Tools for Cutting Tile
Even though tile is a rigid material, it can be cut to fit a variety of applications. With the proper tools, tile can be trimmed, notched, and drilled. If you’re planning only one tile project, consider renting the more expensive pieces of equipment.
1. Coping saw with rod saw blade
2. Tile nippers
3. Hand-held tile cutter
4. Tile stone
5. Wet saw
6. Diamond blade
7. Tile cutter
Coping saws with rod saw blades are usually adequate for cutting soft tile, such as wall tile.
Tile nippers are used to create cur ves and circles. Tile is first marked with the scoring wheel of a hand-held tile cutter or a wet saw blade to create a cutting guide.
Hand-held tile cutters are used to snap tiles one at a time. They are often used for cutting mosaic tiles after they have been scored.
Tile stones file away rough edges left by tile nippers and hand-held tile cutters. Stones can also be used to shave off small amounts of tile for fitting.
Wet saws, also called “tile saws”, employ water to cool both the blade and the tile during cutting. This tool is used primarily for cutting floor tile – especially natural stone tile – but it is also useful for quickly cutting large quantities of tile or notches in hard tile.
Diamond blades are used on hand-held wet saws and grinders to cut through the hardest tile materials such as pavers, marble, granite, slate, and other natural stone.
Tile cutters are quick, efficient tools for scoring and cutting straight lines in most types of light – to medium-weight tile.
Grinders come in handy for cutting granite and marble when equipped with a diamond blade. Cuts made with this hand tool will be less accurate than with awet saw, so it is best used to cut tile for areas that will be covered with molding or fixtures.
Careful planning will help you eliminate unnecessary cuts, but most tile jobs require cutting at least a few tiles and some jobs require cutting a large number of tiles, no matter how carefully you plan. For a few straight cuts on light- to medium-weight tile, use a snap cutter. If you’re working with heavy tile or a large number of cuts on any kind of tile, a wet saw greatly simplifies the job. When using a wet saw, wear safety glasses and hearing protection. Make sure the blade is in good condition and the water container is full. Never use the saw without water, even for a few seconds.
Other cutting tools include nippers, hand-held tile cutters, and rod saws. Nippers can be used on most types of tile, but a rod saw is most effective with wall tile, which is generally fairly soft.
A note of caution: hand-held tile cutters and tile nippers can create razor-sharp edges. Handle freshly cut tile carefully, and immediately round over the edges with a tile stone.
Using a Snap Cutter
1. Mark a cutting line on the tile with a pencil, then place the tile in the cutter so the cutting wheel is directly over the line. While pressing down firmly on the wheel handle, run the wheel across the tile to score the surface. For a clean cut, score the tile only once.
2. Snap the tile along the scored line, as directed by the tool manufacturer. Usually, snapping the tile is accomplished by depressing a lever on the tile cutter.