How to cut tiles
Whenever you are tiling a floor or wall, it is more than likely that you will need to cut tiles to fit a specific space or alternatively to help achieve a more complex laying pattern.
When cutting tiles, it is important to have the right tools. Why? Whether it’s a tile cutter, tile saw or tile scorer, using the right tools will ensure a clean and tidy cut each time, making your life easier when it comes to fixing that tile to the floor or wall. Read on for everything you need to know about cutting tiles in your home. Hopefully you find it both enjoyable and rewarding – even if you’re a DIY newbie.
Cutting tiles can leave lots of sharp edges, as well as fragments, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. Before you do anything make sure you are wearing the appropriate protective equipment such as gloves and googles. Kneepads are also a nice thing to have as tiling tends to involve a lot of time spent on your hands and knees, but they aren’t an essential.
What is the best way to cut tiles?
Tiles can be cut in a variety of ways depending on the tile and the way in which the tile needs to be cut. If you are cutting ceramic tiles, for instance, then a tile scribe, tile saw or a suitable tile cutter should be more than adequate to give you a professional finish.
When it comes to porcelain tiles, which tend to be stronger, then make sure you use a suitable tile cutter and the correct blade. More often than not you will find that an electric tile cutter with the correct diamond-blade is the best option. However, in bathrooms, where you might have to cut around toilets, for those cuts that cannot be achieved using a machine, then invariably a tile nipper is the perfect tool for the job.
How to use a manual tile cutter
Manual tile cutters (sometimes known as score and snap or rail cutters) are perfect for cutting ceramic, porcelain and mosaic tiles. They follow a simple process of scoring a tile, cutting along the score line using a scoring wheel attached to a rail and then using a breaker to snap the tile. If the cut isn’t clean, and the edges of the tile look slightly rough, use a tile file to smooth the edges.
The only downside to a manual tile cutter is that if you are planning on cutting thicker porcelain tiles, especially garden tiles, then you will need to invest in an electric tile cutter or wet saw.
When it comes to tiling, you can’t be overprepared. The more working equipment you have, the quicker you’ll be able to complete your project. With this in mind it’s also worth investing in a scoring wheel replacement for your tile cutter just in case. Click here to see our range of suitable replacements.
How to use an electric tile cutter
Electric tile cutters (also known as a wet cutter) use water to keep both the blade and tile cool at all times. This ensures a better cut, less friction through the tile (preventing cracking), less dust and a longer lasting blade. These particular cutters tend to be used to cut hard porcelain, marble, granite and other natural stones (as well as outdoor tiles). They are equally easy to use as their manual counterparts. Simply press the area of the tile to be cut gently against the blade and let it do the work (not the other way round).
Can you use an angle grinder to cut tiles?
Angle grinders can also be used to cut tiles. However, they spin much faster than wet cutters so you must ensure you have the right blade. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines on which disc to use prior to starting your project as using the wrong blade on an angle grinder can cause friction making the tile to heat up too fast, often causing cracking and chipping.
How to use tile nippers
Tile nippers are brilliant for cutting small, rounded edges on ceramic and porcelain tiles up to 8mm thick (as well as for cutting smaller glass mosaics). It is always advisable to mark the area that needs to be cut with a pencil and then score using a scribe before making your cuts with your tile nipper.
Take your time with your tile nippers, making slow, gradual cuts. That way you avoid snipping off too much. Don’t forget to wear your gloves and safety goggles when nipping and smooth off any rough edges with a tile file before fitting your tiles.
Watch our video
Tile Warehouse has teamed up with YouTuber ‘Proper DIY’ to show you how to cut both ceramic and porcelain tiles at home. This short video also includes advice on using Tile Nippers and Tile Files.
Need more information?
If you have any questions regarding cutting tiles, then feel free to contact our Customer Services team using our web chat facility. They will be more than happy to help.