How to cut tile

Tiling looks beautiful when it is laid but how do you cut all those tiles around edges or those which need cutting for areas where the taps are? It takes practice, though even with basic tools can be done. Not everyone can afford the latest technology in tile cutters and this guide is written for those who do not. A basic cutter tool is something every DIYer should have in their tool kit, as well as a cutter work works across a bed scoring a straight line in the tile. These are relatively inexpensive and vital while learning to cut ceramic tile perfectly.


Step 1

Deciding where cuts are needed.

Before you cut a tile, you have to decide where the line should be drawn. This has to respect the grout widths and should be cut a little short of the total width required to allow for a clean line of grouting to be performed after the tiling has been finished.

Step 2

Measure and mark the tile.

When you mark a tile, be careful to mark it at each end across the end of the tile. The reason for this is that this gives you something to line it up with when you place it into the cutter. After marking each end, draw a line across the tile with your straight edge and a pencil.

Step 3

Placing the tile into the cutter.

Place the tile into the cutter so that your line runs with the center of the cutter. Check where the blade falls before cutting, as sometimes the tile may be a little off center.

Step 4

Cutting multiple tiles the same size.

If you have a run of tiles to cut which all require to be the same width, set the guide on the tile cutter by unscrewing the fitting, moving into the correct place, and then tightening. This ensures that all tiles are cut at the same size.

Step 5

Cutting on the diagonal.

This is harder with a manual cutter. The reason is that the cutter action will break the tip of the corners. In this case, place the tile into the manual cutter with the required cutting position over the central line. Check your blade for placement. Then holding the tile firmly in place, run the blade over the tile surface to score it firmly.

Step 6

Cutting the tile.

Hold the tile in place with your left hand. With the right hand, take the handle of the manual cutter and score the surface of the tile in one firm movement from one end to the other. Then with a swift movement of the handle press down in the center of the tile, and the tile will break across the required line.

Step 7

Breaking off the required diagonal.

Do not attempt to use the manual cutter to actually process the cut other than to mark it. Take the tile out of the cutter and place it over another tile so that a gap appears. The cut mark should be just on the edge of the tile placed below it. Press hard on the tile and it will break down the line. To safeguard the tiles, this is usually done on a soft surface such as a dust sheet. Often this is easier to perform with your foot and a straight downward movement.

Step 8

Nibbling out small pieces of tile.

This can be done with nippers, although you should use a hand tile cutter to score the required line. Press firmly and make your line clear. Nibble the tile a little at a time with tile nippers. Don’t try to be too enthusiastic. A little at a time is safest. As you get near to your scored line, put the edges of the nippers against the line you have scored. It takes practice but is easy to do after you get accustomed to it.

Step 9

Keeping your tile cutter and work area clean.

When using nippers, often the work surface gets dirty. Similarly, little bits of dirt in your tile cutter can upset the efficient use of the tool. Keep this clean at all times, and try to work in a clean environment to protect tiles from damage.

You will Need
• Hand tile cutter.
• Tile cutter with base and handle.
• Tile nippers.
• Pencil.
• Straight edge.
• Measure.
• Patience.

Tips & Warnings
• Always buy more tiles than you need to allow for unforeseen breakages.


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