How to Cut Ceramic Tile for Professional-Looking Results

1. Tools and Other Items You Need in Tile Cutting

As with any task on a project or job, the first step is to gather all the necessary tools and materials. In this case, the materials or tiles to cut are already glued to the wall, so you really only need to buy a few replacement tiles in case some of the installed ones break. Then all that’s left is to bring the best tools for tile cutting.

Here are the tools you’ll need:

· A diamond disc (designed for cutting the type of ceramic you plan to cut)· Set square or triangle· Measuring tape· Chinagraph pencil or non-stain pen· Angle grinder· Steel rule· Rotary tool· Small pry bar· Plastic sheet and tape· Safety gear (goggles, gloves, and eye protection)· Handheld sprayer and waterIt’s also good to have a RUBI manual tile cutter on hand because accidents happen, and if you break a tile on your floor or wall you might need to cut the replacement to make it fit in the original’s location.

If you want to know more about the subject here’s a guide on how to lay tiles.

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What is the easiest way to cut tiles?

‘This will depend on the type of tile you are working with,’ says John Geraghty, tiling expert, MyJobQuote (opens in new tab).

‘For example, more delicate tiles such as porcelain will need a wet-saw tile cutter, whereas a ceramic tile is more versatile and various tools can be used.’

So if you’ve experienced broken tiles in the past, and wondering why they keep cracking, you could be using the wrong type of tool.

Rough out semicircular cuts before trimming to the line

Photo 1: Score and rough cut

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.

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Pour cooling oil over the tile where the cut will be made. The hole saw will heat up quickly; the cooling oil will prevent it from overheating before it cuts through the tile.

4. Tile Cutting Method Using an Angle Grinder

Once you’ve marked the tiles and covered them with masking tape, you’re ready to learn how to cut already installed tile on a wall with an angle grinder.

Place the angle grinder against one end of the cutline and run the blade along the tile surface. Keep the path of the angle grinder smooth and straight. Add water with the spray to keep the surface wet if needed. If the blade isn’t cutting through the tile, make more passes with the blade alongside the tile.If the grinder blade is too large to cut the tile part closer to the wall, switch to a rotary tool. This tool also allows you to make curved cuts. However, if you’re going to use it, keep the surface dry.From there, pry cut the pieces from the surface with a small pry bar. Place the pry bar into the joints while applying pressure to it as you move it behind a cut piece. Once you’re done, clean the surface by vacuuming and washing the dust.

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Turn the angle grinder so the blade will meet the tile perpendicularly. Turn on the grinder and push the blade straight down into the tile and its backing. Once you have cut through, you can pull the blade back for a short cut, or push the blade away from you to continue cutting through the tile for longer cuts. Pull the blade straight up and out and turn off the saw between cuts when changing locations or angles.

Small Jobs with Straight Cuts

If you need to cut just a few tiles and you don’t need to make any curved or corner cuts, you can probably make do with a carpenter’s square and a glass cutter. The latter tool costs little and can be found in craft stores and home stores, as well as online. You can pick one up on Amazon for under $10.

STEP 1: Measure and mark the tile

Measure, then use a pencil to mark the tile where you want to make the cut.

STEP 2: Score the tile

Place the tile on a flat surface, such as a workbench or a piece of plywood. Set your square slightly off your marked line so the glass cutter (or the scoring wheel on the pliers) will hit the right place. Then, starting at the edge of the tile, place the scoring tool on the line and press down firmly as you drag it across the tile. You should hear a scratching noise, which is the sign that the tile is being scored.

STEP 3: Snap the tile

If you’re using pliers, open them and slide the tile all the way into them, with the scoring wheel sitting directly under the line you’ve scored on top of the tile. Squeeze the pliers while gently supporting the tile as it snaps. If you’re used a glass cutter, place a length of wire hanger or other appropriately sized material beneath the scored line, then push down on either side of the tile to snap it; alternatively, grab the tile nippers and snip off the scored piece.

STEP 4: Smooth the edges of the tile

If the cut edge of the tile is rough, smooth it with a rubbing stone.

Photo: fotosearch.com

Photo: fotosearch.com

Step 2: Score the tile

Slide the tile into the tile cutter, glazed-side up. Line up your cut mark with the guideline and make sure the tile is pushed snugly against the end stop. Use light pressure to run the carbide wheel along the surface of the tile to slice through the tile glaze. It should just score the tile, not slice it completely. Be sure to only score your ceramic tile once.

Corner Cuts and Really Big Jobs

If you’ll be cutting lots of tiles for a big job, or if you need to make corner cuts around door jambs or wall outlets, invest in a wet saw or rent one from your local home center. (I recommend renting unless you envision doing many similar projects in the future.) As with any power tool, read the instructions carefully before you begin and heed the recommended safety precautions. It’s also not bad idea to take a few practice cuts before jumping into the project.

STEP 1: Measure and mark the tile

First, measure and mark the tile where you want to make the cut.

STEP 2: Cut the tile with a wet saw

Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions for the wet saw, and make sure you’ve put enough water in the tub. Turn the wet saw on, confirm that water is flowing over the blade, then proceed to make your cut the same way you would cut wood on a table saw.

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STEP 3: Smooth the edges of the tile

If the cut edge of the tile is rough, smooth it with a rubbing stone.

Photo: fotosearch.com

Photo: fotosearch.com

How to Cut Ceramic Tile

When buying tile for your project, purchase a few extra so you can practice your tile-cutting technique before you begin. You can rent or purchase a tile cutter ($26, The Home Depot) at most home improvement stores. Make sure the tile cutter is large enough for the size of tile you need to cut.

What You Need

  • Protective gloves, eye gear, and mask
  • Ceramic tile
  • Ruler
  • Erasable marker or pencil
  • Straightedge
  • Tile cutter
  • Rubbing stone

Can you cut tiles yourself?

‘Yes, with the right equipment and correct measurements, cutting your own tiles can be incredibly simple,’ assures Geraghty.

‘Before starting, make sure you do have the correct equipment for your tile type, and do not assume a multi-functional tool will work for all, especially for more delicate tiles.’

‘For example, if you’re cutting such as porcelain, then you should only use a wet-saw cutter as anything else will be too tough. A multi-tool can replace the need for a tile nipper, used to make circular cuts in a ceramic tile, however they cannot replace a manual tile cutter.’

‘Then, ensure you have the necessary protective wear, including goggles and gloves, as tile cutting will create a lot of dust.’

Conclusion

To be honest, it’s not a tough job to cut a ceramic tile. All you need is the ability to measure precisely and have proper focus. Without the need of any expensive tools, you can finish the cuts in a couple of days.

Using any of the above three methods, you can succeed in cutting ceramic tile without any obstacles.

Based on your requirements, budget and also the type of cut you want to make, use a suitable tool and make a ceramic tile cut. If you have any doubts regarding the usage of any tool, approach in the comment section for further guidance.

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