How to Cut Tile

One of the trickiest parts of tile installation is cutting tile. One can waste a lot of time, energy, and tile doing this seemingly simple task incorrectly. So, unless you are hiring a contractor, you should know the following tricks to cutting tile like a pro.

Get together your tools before you begin. You’ll need a tile cutter, tape measure, wet saw, tile nippers, some wire and chipboard, a tile sander, felt-tipped pen and paper.

First, cut your main tiles. If they aren’t pre-cut and measured, you should cut as you lay them down. As accurately

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as you can, measure out the entire space to be tiled and divide it up by the size of your tiles while allowing space for 1/8” of grout between them. To cut ceramic tile, you can use a hand tile cutter, but for stronger material (like granite) use a wet saw.

Then, mark where the tile needs to be cut with your marker on the back of each tile. With the hand tile cutter, cut entirely in one smooth motion to avoid jagged edges. Align the arrow on the cutter with your mark for the cut, and place the breaking wings about ½” from either edge of the tile. Press down on the handle until the tile breaks, and then smooth the edges with a tile sander.

Next, cut your border tiles—these are the tiles that will fill gaps between the main surface tiles and the walls or edges. After properly marking the tiles for their necessary cuts on both the front and back of the tiles, use the tile cutter against a straight edge to score the tile in a single stroke. Take some wire and stretch it across a sheet of chipboard, aligning the tile over the wire and

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pressing down until the tile snaps. A tile-cutting jig can also be used to cut border tiles. Again, use a tile sander to smooth over the cut edge.

Finally, cut the irregular tiles or the tiles that encircle appliances, pipes and faucets. When marking the tile, lay all the adjacent irregular tiles out together so you can visualize the shape they have to fit. You can use a paper

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model of the shape you are cutting to follow with small, evenly-spaced slits. If there are a number of complicated cuts to be made, consider renting a diamond cut-off wheel or saber saw.

Measure everything twice, and do your best to make the cuts in one motion. Take your time, and the results will be on par with anything you would pay a professional to do.

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