practice first. Buy an extra box of tiles to practice the cuts, it will pay for itself in the long run….A job done on the cheap is one that will probably have to be done twice!!
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.