How to cut tile without a tile cutter: a few simple ways

Not every home craftsman has in his arsenal of expensive professional devices. But sometimes when laying small tiled surfaces there is a problem, how to cut a tile without a tile cutter, which can cause certain difficulties. In such a situation, use a variety of available technology, observing the recommended sequence of actions. Pre-soak the material for 40-45 minutes in cool water.

When working with ceramic tiles, you need to perform a variety of types of cuts.

  • Cutting the material in a straight line is predominant. It is taken into account that if there is less than 20 mm to the side edges, this kind of cut is considered shaped.
  • It is also sometimes necessary to cut a round hole of a certain diameter in the tile.
  • Make shaped notches if necessary.
  • To obtain mosaic, small-sized elements prefer the method of crushing the ceramic tiles into separate pieces. In this situation, lay the material in a dense bag and break it into the necessary fragments with a heavy sledgehammer.

Ceramic Tile Cutting Options

Each of the methods is good in its own way and is suitable in this or that case. What to cut ceramic tiles with? There are three basic ways to cut ceramic tiles evenly:

  • Using an angle grinder with an appropriate wheel.
  • Using an electric, handheld tile cutter or special pliers.
  • Hand tools for cutting ceramic tile, such as a glass cutter, a well-sharpened nail or drill.

In order to understand all the subtleties of work, you need to consider each option in detail.

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How to Cut Ceramic Tile with a Handheld Tile Cutter?

The handheld tile cutter is the optimal tool for cutting ceramic tiles at home. For one-time applications it is sufficient to use a glass cutter, cutter and even a nail. But if you are facing a large repair with tiling or ceramic tile, it makes sense to buy this tool.

What is a hand held tile cutter?

  • The base is the supporting base for all other elements of the tile cutter.
  • A guide to help you move the cutter.
  • Cutter or cutting element. a hard metal roller with a sharp edge, mounted on an axle.
  • Handle for moving the cutter along a cutting line.

Such a device has significant advantages in operation:

  • Easy to use, thanks to uncomplicated design.
  • Using the handle as leverage to optimize the cutting force.
  • Precise and even cut.
  • Versatility. can be used for both ceramic and glazed tiles.

If you are new to using a tile cutter, it’s a good idea to first practice on an unnecessary, broken tile to learn how to cut a tile cleanly and beautifully.

So, how to cut ceramic tiles?

  • Draw a line on the face with a marker or pencil for the trimmer of the cut.
  • Use the special grips or your free hand to fix the tile relative to the cutting element.
  • Apply a drop of machine oil on the roller to reduce friction and achieve a smooth cut.
  • Raise the handle, bring the roller into contact with the tile face.
  • Slide the handle smoothly toward you, keeping the pressure to a comfortable level. Insufficient pressure creates an incision of insufficient depth, and excessive pressure leads to cracks in the face surface.
  • Remove the notched tile from the cutter, place it with the notch along the edge of the table or use a flat block to flatten it, and sharply press it along the notch.
  • If necessary, grind the edge with an emery or stone.

Using an electric tile cutter

This is an expensive professional tool that will cut any tile equally quickly, evenly and accurately. With its help, cutting in a straight line and at an angle of 45 degrees, drilling holes and recesses, as well as shaped cutting is available. The strips cut are less than 5 millimeters wide. Smooth, slightly rounded cut edges.

Some models work with a tile submerged in water, others require only regular wetting of the cut. This method prevents dust from forming.

Curved carving

The tool consists of a base, a knife, and an electric motor, and the cutting process is as follows:

  • The tray is filled with water at the level of the cutting disc, so that it is lowered into it by 2-3 centimeters (for submersible models).
  • The tile is clamped and slowly moved under the cutter according to the marking. The force must be uniform to avoid chipping and jamming the motor.
  • To cut a corner, repeat the procedure twice in sections with the desired angle.
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Like any similar tool, the electric tile cutter requires compliance with safety requirements and the use of protective equipment.

For quality work, it is necessary to change worn discs and water in time.

Tile cutting methods

The following methods are mostly suitable for cutting tile at home. But also applicable or limitedly applicable to other types of tiles. You can cut tiles without a tile cutter in the following ways:

Angle grinder (angle grinder)

Generally speaking, it is a versatile tool. Just as craftsmen used to be able to cut down a house with a single axe, so now with a single angle grinder they can cut out anything. The author has witnessed how to cut an even round hole with a diameter of 5 cm.

Note! The method is suitable for straight, shaped types and with minimal skill in handling the tool curved lines of any configuration.

  • angle grinder. Any power and any kind;
  • Cutting wheel (stone or diamond);
  • Protective helmet or goggles (mandatory);
  • Protective fully covered suit and gloves (recommended);
  • Respirator (recommended);
  • Clamp. Additionally in some cases (clamp or vice).

Pre-marking the tile, preferably with a line scratched with any sharp instrument. As a last resort, it is acceptable to draw a line with a construction marker. A lot of dust is generated and the marked lines can be rubbed off when you remove it.

Straight, small cuts along the edges of the tile can be made by laying the tile on a flat surface on a table or on the floor. First cut a few millimeters into the surface. With this operation, the own gravity of the tile and the friction force are enough to hold the product in place. For deeper cuts, it may be necessary to place additional pressure on the edge or have an assistant make the marks. With shaped cuts, it is better to attach the product with a clamp to the table top or clamp it in a vice, previously placing under the jaws of a piece of cardboard or a thick cloth.

Tip! Lay a piece of plywood under the product to avoid damaging the surface of the table or the floor.

  • On the outer edge, the marks are passed several times along the entire length. Up to 3 mm deepened in one pass. Repeat the operation until the result is achieved;
  • For small cuts, up to 2 cm in length, all at once to the full thickness;
  • Marks must be placed on both sides. Superficial cuts (up to 3 mm) are made along the front side. Then cut backwards (up to 3 mm per pass) until they have reached their destination. This method avoids accidental damage to the face with the cutting tool.

Recommended for difficult cuts: on edges or curved surfaces. The fact that with this method a lot of dust, the consumption of the cutting blade, time and labor costs. A normal straight trimmer line can be cut much more easily.

Electric jigsaw

If no tile cutter or angle grinder is available, an electric jigsaw may be appropriate. An underestimated tool by many!

Please note! A handheld jigsaw can be used in a similar manner with a stone saw. But the cutting speed will be an order of magnitude lower.

  • Electric jigsaw. Any power;
  • Stone saw;
  • Safety goggles (recommended).

Saws in a conventional manner. Sawing too rounded kerfs is problematic, the saw gets stuck. Not thick (wall) tiles can be sawn well. It is very difficult to cut porcelain stoneware in this way. For a little relief it is proposed to pre-soak the material.

Recommended when cutting curved sections with a large radius of curvature.

Glass cutter or any pointed tool

Only tile can be cut with this method. And only in a straight line. Another restriction. the pieces should not be less than 2 cm wide.

  • Glass cutter. Any tool with a sharpened cutting edge can be used instead of a glass cutter. Preferably, the cutting tool should be made of hard materials: diamond, beater, etc.д. As examples of cutting tools: drills, lance drills, utility knife, etc;
  • A metal ruler or any straight metal rail. As a last resort, any material. But then you will need to be very careful to scratch the cut trimmer line, as you can cut through the ruler and the scratch will go sideways on the tile.

To get a sharp cut without any chips and go to the side the scratch must be applied accurately. It is sufficient to scratch the upper, glossy layer.

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Advice! Pay attention to the beginning and end of the scratch when applying the risk. Often, at the very beginning and at the very end, the scratch is not deep enough. It has to do with insufficient pressure and psychology. At the very beginning, just trying it on and relieving the pressure. At the very end, there is an acceleration and the risk is “smeared. This can cause the break in these areas to go sideways.

When risking with a knife, several passes are made to get a deep scratch.

The penetration of the scratch depends on the hardness and sharpness of the tool. If the tool is hard and sufficiently sharpened (glass cutter with sharp roller, lance head sharpened pobedite drill bit, etc), then it needs several passes.д.), it is enough to make one pass with a good force. If the instrument is blunt or made of soft material (utility knife), several passes are necessary. Eventually the groove should deepen below the glossy layer.

  • A sharp, even corner. Take the tile with both hands on different sides of the risk. Strike sharply from a distance of 5.10 cm against the corner at the back of the piece. Before doing that, aim well so that the impact is as close as possible to the point of rupture. The angle can be anything, as long as it is sharp and hard (metal corner, wooden bar). It is desirable for convenience, that the angle was raised above the surface of about 10 centimeters. Otherwise, it is possible that when you hit the surface with your hand, the impact will go sideways and the tile will break not along the groove;
  • On a hard rod. The tile is laid on a long solid rod, the back side is aligned on it by the place of the risks. Then sharply press on both sides with two hands. The rod can be any. flat, with a diameter of about 8 to 15 mm (a drill, a round pencil, etc.).д.). Preferably, the length should be at least 2/3 of the length of the rift. You can break out parts, not through the entire length of the tile;
  • Between the clamps. The method is suitable both for breaking off through the whole tile and for breaking out large parts. Approaches are different, but the essence is the same. It is required to fix the product between the two clamps on the place of the break. It can be two bars or thick plywood. You can make a small machine: two sheets of plywood are fastened at one end with self-tapping screws, the tile is placed inside by pushing them apart with force. The main thing is to have even, sharp edges and accurate setting of the material on the line for the trimmer risks. After installation, we additionally clamp the construction with our own weight and sharply press on the protruding edge.

How to cut tiles properly with a handheld tile cutter

This procedure is performed without any problems, it is enough to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

  • to mark the trimmer line of the cut. This can be done with a marker or a pencil, a marker. depending on the surface of the product. For models with a laser pointer, this point can be skipped;
  • The tile is fixed on the platform so that the cutting trimmer line and the wheel align as closely as possible. If you need to cut diagonally or at an angle, it is convenient to use a model with a square and an angle marker. If the simplest fixture is used, without supporting angles, simply unfold the tile in the desired position;
  • By moving the carriage, a straight cut is made to the end of the tile;
  • lower the lever, thus applying pressure to the tile on both sides of the notch. Ceramic splits along the cutting line.

If the lever is not strong enough, you can let the tile rest on the floor with a narrow slat under the notch line, and push (step on it, put heavy objects) on both sides of the cut at the same time.

Important: Increasing the distance from the cutting line to the load application points, of course, increases the leverage and reduces the force. But at the same time it increases the risk of breaking the panel not along the notch, but arbitrarily.

  • The cut is made once, several times to spend the cutter in one place is not worth it. the break will be uneven, with jagged edges;
  • The force applied to cut the glaze, should be strictly dosed, as well as the impact on the lever to break the panel. It is better to practice on waste or unnecessary scraps before doing the responsible work;
  • backlash torch (wheel) and its incomplete mobility (snags, jerking motion) are not acceptable, the device should be adjusted and lubricated before starting work;
  • Before cutting, check that the platform is clean (no debris, splinters, coarse dust) and stable.
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Ceramic tiles should be cut according to the same principles, taking into account the greater strength of the material. effort may be required to make the cut and break the panel.

In addition, a short video on exactly how a handheld tile cutter of standard design works.

Alternative for carrying out the work

It is not always possible to cut a tile with the presented tools, so you can use other methods at home. This includes an ordinary drill, on which certain nozzles are installed and with their help make cuts, holes or simply rounding the edges. On how to make holes in ceramics, see this helpful

  • Ballerina. With the nozzle, you can make a hole of the desired diameter, due to the clamp, which is placed in the center of the tile, and a rotating knife.
  • Crown. This bit has a round shape and diamond-powdered teeth. Used for holes.
  • Tubular drill bit. Visually similar to an ordinary tube of hard alloys, used for drilling holes for pipes.

After drilling, you can use cutters, which will be used to bite off part of the tile on the corners. The pliers can be used to make a semicircle and remove the sharp parts. For three original ways to cut tiles, see this

If a jigsaw will be used for cutting, the knives must be diamond-tipped. To cut a floor tile, the cutting lines should be placed on the weight. The work is done slowly and accurately. The absence of chips is one of the advantages of the jigsaw.

For the final choice, it is recommended to get acquainted with each tool and evaluate their advantages with disadvantages:

Name Features Advantages Advantages Disadvantages
Glass cutter Allows you to make only straight lines, horizontally, vertically and diagonally. Great for small volumes. Cannot be used on tiles that are thicker than 5 mm, it is difficult to make small lines. After trimming, the cut line must be grinded.
Manual tile cutter Makes straight and diagonal lines. Can cut through thick material, about 15 mm and make the cut with a strip width of 5 mm or more. It is necessary to sand the edges after the work is done.
Electric tile cutter The tool is a professional tool. It is possible to make any cut, of different length and shape. Can cut holes. No need to sand the material after work. Expensive to buy.
angle grinder Does not require any special skills, but shaped cuts do require dexterity. It is possible to make a shaped cut and you can work with almost any kind of material. High probability of tile damage, especially if the work is done at high speed. When using a lot of dust is formed.

Inspecting the availability of a tool at home, you should make test cuts on the old tile, and only then begin to work on new tiles. Depending on the availability of equipment you can make a cut of the floor tiles yourself, but if there is no skill, then it is advisable to entrust the matter to a master.

How to prepare the floor for tile installation

Choosing and laying tiles in the living room on the floor

Cutting oblique lines and shaped edges

Preliminarily the shape of the cut is marked on the slab. It can be a corner or even a corner for installing tiles in a place where the wall protrusion or pipe outlet. After that, either use an electric machine to carefully and piecemeal cut out all the excess, or use pliers.

For the second option, gently run the cutting wheel along the cut line. After that, using pliers or pliers, literally chew off a piece of tile, until you get to the edge of the limiting line. You can use coarse sandpaper or an emery board to finish an even finish.

Even if the shape cutting is done on an electric machine, it is sometimes necessary to finish the line for the trimmer with pliers.

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