How To Cut Tile Without A Wet Saw And What Do You Need


Adjust the saw to cut to a depth of 1/8 inch into the tile; not completely through it. In saws with a blade that lowers, the depth is usually adjusted at the back end of the saw blade near the hinge. In some models, it is the platform that requires adjusting, and not the blade. Precision with the depth of the cut is not critical, but the blade should not cut through more than half of the tile’s thickness.


#4 How to Cut a Porcelain Tile Using a Wet Saw

A wet tile saw cuts tiles made of ceramic and porcelain leaving a clean, smooth edge. As mentioned, owning a wet saw is not economically feasible.

However, you might as well come across certain situations where you need to weigh the pros and cons and use a wet saw for cutting a porcelain tile. It is the best way to cut a porcelain tile in my honest opinion. 

Although they can chip the surface of porcelain ti

Although they can chip the surface of porcelain tiles so in order to ensure a cleaner cut, you should use a wet saw with an adjustable blade. Working slowly and using a fresh blade always helps.

Notching the Tile to Avoid Chips

A great way to avoid chipping on porcelain tiles is to notch the tile before cutting through. Follow the below steps to do so:

  • Set your tile saw blade upon the tile
  • Mark the point where you wish to notch
  • Place the tile with the marking facing the blade but do not let them get in touch yet and turn on your saw
  • Push the tile towards the blade and cut an inch for small tiles (go till 2 inches for larger tiles) and turn it off
  • Flip the tile, turn on the saw and cut where you made the notch earlier

This is why one should know how to cut a porcelain tile with a wet saw, a cutting machine or a blade.

  • Use a fresh sharpened blade and always remember to cut slowly in order to get clean cuts
  • It is mandatory to mark the cutting line with a wax pencil before you start cutting porcelain tile. This is to ensure the precision in the size and the chipping can be avoided by masking the edges with a suitable tape.
  • Fill the reservoir with water upto the blade dipping into it and place the tile depending upon where your blade cuts from (above/below)
  • Adjust your saw in a way that it can cut upto 1/8 inch deep into the tile. You don’t want to cut through or more than half through the tile
  • After marking the edges, take a cutter and score the line to make the clean cuts. Be sure that the tile is levelled along the blade to avoid any distortions or bends. Now, apply pressure and score the tile towards the down for it to snap. Once cut, you can either continue to the final cut or notch the tile before that.

My tiles are chipping

Tiles are notoriously hardy, but this does not mean that they are indestructible. If a heavy object is dropped onto a glazed tile (porcelain or ceramic), there is a possibility that the tile will chip or crack, just as there is with any other kind of hard floor surface. The angle at which the object is dropped is important.

The majority of the time, a chip in a tile will appear to be a crater in the tile because the chip will have broken through the glaze and into the biscuit of the tile. Behind the colored surface or glaze on a tile is a layer of clay known as the biscuit. This clay makes up the body of the tile.

How to Cut Glazed Porcelain Tile

Installing glazed porcelain tile as part of a do-it-yourself project will allow you to create a floor that is both aesthetically pleasing and extremely durable. In order to finish the process, the tiles need to be cut in order to ensure that they will fit together properly.

Step 1 – Note Dimensions

Take accurate measurements of the space in which you plan to install the tile so that you can determine the size of the tile that will be required. Make a mark with a felt-tip pen at the point on the underside of the tile that will serve as the cutting guide for the tile.

Step 2: Establishing a Score Line

Put the tile down on the cutting board, and make sure you have a firm grip on it so that it doesn’t move around by accident. Place the straightedge on the tile, and then use the pointed end of a screwdriver to score a line along the length of the straightedge. This will create a line that runs the entire length of the tile.

Step 3: Make the Cuts

While maintaining the position of the straightedge, run the blade of the glass cutter along the scoreline of the glazed porcelain tile. The scoreline will serve as a guide for this step. Maintaining a firm pressure with the cutter against the surface, move it in a single direction along the surface. This will result in a cut that is deeper than what can be achieved by simply scoring the surface. When you apply some light pressure to the tile while holding it firmly in both hands and bending it, the tile will break along the line.

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.

How To Cut Tile Without A Wet Saw : Cutting a Ceramic Tile

Another common question is how to cut ceramic tile without a wet saw. For simple straight cuts, you can always opt for a carbide tipped pen. Though this process can be tedious if you are cutting many tiles for single tiles, it gets the job done.

Similar to using a glass cutter, you will have to draw a straight line across the tile where you want to cut using a square. Then use the pencil to cut the marked line. Once done, you can use clippers to snap the tile in two.

In this process, you may have to use a sander to remove any rough surfaces left after cutting the tile. This can also be a method that can work for how to cut mosaic tile without a wet saw.

What is the best tool to cut tile?

‘There are many different types of tiles, and many different machines that will work on them.’ says Ash.

‘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.’

Ready to rent a tile saw? They’re available at your local home improvement stores including Home Depot (opens in new tab) and Lowe’s (opens in new tab).

You can use a manual cutter, available from Amazon (opens in new tab) 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.

Geraghty adds: ‘A tile cutter is designed to carefully cut ceramic and porcelain to reduce the risk of shattering. This is a great tool to use as it is available in either manual, or powered variants to best suit your needs.’

Safety notice: With all tile cutting methods be sure to wear safety goggles (opens in new tab) and utility gloves (opens in new tab), both of which you can buy on Amazon. 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.

(Image credit: Ca’ Pietra)


Rotate the tile to the opposite side of the initial cut, which is the opposite end of the mark or scored line.

5 Easy Ways To Learn How to Cut Porcelain Tile Without a Wet Saw

 1. How to cut porcelain tile using a tile Nipper 

A time a nipper is an excellent tool for cutting circular and arcs sections of tiles generally, Which is very difficult to achieve with a wet saw With this advantage over the wet saw, the tile nipper finds its way into this list as a brilliant alternative to the wet saw, also the tile nipper gives excellent cuts when used to do regular tile cutting and comes in a very easy to use form.

Instructions for proper use of the tile nipper to cut porcelain tile

  1. Prepare the tile you wish to cut by marking it. This you can do using a marker or a good pencil to draw the lines on the porcelain tile that you wish to cut.
  2. Feed the tile nipper with the tile you have marked, hold the tile at the center of your marked line and don’t apply pressure, as the pressure can break the tiles.
  3. After you are done the cutting, you can use a rub brick to smoothen the tile edges, where they don’t come out smooth.
  4. If you follow through steps 1-3, your porcelain tile should be ready for use now!

2. How to cut porcelain tile, using an Angle grinder

An angle grinder doubles as an excellent alternative to the wet saw  as it can give cuts in different amazing styles and shapes, including the L-shapes and cut, the circle, straight and square shapes and cuts.

The angle grinder is perfect for producing results when the cuts and shapes are curved cuts.

Instructions for proper use of the angle grinder to cut porcelain tiles

To produce the best results the following instructions will serve as a guide.

  1. Mark out the shape which you seek to cut on the tile, a marker or a pencil will do a perfect job here.
  2. Mark your desired shape on both sides of your tile and apply little or no pressure when you feed the tile to the angle grinder.
  3. To be sure you are making the right cut, make multiple small cuts and turn over the tile; this will help you maintain control.
  4. If the edges don’t come out smooth after cutting, you can use an abrasive wheel to smoothen it, after your cut.

3. Cutting Porcelain tile, using a tile cutter

A manual tile cutter allows you to make several adjustments to the tile and the type of cut you want;

this makes the tile cutter an alternative to the wet saw, as it also produces amazing results just like the wet saw.

Instructions for proper use of the tile cutter to cut porcelain tiles

  1. The first step to using a tile cutter to cut a porcelain tile is to look and adjust the tile cutter guide, so it can fit properly.
  2. Feed the tile to the tile cutter, the marked position and then place the cutter on the edge of the tile.
  3. Push down on the tile cutter and slide the cutter across the marked lines
  4. Once you get to the end, press down.
  5. The tile will break into two smooth pieces and your cut is ready.

4. How to cut porcelain tile using a wet wheel

Also known as the diamond blade, the wet wheel is used to cut tough and very hard materials, the diamonds fixed at the edges of the blade, makes cutting easy and smooth.

All of this qualifies the diamond blade as a good alternative to the wet saw.

Instructions for the proper use of the wet wheel to cut porcelain 

They are two types of the wet wheel machine, one using your top quality tile saw and the other using a wet wheel. Below are the instructions for safe and proper use.

  1. Before going ahead to cut, ensure that the tile is supported either by plywood or any support, so the tile doesn’t break off easily.
  2. Adjust the edges of the tile with the help of the cutting wheel and ensure that you guide it over the blade of the diamond wheel, till the cut is complete.
  3. The use of force is not advised.

5. Cutting a porcelain tile, using a drill bit

Drill bits are amazing when used to create cuts and holes in a porcelain tile, to have a clean drill hole in the porcelain tile to fit your screws, your plumbing pipes and also your radiators spaces, a drill bit comes top of the list, which qualifies it as an alternative to the wet saw.

Instructions for proper use of the drill bit to cut porcelain tiles

  1. Mark the positions on the porcelain tile, where the holes are to be drilled.
  2. Fix the tile properly to avoid twist, when drilling.
  3. Start drilling, do this slowly to cut the hole without overheating.

How to Cut Tile with a Grinder

To cut tile with an angle grinder, I will advise you to use the Dewalt XP4. The reason behind suggesting that particular blade is these are continuous rim blades meaning they are not rough. When installing the blade in your angle grinder, use the arrow mark on both grinder and in the blades as a reference; they must be matched. And also, while fastening the retaining lugs, consider the flatter side, not the wobble side.

Now let’s learn how to cut tile with a grinder. Follow the steps below.

  1. Wear goggles, a dust mask, and gloves to protect your hands
  2. Secure the tile below with bricks or heavy objects
  3. Attach the grinder to the power cord and plug-in
  4. Apply pressure to the blade by hand, lowering it into position over the tile being cut
  5. Slowly lower the angle grinder’s cutting wheel onto the tile surface, Creating consistent pressure while holding down the trigger. Continue rotating the wheel until the desired length is reached.

Howto Use Tile Nippers

A pair of tile nippers are an essential part of the tiler’s toolbag, coming in handy with its time to finesse a small piece of tile or make circle cuts. Like your tile cutter, you’ll want to upgrade your nippers to the RUBI nippers for porcelain tiles. The tungsten carbide scoring wheels offer lighter and smoother penetration to ensure a clean score on narrow strips under 1cm wide.

For a clean break, once you make your cut, RUBI parrot nippers have a similar tungsten carbide design to handle porcelain.

Tile Nipper Tips

When making circle cuts in porcelain, mark your score line and use your wet saw or manual cutter to trim back the edges so that you can easily work with your tile nippers.

For straight, narrow cuts, score your line with your tile cutter. Position the tile on the edge of a surface, such as a workbench, so the scoreline is on the edge.

When nipping, start with the two ends first and work your way toward the center of the scoreline. Starting at one end, fit the tooth of the nippers in the scoreline and start taking small bites out of the tile by applying firm pressure.

You don’t want to go too fast while nipping, as that can damage the tile. If you have a stubborn piece, score it deeper and try to nip it again. If you have to apply too much force, you’ll likely break the tile the wrong way.

When you’re done nipping, you’ll often have a rough edge, especially where the nips met. Take a rub brick, like the RUBI Diamond Polishing Pad, to smooth out the sharp edges.

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