How To Cut Tile

Cutting Ceramic and Travertine Stone Tiles

how to cut tile

When tiling a floor or wall it is almost always necessary to cut some of the tiles to fit along the walls, countertops or cabinet corners. Cutting ceramic tile is very easy with the right tools. This article teaches you how to cut ceramic tile and stone using a tile wet saw and how to cut tile using a manual tile cutter.

Tile Wet Saw: Used to cut ceramic tiles, including thicker ceramic tiles that cannot be cut with a manual tile cutter and stone tiles. It can notch tiles to create round cuts and square notches. (like around a toilet water supply line.)

Manual Tile Cutter: Used to cut thinner ceramic tiles, around 1/4" thick. It can only make full cuts all the way across a tile. The manual tile cutter does not work to cut stone products.

Tile saws, manual tile cutters and other tile cutting tools can be rented from a rental store or purchased from a home improvement store.

brief how to

In this article, you will find information about:

  1. Cutting Ceramic Tile And Stone With A Wet Saw

  2. Cutting Ceramic Tile With A Manual Tile Cutter

  3. Cutting Notches With A Wet Saw

  4. How To Use Tile Nippers

tools and materials

  • Tile Wet Saw
  • Manual Tile Cutter
  • Tile Nippers
  • Pencil

step 1 Cutting Ceramic Tile And Stone With A Wet Saw

The wet saw uses a spinning diamond blade and water to keep the tile cool while cutting. The spinning blade and water mixed with tile dust can be messy so you should set it up in an area that you don't mind getting wet and dirty.

  1. Fill the water pan under the saw with water so that the little water pump is covered with water.
  2. Mark the tile on one edge where the cut will start.
  3. Put the tile on the tray and align the tile with the saw blade.
  4. Turn the saw on and make sure the water is flowing onto the blade before beginning the tile cut. Without water the blade will overheat and wear out very fast.
  5. Slide the tile on the tray into the blade or move the saw blade into the tile, depending on the model of tile saw you have.
  6. Cut slow enough so the water can keep the cut wet and the saw motor does not have excessive strain on it.

step 2 Cutting Ceramic Tile With A Manual Tile Cutter

A manual tile cutter works by scoring the surface and then breaking the tile along the score mark. The manual tile cutter can only be used to cut full straight cuts from one end of a tile to the other, it can't cut circles, notch or cut a corner into a ceramic tile. It also has a hard time cutting off pieces of tile less than 1/2" wide.

  1. Mark the tile on one edge where the cut will start.
  2. Place the tile under the rail or rails and align the cut mark with the blade on the cutter.
  3. Raise or lower the handle, depending on the model/make of the tile cutter, and put the blade next to the edge and on the cut mark.
  4. Press down on the handle and then drag the blade across the surface of the tile so that the tile is scored from edge to edge along the cut line. (don't move the tile yet)
  5. Lift the handle so the foot under the handle can sit flat on top of the tile.
  6. Press down on the handle and the foot will push down on both sides of the tile and brake it into two pieces.

step 3 Cutting Notches With A Wet Saw

Tile saws are often used to cut notches or radius cuts in ceramic tile and stone. This is more dangerous than cutting flat straight cuts so be careful.

  1. Mark the notch to be cut out with a full line along the whole edge of the cut out.
  2. Use the wet saw to cut many cuts, about a blade width apart, into the tile until you get to the mark. Tile setters often hold the edge of the tile up so the blade cuts squarely into the tile.
  3. Use the tile nippers to break off the tile strips that are remaining. (a lot of them usually break off during the cutting process.)
  4. A more advanced option is to use the blade to file off the small teeth that are remaining.

cuttin a tile notch with a tile saw

cleaning a tile notch with a tle wet saw

step 4 How To Use Tile Nippers

Tile nippers work by "nibbling" off the edge of a tile. Tile nippers literally bite the edge of the tile and chip off the tile edge. They are very effective to remove small pieces of tile to fine tune a cut or to create an odd angle. Practice on a scrap piece of tile before nipping your finished tile.

  1. The first rule when using tile nippers is to remove small pieces of tile with each bite. Trying to remove a large piece of tile with tile nippers usually results in breaking the tile.
  2. Place the jaws of the tile nippers with one blade above and one below the edge of the tile where the cut is to be.
  3. Squeeze the handle which will apply pressure on the tile face.
  4. The tile piece will break off under the pressure of the tile nippers blades.
  5. Keep going until you have your shape cut out of the tile.

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