What is the best tool to cut tile?

‘There are many different types of tiles, and many different machines that will work on them. In my experience though, a wet table saw is an invaluable tool for cutting most, if not all types of tile, as these types of saws cut very straight and smooth. It can be used for ceramic, glass, porcelain, and natural stone tiles. You can rent a wet table saw for your specific project or choose to purchase one, but if you pick the latter option keep in mind that these saws come in multiple sizes, depending on the tile size you will be cutting.’ Adds Ash.

You can use a manual cutter for straight cuts on porcelain and natural stone/slate tiles, then an electric cutter for more complex designs such as right angles and curves in mosaic tiles or a tile scribe for small, thin tiles.

Safety notice: With all tile cutting methods be sure to wear safety goggles and gloves. Do not touch the blade and keep fingers away from it. Ensure any hazards are not present, do not wear loose clothing and keep children away also. Finally, go at your own pace.

Cutting A Tile Around The Toilet

When installing tiles in your toilet, you will need to factor in the toilet itself. Which means you will need to cut the tiles to go around the toilet. There are several ways for how to cut tile around the toilet without a wet saw.

One of the more common approaches is to use sheets of paper to map out the design of the floor around your toilet first. The sheets of paper need to be the same size as the tiles you are installing. For example, if you have 16 by 16 inches tiles, then the sheets of paper need to be the same size.

Cut a sheet of paper for every tile you will be installing around the toilet. Using scissors remove the areas that you do not need from the sheets of paper. For instance, if you have a toilet with an angular base, you need to cut a triangular section from the corners of the paper.

Once this is done lay the sheets of paper into the place where the tiles will go. When doing so, remember to factor in space between the tiles. Make sure all the sheets of paper fit snugly against the base of the toilet.

Tape the sheets of paper to the tiles you want to install. Use a pencil to illustrate the cut points on the tiles. Once you have indicated the cut lines, use a tile scribe to draw a 0.32 cm deep cut line on the tiles.

Next, take a pair of clippers and start removing the unnecessary tile section. Be careful not to snip huge chunks of the tile, especially when you near the cut lines. After snipping away the unwanted part use a tile file to sand down any rough edges.

After this is done, you can now start installing them permanently. On how to cut tile with a wet saw without chipping, using a clipper might not be ideal. This is especially if you have never used them to cut tiles before.

Without experience, you can end up chipping away large and important parts of the tile.


Small Tile-Cutting Jobs

To get the clean and precise cut on a few ceramic tiles you need a glass cutter and a wire hanger. A Glass cutter will guide over the line to make a straight cut and pressure from the wire hanger rod on the surface of the tile helps to make a clean line when the tile breaks.

Can You Cut Porcelain Tiles Yourself?

Most newbies wonder if they can cut a porcelain tile themselves. Well, if you have the proper knowledge and have the right tools in hand, you can do it yourself. Just make sure you are following the safety cautions and don’t do hurry. Moreover, here we are going to share the details that might help you to do it perfectly.

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How to cut a tile without chipping with a tile cutter

This type of cutter comes with a carbide wheel that is slowly pressed along the tile. Then you open the tile by pressing the handle. If you are using this tool on a porcelain tile, you need to be careful to avoid damaging it. Now, I’m gonna show you how to do the job.

  • Mark a line along the tile, where you want to make the cut;
  • Set up the tile firmly against the cutter’s guide, glazed side up;
  • Guide the hand lever over the cutting mark you made before so that the cutter will slice through the tile;
  • Now the tricky part: push down the lever to break the tile into 2 pieces: make sure to apply as little pressure as needed to avoid chipping the tile;
  • Finally, you can get rid of any sharp edges by using sanding paper, sponge or stone.

Obviously, you won’t be as quick as if you would use a professional cutting tool. If you are not a professional and you are doing a project on the side, a manual tile cutter could be very well worth it. It will take some more time and attention, but you’ll get professional results.

What Is the Best Manual Tile Cutter?

A manual tile cutter is nothing but a straightforward scoring tool. You can use the manual tile cutter to perform straight cuts on the porcelain and ceramic tiles. But it is not made for cutting tiles in a circular shape. 

Various manufacturers, such as Ryobi, Sigma, etc., produce several manual tile cutters. We have found that Sigma Pull Handle Tile Cutter and Rubi Tools TX-1250 are two of the best manual tile cutter. The former has a 26” tile cutting blade, and the second comes with a 49” straight cutting capacity. 

Both manual tile cutters are made for professionals, but homeowners can also use them. It is made possible with their easy to use the feature. 

Snap cutter and tile nipper are also two other types of manual tile cutter that you can use to cut small tiles without a saw. Tile nippers are perfect for curves and corners.

Homemade Tile Cutter

Honestly speaking, you can’t only make a homemade tile cutter from scratch. You must have an angle grinder ready for it. 

Once you have the angle grinder ready at your hand, you will have to select the right discs for it. You might use a diamond-coated disc or carbide-tipped steel disc for the purpose. Also, the disc should be substantial. It will help you avoid chipping the tiles. 

When you own an angle grinder with the right disc selection, your process of “How to cut tile without a tile saw” will become easier.  Also, you can opt for the stone disc or wheels since it is affordable than the diamond or carbide tipped disc blades. 

How Do You Cut Large Tiles by Hand?

There are several tools to cut large tiles by hand. The easy way for cutting tiles by hand is to use a powerful tile cutting hand saw. It is a challenging task, but with a manual saw, you can score the tiles and then cut it. But, we recommend you to use either a manual tile cutter or a glass cutter for the purpose.  

Whichever method you use, always outline the cutline using the tile marker. Also, you can use a stealthy knife or angle grinder to cut large tiles.

Read More.

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What can cause a chipped tile?

Tile has a good reputation for durability and strength as with the millions of tiles that are laid every year in Australia, only a few chips, crack or have manufacturing issues with them. If a tile chips, it is generally not a manufacturing fault but is the cause of one of the following accidents against the tile itself:

  • Dropping a heavy or hard object onto the ceramic or porcelain tile. This may cause the surface to crack or chip.
  • Walking or dragging metal heels or hammering nails onto the tile
  • It is causing furniture to be dragged along the tile that has metal-tipped feet. This includes chairs and other things in the house that have steel or metal feet and no rubber protection.


Q. How to cut Ceramic tile without using a wet saw?

Ans. As mentioned above, a ceramic tile is also a clay tile just like the porcelain tile; you can cut the ceramic tile using a carbide-tipped pen.

This process is best advised when you are cutting a single tile or for a small house, as it is very tasking when used to cut many ceramic tiles.

Q. Instructions for proper use of carbide tipped pen to cut ceramic tiles. 

  1. Draw a straight line across the ceramic time you want to cut; this can be achieved by using a square.
  2. Use the pen to cut the marked line
  3. To snap the tile in two, the use of clippers is best advised.
  4. Without wet saw, it’s not that much hard to cut tile in the right way.

Materials and tools

  • Glass cutter
  • Washable marker
  • Damp cloth
  • Gloves and safety glasses
  • Smoothening tool
  • Square ruler
  • wire

Step 1: Marking The Tile

Place the tile on the cutting surface. Using a washable marker and a square draw straight lines on the points you want to cut the tile. It is advisable to verify the marked points to ascertain the credibility of the cut, which reduces the wastage. A square ruler is essential for straights cuts. However, you can use a tool with a straight edge for precise lines. In case of any wrong marking, wipe it away using the damp cloth or an eraser if you will be using a pencil to draw the lines.

Step 2: Wear The Safety Elements

It is advisable to wear safety goggles to prevent the tiny pieces of the tile from finding their way to your eyes. Also, due to the intense pressure, you will have to apply on the tile with your palms, wear a fabric glove. The fabric glove will do you good by preventing any accidental cut on your palms.

Step 3: Score The Tile

This step is to essentially have a partial cut on the tile, which will be the guideline of the actual cutting. The scoring process sounds like a crackling noise. Place the square beneath the cut line to act as the guideline of the cutter to avoid any mistakes. Hold the glass gutter firmly and press it down along the drawn line. Keenly drag the cutter along the line to do a partial cutting on the tile. This step should be done with a lot of soberness because there is no room for mistakes. The glass cutter goes for approximately $10 hence at a pocket-friendly price. It is readily available in the hardware, or you can make an online order.

Step 4: Place A Wire Underneath The Tile To Be Cut

This step is crucial when cutting tile without a wet saw. You will require a wire which is thin enough to go through the partially cut line.  Take the wire and place it along with the cut and ensure that it is long enough to go through the entire line.

Step 5: Break The Tile

Place the tile on a sturdy surface that can withstand a massive amount of pressure. Also, ensure that you have the fabric gloves on to avoid any accidental cut. Use your palms to press the tile with hands on the different sides of the wire. Press hard enough until the tile completely breaks. While applying pressure on the tile, increase it gradually to avoid splintering the tile, which can damage it or cause a cut on your hands. In case the tile does not break, you will have to use the glass cutter to score it again.

Step 6: Smoothen The Edges

Rough edges are possible when cutting the tile and may not be appropriate for fixing in your construction. Thus use the available smoothening tool to have smooth edges. The possible smoothening tools are rubbing the stone and a slab of concrete. Whichever the tool you use, hold it appropriately along the edges and brush it slowly until you have smooth edges.

How to Use Tile Nipper For Cutting Small Corner

Ceramic tile nippers are best for cutting irregular cuts, arc shapes, or even circular cuts around the tile. To use tile nippers for cutting tile, Follow the steps below:

  1. First, wear protective glass and gloves since the tile cutters can produce small pieces of ceramic tile that fly around.
  2. Next, Mark the cut line on the tile.
  3. Score the cut line with a utility knife. This will give you a relief point.
  4. Now place a waste bucket or can under the tile cutter and hold the tile cutter against the scoreline.
  5. Now start with small cuts on the side of the cutter away from the scoreline. Don’t start cutting big chunks from the tile. Remember, you want to take small pieces out so that the tile nippers don’t create cracks in the ceramic tiles.
  6. As you go near the edge of the scoreline, stop cutting. Take a 60 grit sandpaper or sandstone to smooth the edge and reduce the chances of cracking.


We have summed up all the possible ways for how to cut tile without a tile saw. Nonetheless, you have to remember that cutting a tile isn’t a doll’s play. It needs a particular skill to cut tile without a saw. If you lack the confidence to cut the large ceramic and porcelain tiles for the home renovation, you can still call for nearby tiles cutting services to do the task for you. 

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.


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