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How to Use a Tile Cutter

by Shelly Mcrae

Tile cutter

Cutting tile is part of any tiling project. Different types of tile cutters are available, allowing you to perform small trims, straight cuts and hole cuts or complete a large project. Using the right tile cutting saw in the correct way will make your tiling project go more smoothly, resulting in fewer mishaps and less expenditure.

Using a Tile Cutter:

  1. Glass cutters: Use a glass cutter to perform straight cuts on ceramic or glass tiles. Mark the tile where you want to make your cut and lay a straight edge along the mark. The glass cutter tool is equipped with a small, sharp-toothed wheel on one end. Run the wheel of the tool along the mark to score the surface. Use enough pressure to break the glaze of the tile. Tape a dowel rod to a flat surface. Place the tile on the dowel rod, lining up the score with the dowel rod. Hold both ends of the tile and apply downward pressure until the tile snaps.

  2. Snap cutters: Use a snap cutter if you have a small number of tiles to cut. A snap cutter is sometimes referred to as a rail cutter. Mark your tile. Lay the tile onto the snap cutter, lining up the mark with the cutting wheel. Run the cutting wheel along the mark, using the rail to move the wheel. This breaks through the glaze of the tile. Push the lever downward to break the tile.

  3. Tile nippers: Use tile nippers to trim edges or shape a tile. Mark the area you wish to trim. Hold the tile firmly, glaze side up. The end of a tile nipper has "jaws" that clamp onto the edge of the tile. Place the tile nipper so the jaws clamp onto the area to be removed. Apply pressure, breaking through the glaze and snapping off pieces from the tile. You may need to continue nipping until the tile is the shape you desire.

  4. Hole-cutters: Use a hole-cutter to make a circular cut or a hole in the tile. Mark the tile and make a mark in the center of the circle as well. Place the tip of a punch on the center mark, and tap it lightly with a hammer to break the glaze and create a small dimple on the surface. Insert the hole-cutter into a hammer drill. Line up the hole-cutter with the mark, making sure the dimple is centered. Use a slow speed to drill through the tile.

  5. Wet saws: A wet saw is a power tool designed for large tile cutting jobs. Place the wet saw on a stable surface. Each manufacturer provides specific recommendations for use of their power tools; read these carefully before proceeding. Fill the reservoir with water. Check that the blade is secure and free of obstacles. Plug in the wet saw and turn it on using the power switch. Place the tile along the fence of the saw, and slowly feed the tile into the blade. Once the tile is cut, turn the saw off using the power switch.

Tile Cutter Warnings:

  1. Always use safety glasses when cutting tile.

  2. Do not wear gloves when using a wet saw because there is a possibility of the material getting caught in the saw.

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