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How to Cut Tile

How to Cut Tile


All tools that can be used for tile cutting are based on two basic technologies: ceramic tile is either notched by a cutter and then broken by hands or cut by an abrasive tool rotary driven at a high speed. The first technology is implemented with the help of such tools as a glass cutter, tile cutter or pincers, while the second technology requires using an angle grinder or a special tile saw.

The advantage of the first method is that it doesn’t require any power source and doesn’t produce much dust in the process of cutting. However, this technology allows cutting only in a straight line and doesn’t guarantee perfect results when cutting thin strips of tile. Besides, some types of tile are too thick or firm to use this cutting method.

On the other hand, using a high-speed tool you will be able to cut any type of tile and to get almost any shapes, but it requires electricity supply, while its use leads to significant dustiness on a working site. In addition, electric tools feature higher price compared to a rather cheap glass cutter or pincers, which can be found almost in every household. So, it makes no sense to buy a power tool specifically for cutting tiles if the work scope is very small. On the other hand, if you plan to cut a large number of tiles, it will be smart to consider purchasing a specific tool.


Ceramic tile is the most common type of tile that can be found in our homes. It comes in multiple colors, shapes and sizes, including decorative accents like these ones. This allows creating beautiful installations, but often requires cutting tile in a straight line to fit sizes of spaces, which you are going to decorate. So, let’s discuss the basic DIY methods of making rectilinear cuts.

how to cut tile

Using a glass cutter

The obvious advantages of a glass cutterare its low cost and ease of use. However, there is a higher risk to damage your tile, especially when it comes to firm types of tile.

If you choose a glass cutter, take a tile and mark out the part that should be cut by drawing a straight line (use a pencil and a ruler). Then put the ruler right to the line and scratch the line along the ruler with the glass cutter, pressing it carefully, but firmly against the tile surface. Then carefully break the tile making an abrupt movement, while applying much force to the cutting line. To make the task easier, put the tile on the edge of a table or other hard surface in such a way as to line up the scratch with the edge. If the fracture line is flat enough, then just process it with sandpaper. Otherwise, ragged edges can be removed by pincers or tile nippers and then grinded.

how to cut tile using handled tile cutter

Using a handheld tile cutter

This tool facilitates the tile cutting greatly, especially if you have a lot of tile to cut. You can get both straight cuts and 45 degreeangles, while it is quite easy to master the tool. Generally, a handheld tile cutter includes a platform, a cutter and a handle on a carriage. The cutter can be designed as a diamond tip or a metal wheel.

Take a tile and mark out the part that should be cut as described above. Put your tile cutter on a flat surface. Insert the tile into the tool and fix it using a pressing part, while matching the line on the tile surface with the central line on the tool platform. Then press the handle and scratch the line moving the cutter from the bottom upwards. You need to press the handle heavily enough to cut the tile in one pass (but don’t go a bridge too far!). When the scratch is made, just press the handle slightly and the tile will break in two pieces directly in the line that you cut.

It is quite easy to cut different types of tile using an angle grinder, but it produces a lot of noise, dust and even sparks, so you need to use protective equipment, such as spectacles and a respirator. At the same time with the help of this tool you can get even curly cuts, while the process will take less time than when cutting with a glass cutter. However, it is reasonable to use an angle grinder for cutting thick and firm floor tiles, whereas in other cases you can handle the task using just hand tools.

First, you need to make the marks on the tile and take a diamond grinding wheel for your angle grinder. Then put the tile on the flat surface leaving the part, which you are going to cut off, hanging over the surface edge. Then make a shallow scratch on the tile surface, holding the wheels lightly at an angle to the tile surface. Don’t press the tool against the surface too heavily, but you may make deeper notches on the edges of the tile. Move the grinder away from you and cut with the tool speed of no more than 3.5 thousand rpm. Gradually, make the notch deeper - you need to make several passes to get the desired result. Then turn off the angle grinder and break the tile in a way described for a glass cutter. If necessary, process the cut edge using sandpaper.


how to cut glass mosaic tile

Today glass mosaic tile is used in multiple kitchen, bathroom and backsplash designs due to its high decorative and functional quality, flexibility and wide range of patterns. Glass mosaic tile is often used to create beautiful mosaic panels, but sometimes implementation of such projects requires cutting glass tile, which is quite brittle. Thus, you may need advice on how to cut mosaic tile in order to get pieces with clean edges and avoid chipping.

The best way to cut glass mosaic tile is to use a handheld tile cutter or an electric tile saw. Also, you can get the desired effect cutting the tile by a glass cutter and then breaking it using pincers. To avoid damaging the glass surface, use some cloth to cover it.


how to cut porcelain tile

Porcelain tile is famous for its higher density, durability and water resistance, while its surface is smoother and better textured. But being harder, porcelain tile poses a challenge when it comes to cutting it. It is recommended to use either an angle grinder or a tile saw with a diamond blade to make clean cuts.

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