How to cut ceramic tiles

Mr. HowToSpecialist November 15, 2011 Comments Off
How to cut ceramic tiles

This article is about how to cut ceramic tile using a tile cutter. Installing ceramic tile in your kitchen, bathroom or even outside your house it is an important project for any homeowner, but it can also prove to be a costly venture. Nevertheless, if you are skilled enough as to start a diy tile project by yourself, you have to know several basic techniques, as to get the job right from the very beginning. Cutting ceramic tiles is one of the essential techniques, therefore you have to master it before cutting the tiles. Before showing you the actual techniques, you have to be aware of several aspects.


 

Learning how to cut tiles is essential for your project. Nevertheless, you have to understand that there are several tools that can be used to make clean cuts. The first method is to cut tiles by hand, using a simple glass cutter and a L-square. The second method refers to using a score and snap tile cutter, which is a much better tool if you have to install ceramic tile on a large surface. Last but not least, you can use a wet ceramic tile saw, if you can afford this investment. This power tool is useful if you install harder grades of ceramic tiles.

Generally speaking, ceramic tiles can be cut in multiple ways. You can cut tiles in a regular way, horizontally, as yo obtain two rectangles or you might want to install the tiles diagonally. Consequently, you have to learn how to cut tile both ways: on diagonal or horizontally. In addition, there are cases in which you have to cut holes in the ceramic tiles: either to install an outlet, a tap, a radiator, a drain or a pipe. In this case you have to use either a grinder with a diamond blade or a  hole saw tile drill bit, connected to a drill machinery.

When cutting ceramic tiles, you have to take good measurements, otherwise even if you make a perfect clean cut the tile won’t fit into location. Therefore, before using the ceramic tile cutter, make sure you marked properly the tile. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the ceramic tile projects, if you want to see more step by step guides.

In order to cut ceramic tiles, you need the following:

Materials:

  • Ceramic tiles
  • Marker

Tools:

  • Safety gloves, eye protection
  • Measuring tape, framing square
  • Pencil, T-square
  • Ceramic tile cutter

Tips:

  • Position attentively the ceramic tile in the score and snap cutter

Time

  • Several minutes, for each cut

 

Tools for cutting ceramic tiles

Ceramic tile cutter

Ceramic tile cutter

If you have to install ceramic tile on a large surface, or you want to make sure you get the highest quality possible, then it is better to buy or rent a ceramic tile cutter. These tools come in a large variety of design, but basically all of them work in the same manner.

Next, you have to make sure the score-and-snap cutter works properly. Therefore, it is better to use a scrap tile to make several cuts, just to verify if it works as it is supposed to.

Cutting tiles with wet saw

Cutting tiles with wet saw

On the other hand, you can also cut tiles using a wet saw. From our experience, using a wet saw is necessary when having to make complex cuts or notches in the tiles. As you can see in the image, you need to mark the cut lines on the tiles before cutting it. It is also necessary to take accurate measurements, in order to get a professional result.

Fill the tray with water, as to cool down the blade in a professional manner. See a step by step tutorial about cutting tiles with a wet saw here.

 

Cutting ceramic tile

Cutting ceramic tiles

Cutting ceramic tiles

Place carefully the tile in the cutter, making sure the ceramic face is upward oriented. Next, you have to align the tile, as to make sure the blade lines up with the marks at both ends. This aspect is important, otherwise you won’t be able to make a clean cut.

Tile cutters have a measurement grid, so we recommend you to check if you have proper marks. We cannot emphasize enough on the importance of taking accurate measurements, as it is essential for any tile project.

Cutting tiles with a tile cutter

Cutting tiles with a tile cutter

After you have verified that the measurement are correct, you can start cutting the tile. Consequently, move the carriage with the sharp blade on the bottom edge (the one near to you). Place the blade on the edge and then apply pressure and move the handle forward, as to score a continuous straight line till the opposite edge.

Smart tip: While you score the ceramic tile, you have to make sure the tile is locked into position. If the tile moves from place, then you won’t get a proper cut and you risk to damage its finish.

Snapping ceramic tile

Snapping ceramic tile

Remember that you have to slide the blade till the end of the ceramic tile, otherwise, when you will snap the tile, you won’t get a professional cut, but multiple cracks. It is always a good idea to rehearse on several spare tiles, as to get accustomed with the main techniques.

That is why, you have to score a continuous line from one edge to the other. Most likely, you won’t succeed from the very first attempt, you just need to practice several times, until you nail the technique.

Clean ceramic tile snap

Clean ceramic tile snap

Next, in order to make the tile snap, you have to push firmly the handle downward, until the tile breaks. After the tile snapped, you don’t have to apply pressure any more. If you have followed our guidelines, then you should be able to cut ceramic tile by yourself.

Smart tip: Before pushing down the handle of the tile cutter, you have to make sure the ceramic tile is still locked into position, with the blade over the cut, otherwise you won’t get a clean cut.

 

Cutting ceramic tile diagonally

Cutting ceramic tile diagonally

Cutting ceramic tile diagonally

If you want to install tiles on diagonal, then you have to make proper cuts. Consequently, just place the ceramic tile in the cutter, as you can see in the image, making sure it is aligned properly at both ends.

Two of the corners of the ceramic tile have to be placed in such a manner, as the blade of the cutter to come exactly over  both corners. Remember that this aspect is essential, otherwise you won’t get two symmetrical pieces.

Cutting ceramic tile on diagonal

Cutting ceramic tile on diagonal

The other steps for cutting ceramic tiles diagonally, are the same as in the method described above. Consequently, you have to score the tile, describing a continuous line, and then to push firmly the handle to make it snap.

Smart tip: There are cases in which you don’t have to cut the tile exactly on the diagonal, as to get two identical pieces. If the walls of the room do not describe 90º corners, you have to cut the tile slightly tilted, but only after you have taken proper measurements.

 

Thank you for reading our article on how to cut ceramic tile and we recommend you to check out the rest of our projects. Please share our projects with your friends, by using the social media widgets.

 Related projects:

 How to install wall tile 

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