How to Cut Ceramic Tiles Without a Tile Cutter

When planning tile laying, you need to decide what to cut ceramic tiles. Facing material is available in several versions, and for each type of tile there is a priority way of cutting it. You will learn more about how to cut various tiles, and what adaptations exist for this.

The basis of most types of tiles now available is burnt clay. ceramics. On the front side, the tile is covered with a thin, but more durable waterproof coating, bearing at the same time an aesthetic load. Facing material is divided into two types:

  • wall (for finishing vertical surfaces);
  • for facing the floor surface.

Floor tiles are internal and external (for installation on thresholds, verandas, terraces). Floor facing material intended for indoor use is usually made with a smooth front surface, the outer tile often has special anti-slip protrusions or a rough surface, which is taken into account when choosing a cutting device.

How to Cut Ceramic Tiles Without a Tile Cutter

Wall tiles are easier to cut than floor tiles because they are thinner

With wall cladding material is also not easy. In addition to the most common tile, which has a smooth decorative surface, there is a tile with a relief finishing layer (including a frieze. dividing elements between the panel part of the wall and its "the top") Not all methods that allow you to cut a smooth tile, suitable for a corrugated surface.

Choosing how to cut tiles, it takes into account its thickness, strength, the area of ​​the proposed cladding and the complexity of the geometry of the pattern. Wall tiles are thinner than the floor, their strength is lower, so a regular glass cutter or manual mechanical tile cutter is suitable for cutting it. The material for flooring requires a more serious tool, especially if its surface is rough or has anti-slip protrusions. If you are planning a lot of complex patterns (openings for sockets, bypassing pipe communications), you should take care of the availability of devices for a figured pattern of tiles.

When determining which device to use to cut tiles at home, the amount of intended finish should be considered. For small areas and simple patterns, a simple tool is suitable. If there is a lot of work, it makes sense to use more advanced devices, so that you do not have to cut the tile for longer than laying it.

Now ceramic tiles are cut using several devices that differ in structural complexity and functionality.

If you have to cut ceramic tiles at home, while the lining area is small (for example, a kitchen panel), an ordinary glass cutter is suitable for work. These simple tools can be equipped with a cutting roller or diamond tip. Choose a glass cutter that you had to work with or which one you think is more convenient. you can cut the tile with any type of tool.

If you need to cut a small amount of tile, any glass cutter will do.

How to cut tiles with glass cutter correctly? The essence of the process is identical to working with glass: you need to scratch the furrow on the front surface, which will become the fault line. To do this, first we remove the dimensions necessary for laying the fragment, make the corresponding marks on the decorative side of the whole tile and use a marker to draw a straight line corresponding to the proposed section. The tile is laid on a flat surface located at a convenient height for work (table, workbench). The working part of the glass cutter with medium uniform pressure makes movement from the far end of the tile to itself.

In this case, a clear shallow furrow without interruption areas should form. To make the cut as even as possible, you can use the guide bar. But it is better to make an incision under visual control, combining the cutter with a drawn line. Twice conducting a glass cutter in one line is not advisable. getting into the same furrow a second time is very difficult. As a result, the incision is not very high quality. It is necessary to try to make a furrow in one motion.

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Then we do the following. If the detachable part is more than 3-4 cm, we lay the tile on the table (face up) or other hard surface so that the notch line coincides with the edge of the stand. We lay the wider part on the table, a narrow segment hangs. Firmly holding that part of the tile that lies on the table, you need to sharply press on the hanging fragment, as a result of which it breaks off exactly along the groove drawn. When the width of the cut fragment is small, another tactic is applied. the excess part of the tile is gradually broken off with special nippers. If they are not at hand, you can use ordinary pliers for these purposes.

Cutting tiles with a glass cutter requires dexterity and hardness of the hand. These qualities are acquired quickly, so you should not be upset if the desired result is not obtained the first time. To quickly acquire a skill, you can sacrifice one tile, and make many different strips and rectangles from it, making cuts with a glass cutter, and then proceed to the pattern of tile fragments necessary for laying.

Glass cutter is only suitable for use with smooth tiles.

Glass cutter is suitable for working with smooth wall tiles. You can’t cut the corrugated surface of the tile with this tool. It is very inconvenient and for a long time using a glass cutter to make circular patterns. To do this, you will have to soak the tile for at least an hour (so that the ceramic base is wet), make a circular incision, and then look for a suitable stand that best matches the geometry of the intended hole. The tile is laid on a stand and, with gradual gentle pressures, make the cut-off area separate from the main tile fragment. It is problematic to cope with a thick and durable floor tile with a glass cutter, so if it is necessary to cut this type of tile, it is advisable to use more advanced devices.

Видео: How to Cut Ceramic Tiles Without a Tile Cutter


The manual tile cutter is essentially an advanced glass cutter, and its cutting element is the same roller, only more massive and durable, designed to withstand more force. Increases the pressure force in the device under consideration, a lever forming a single mechanism with a cutting wheel and mounted on a carriage moving along two parallel runners. The guides are fixed on a bed equipped with a stand on the bottom, on which the cut tile is laid. On the stand, according to the course of the cutting element, a metal protrusion is built in, which serves as a stop when breaking the tiles. A special device (press) is movably attached to the movable carriage next to the cutting roller, with which pressure is transmitted from the lever to both halves of the cut tile.

There are many models of manual tile cutters that differ in the following characteristics that affect the performance of the device:

  • maximum tile size that can be cut;
  • carriage sliding mechanism along guide rails (dry running, lubrication, bearings);
  • backlash of the cutting element;
  • manufacturing material of the main parts of the device;
  • equipped with an additional device for cutting circular holes.

With a better performance of tile cutters, their cost increases accordingly, therefore, choosing a cutting device, it should be understood for what purposes it is necessary. If a one-time job of laying tiles in relatively small volumes is supposed, it is impractical to buy a model at a cost above the average. an inexpensive product is suitable. When the plans are for large areas of tile laying. it makes sense to purchase a model more expensive. High-quality manual tile cutters are widely used in their activities, even professional tilers.

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To properly cut the tile with a tile cutter, observe the following sequence of actions:

  1. 1. We mark the notch on the front side, after making the necessary measurements.
  2. 2. We lay the tiles on the bed so that the scribbled line coincides with the longitudinal protrusion on the base.
  3. 3. Using the lever, carefully place the cutting wheel on the far edge of the tile (the cutter should coincide with the beginning of the reference line).
  4. 4. Gently pushing the lever, stretch it with a continuous movement towards itself until the wheel jumps off the tile.
  5. 5. Raise the lever and install a kind of two-sided press on the tile approximately in the middle of the cut line.
  6. 6. We press the lever (not very strong and rather smoothly), as a result of which the tile breaks into two parts.

Manual tile cutter. handy tool suitable for processing thick enough tiles

To acquire initial skills for using the device, it is advisable to make several trial attempts.

If the tile is large (the incision is longer than 30 cm), it is advisable to press on the cut tile several times, rearranging the press in different places. So the fault will be smooth and will not have to be modified.

Manual tile cutting is convenient to use, but there are some limitations. This device, like a glass cutter, does not work on a raised tile surface and some types of floor tiles, especially external ones, are also too tough for the tool. In addition, tile cutter will not be able to cut strips of less than 15-20 mm.

A water saw is sometimes called an electric tile cutter, reminiscent of a circular design and related to professional tools with the corresponding capabilities and cost. The device is equipped with a work table, in the longitudinal hole of which a cutting disk with diamond coating rotates. The peculiarity of the electric tile cutter is that the tile is cut in the presence of water, which wets the disc abundantly. It arrives at the place of the incision through a special nozzle (in more expensive models) or the disc is wetted, being partially immersed in a pan with water.

Water saw. professional tool suitable for cutting any tile

Wet cutting at high blade speeds allows you to form an ideal cutting edge that does not differ from the factory edge (a bevel is formed at an angle of 45%). Due to constant wetting, dust does not form during cutting, as well as chips on the cutting edge of the tile. Not only straightforward, but also figured cutting, the formation of holes of various configurations and sizes are possible. The quality and type of tile only affects the cutting speed, and that is insignificant. A water saw will cut off a strip of any width from any tile. wall, floor and even porcelain. An electric tile cutter is the best option to cut floor tiles, what is internal, what is external, as well as tiles with a raised surface. In this case, you do not need to use plastic corners when laying the facing material, covering the cutting edge. just fill the corner seam with grout for tile.

If such equipment is not at hand (which is not surprising), but you need to cut tiles of different types, cutting holes of various shapes and sizes, you can use a universal power tool, one of the models of which is likely to be found in the arsenal of any home master.

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Angle grinders (angle grinders) or angle grinders are universal power tools with a wide range of applications in everyday life and in small industries. An angle grinder is also used for cutting tiles of various types, equipping with special "tiled" disks or ordinary circles on concrete (no big difference between the result of the work of these nozzles when cutting ceramic tiles was noticed).

An angle grinder can also cut any tile, but the cutting edge will be imperfect

If there is no tile cutter and other specialized tools, you can cut the tile with an angle grinder. angle grinder cuts any tile. wall, floor, porcelain. In this case, the surface relief, strength and thickness of the tiles do not play a role. The cutting edge is not as smooth and problem-free as when working with an electric tile cutter, but taking into account the use of tile grout or plastic corners when laying tiles, small flaws are acceptable.

To qualitatively cut tiles without a tile cutter using an angle grinder, it is advisable to use small angle grinders designed for disk diameters up to 125 mm. They are more convenient to work, especially when curly cutting and forming holes in the tile. But keep in mind that an angle grinder with a small disk diameter usually has high revolutions (3600 rpm and above), at which the tile at the cutting site overheats, can produce cracks and numerous chips, so it is advisable to use an angle grinder with an adjustable amount for working with tiles revolutions.

The angle grinder is convenient for cutting tiles, but several disadvantages of this process are found:

  • a lot of dust is formed. it is impossible to work in a closed small room;
  • when cutting, many small pieces of ceramics fly off, so the process requires compliance with safety regulations and the use of personal protective equipment (glasses. mandatory, a respirator. preferably);
  • there is a possibility of electric shock, and in general, an angle grinder is a dangerous tool.

To cut a tile fragment in a straight line with the help of angle grinders, the necessary measurements are taken and the desired area is marked with an orientation line, after which the tile is laid on a flat surface, but not very hard (a piece of board, plywood, OSB boards). Cut the tile to the full thickness only in cases of cutting narrow strips, in other situations only the decorative layer is cut, after which the tile breaks, as described above. Cutting holes the angle grinder (circular or rectangular) is done from the back side. this way less chips and other damage to the front side of the tile are formed.

Using angle grinders for tile cutting, use only new, undamaged disks in your work. Old worn working circles will make a cutting edge with a large number of defects, while there is a danger of their destruction during operation, which threatens with serious injuries.

The described tools for cutting tiles are rarely used in isolation. it is much more advisable to combine the use of various methods. For example, when laying wall tiles to cut straight fragments, it’s good to use an inexpensive manual tile cutter or even a glass cutter (quickly, you can not leave the room), for a figured pattern and cutting thin strips, you can sometimes choose an angle grinder, working in an open space.