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How To Cut Tile Using Common Tools

How To Cut Tile Using Common Tools

If installing tiles yourself, you'll probably need to cut a few to fit around corners, furniture, and other odd places. There are numerous techniques for cutting tiles, some of which are more effective in particular circumstances. This tutorial deconstructs the six most popular tile cutters to assist you in selecting the right equipment and methods for your particular job.

Getting Ready To Cut Tile Yourself

Most tile-cutting equipment uses measuring and marking the tile, snapping or cutting, and, finally, rounding the edges. Multiple tools are needed for some jobs. Know what tile you're working with, how many tiles you'll be cutting, and precisely what kind of cuts you'll need to make. This will enable you to select the appropriate tile cutter for your installation operation.

The power tools might be preferable to hand tools if you need to cut a lot of tiles for a large project. Use appropriate protection when using a power tool to cut tiles because the fine dust it produces is difficult to clean up and unhealthy to breathe.

Put on a respirator and hearing protection, and set up your workspace outside if you can. If you must operate indoors, use plastic sheets to cover exposed surfaces and openings to keep dust contained. This includes drains, vents, doors, and windows. Have a vacuum on hand to collect any dust.

Ways To Cut Tile Using Common Tools

Each type of tile-cutting tool uses a similar fundamental procedure, although each has different techniques. Detailed instructions for each tool's use are provided below to assist you in selecting the appropriate tools for your project and utilizing them correctly.

1. Using a Glass Cutter

A hand tool with a rotating wheel called a glass cutter is suitable for simple cutting jobs with straight lines. It would help if you did not use it on curves or corners. However, you can use it to cut ceramic or glass tiles smoothly without chipping. To operate a glass cutter, adhere to the steps listed below. In addition, you'll require a wire hanger, a ruler, a pencil, and an aluminum oxide rubbing stone or sanding sponge.

  • To determine where to cut the tile, measure it with your ruler.
  • Draw a cut guideline on the tile's glazed side with your ruler and pencil.
  • Place the tile on a flat surface with the ruler parallel to your guideline.
  • Firmly press the glass cutter into the line to score but not cut through.
  • Place the wire hanger over the scored line in a horizontal position.
  • The tile can be cut using tile nippers or softly snapped by applying pressure to both sides.
  • Use a rubbing stone or sanding sponge to round out any sharp edges.

2. Utilizing a Snap Cutter Or Manual Tile Cutter

Alternatives to power tools that can safely and affordably cut ceramic or porcelain tiles without energy or water include manual tile and snap cutters. They can create angled or diagonal cuts, making them suitable for small projects with minimal cuts. They don't work well for tiles over three-eighths of an inch thick and won't cut curves or angles.

Follow the steps below to learn how to use a tile snap cutter. A pencil and an aluminum oxide rubbing stone are also required.

  • Measure your tile, then draw the area you want to cut with a pencil.
  • Place the cutter parallel to you and facing you, with the lever facing you.
  • Place the tile with the glazed side up between the blade rails and tightly against the end stop.
  • Place your tile's guideline over the cutter's center guideline.
  • Push the lever over the guideline to score the tile surface until it hits the end stop.
  • Over the cutting wheel, lower the breaker bar.
  • Applying light but firm pressure to the lever will cause the tile to snap.
  • With your rubbing stone, smooth out any sharp edges.

3. Using An Angle Grinder

An angle grinder is an effective handheld power tool for making round, square, L-shaped, curved cuts around entrances, vents, drains, and pipes. Although it can't handle large amounts of tile, it is easier to set up and use than a wet saw. For cutting ceramic or glass tiles, use a blade with a diamond tip; for cutting porcelain, a notched blade; and for cutting marble or stone, a serrated blade.

To use an angle grinder, follow these steps. Hold the blade vertically for straight cuts or horizontally for rounded cuts. A pencil, clamp, masking tape, aluminum oxide rubbing stone, and sandpaper are also required.

  • Measure the tile and use a pencil to mark the desired cut form.
  • To prevent chipping, tape the tile's edge and clamp it to your work surface.
  • Pulling the angle grinder slowly along your defined guideline will score the tile.
  • Score the tile once more on the back for rectangular cuts.
  • Cut the tile in successively deeper passes until you completely penetrate it.
  • Use a rubbing stone, sandpaper, or the flat side of the blade to round off the edges.

4. Using a Wet Saw

A wet saw is a power tool that swiftly and precisely cuts huge quantities of ceramic, porcelain, glass, or marble tile using a water-cooled diamond blade. A pump sprays water over the blade to keep it cool and reduce dust as tile is fed into it on a sliding table. Make cuts only when the water flows well over the blade and is sharp.

Set it up somewhere where water won't be an issue because a wet saw can be messy. Keep your hands as far away from the blade as possible, wear protective goggles and gloves, and avoid loose clothing and jewelry. Before beginning, make sure to read all of the wet saw's F&Qs. Then, use these procedures to cut your materials. A pencil and an aluminum oxide rubbing stone are also required.

  • Fill the water tray or reservoir, then position the saw on a stable, level platform.
  • To create a cut, measure and mark a guideline on your tile.
  • Place the tile in water after tapping the tile's edges to prevent chipping.
  • Establish the rip fence. This tile portion needs to remain between the fence and the blade.
  • Set the tile guideline and blade in alignment to support the tile as it rests on the table.
  • Start the saw and wait 20 seconds for the water to flow before cutting anything.
  • With the glazed side facing you, guide the tile along the fence and into the blade.
  • Until the tile reaches the blade, push it between the fence and the blade.
  • Before removing the tile, turn off the saw and let it rest.
  • Use rubbing stone or sandpaper to smooth any rough edges if necessary.

5. Using Tile Nippers

Tile nippers, also known as nibbling tools, may produce tiny cuts that larger tools cannot. This is suitable for tiny cutouts, curves, arcs, circles, and other irregular shapes. Ceramic tiles, thinner porcelain or stone materials, faucet valves, door cases, and other obstructions can all be cut with nippers. However, you cannot use them for substantial, straight cuts.

  • To use tile nippers, follow these steps. A pencil, measuring implements, and sandpaper are required.
  • Where you wish to cut, measure and mark your tile with a pencil.
  • If you need to get your tile close to the cut area, use a snap cutter or wet saw to cut it down.
  • Squeezing the nippers firmly but carefully will break the tile into small pieces.
  • Use a rubbing stone or sandpaper to round the tile's edges.

6. Use a Dremel

To make a hole in the middle of a tile for pipes or valve fixtures, use a Dremel. You can drill a hole into either a fixed tile already affixed to a wall or floor or a loose tile that has not yet been installed. Dremels work best for cutting ceramic tile, although they can also cut through marble or porcelain with a diamond bit. 

Follow these steps to use a Dremel to make a hole in a tile.

  • The tile where you wish to cut should be measured and marked.
  • To keep the tile in place during cutting, clamp it to a sturdy surface.
  • Push into the tile with the Dremel at a 45-degree angle until it forms a 90-degree angle.
  • When you reach the end of your cut line, gently remove the Dremel.

Guidelines For Cutting Tile Without Chipping

You can use several alternative techniques to cut ceramic tiles without chipping the edges. To make the line easier to follow with your tool, start by tapping a piece of masking tape along the guideline mark. Cutting slowly and shallowly will prevent chips from forming. The most effective cuts are eight inches deep.

If you have a wet saw or another power tool, make a few notches in the tile before fully removing it. We refer to this as scoring. With a notch system in place, you may use any tool to cut while carefully applying pressure to lessen the possibility of chipping. Until you completely cut through the tile from end to end, use even pressure throughout the entire cut.


Saving money on tile installation or repair work in a floor, kitchen, or bathroom, you can accomplish other areas by learning how to cut tile and select the right type of cutting tools. After cutting your tile, you're ready to assemble the pieces and tile edging trim for the appropriate tile design for your room.

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