When you’re tiling a room, whether it’s the walls or floors, it’s inevitable that there will be a few tricky places where some cuts in a tile are needed.

But renting or buying a tile cutter isn’t always practical for a quick tiling job. Not to mention, power tools like a tile cutter can be dangerous – especially for those who are inexperienced.

Luckily, there are a few ways to cut tiles without the need for an expensive and cumbersome tile cutter. Below, we go through the different tools you can use to cut tiles to give you the perfect tiling job for your home project.

When should I use a tile cutter?

Unfortunately, not all tiles can be cut without a tile cutter. Thicker tiles such as natural stone, marble and porcelain will usually need a diamond-tipped wet saw to cut through them. You should only use a tile cutter if you’re an experienced DIYer or a professional.

However slate and ceramic tiles are cheap, widely available and work well for cutting without a tile cutter. Slate is a great material for outdoor projects, while ceramic tiles can be used in almost any room in the home. Read on to find out the different methods and tools available for cutting tiles.

Ways to cut tiles

Once you know what kind of tile you’re working with and whether it’s suitable for cutting without a specialist tile cutter, you can get started with simple and easy-to-use tools for your tiling project.

With all of these methods you should take care to have the proper safety equipment in place. Make sure to be wearing gloves and protective eyewear when necessary. Keep your hands away from any blades at all times. When not in use, pack your tools away correctly and keep away from young children and pets.

Tile scorer

A tile scorer, or tile pencil, is a carbide-tipped pointed blade that works well for cutting smaller and lighter tiles. A tile scorer is low-cost and good for a small amount of tiles that need cutting or trimming.

To use a tile scorer, you’ll need a ruler and pencil or pen to mark where you’d like to cut the tile. Run the tile scorer along the line you’ve drawn, using the ruler again to make sure you’re on track and to avoid breakages. To break the tile, place it on the edge of a hard, stable surface like a workbench and press down until broken.

Manual cutter

A manual tile cutter is similar to that of a paper cutter, with a handle that runs along a smooth rail. A manual cutter is great for if you have some straight lines that need cutting on a larger amount of tiles, but want to keep the cost of your project down.

To use a manual tile cutter, mark out the line you’d like to cut on your tiles. Place the tile into the manual cutter, making sure the wheel is aligned to the mark you’ve made. Gently apply pressure to the tile using the cutting wheel, working to create a groove in the tile. Once it’s deep enough, you should be able to snap the tile with a clean break using the handle.

Carbide hacksaw

A hacksaw is a good option for those tricky tile cuts you need to make, as the blade gives you more control over where it cuts. It’s important that the hacksaw has a carbide blade so it won’t snap while you’re sawing the tile.

To use a hacksaw for cutting tiles, mark out where you want to cut the tile. Secure the tile to a workbench or similar hard surface with a clamp to prevent slipping. Gently cut along the line with the hacksaw with a backwards and forwards motion, working your way through the tile. If you do this too quickly, the tile may splinter and snap.

Once the desired part of the tile has been cut away, use a fine-grade sandpaper to smooth out any rough edges. Run a damp cloth over the sanded edge to get rid of any remaining grit.

Tile nipper

Tile nippers are great for cutting out any curved areas you need in a tile. They give you a good amount of control over the amount you’re cutting off each time, though it can be a slow process if you have several tiles with curved edges.

To use the tile nipper, mark out on your tile where you need to cut. Use the tile nipper to cut out small chunks from the tile, gradually working your way towards the mark you’ve drawn on. To avoid breakages, be sure to use the tile nipper sparingly the closer you get to your mark.

To finish, use a fine grade sandpaper to smooth out the tile nipper’s cutting. Run a damp cloth over the sanded edge to get rid of any lingering grains from the sanded tile.

Angle grinder

An angle grinder is good for cutting any rounded tiles you may need. It’s technically a power tool, so be careful when in use and fully read the instructions beforehand if you’re new to using an angle grinder.

To use, mark out the cut you need on your tile and firmly secure it to a workbench with a clamp. Make sure the edge you’d like to cut is hanging off of the workbench. Pull the angle grinder along the mark, working slowly to avoid breakages, until the desired cut is achieved.

You can sand down the edges as needed with some fine-grade sandpaper. Be sure to wipe down the edge with a damp cloth to remove any remaining sand particles.

Final thoughts

Cutting a tile doesn’t need to be an expensive or cumbersome business. Our tips above will help you finish your tiling project in no time, without the need for power tools.

If you want to take your tiling expertise to the next level, our professional training courses have everything you need to know to improve your craft.

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