5 Tile Cutting Tips to Follow

Cutting tiles takes some skill, knowledge, and patience. For rookie renovators, this might seem like a daunting task but provide you have the right tools and the plan, things might just work out. In fact, you may even find yourself enjoying this work which requires geometric precision and dedicated attention.

We’re here to help you do just that – follow the tips from below to cut your tiles effectively.

tile cutting

1) Buy or rent the right tile cutter

The right tile cutter can spare you much of a headache usually associated with the tile cutting. Depending on the scale of your work, you can choose between the following ones:

  • For a simple project, get a snap (rail) tile cutter. This is a perfect option if you need to cut small tiles (for example, for a bathroom or kitchen window ledges) with straightforward lines
  • For big and heavy tiles, get a handheld tile saw. You might want to use this type to cut tiles for not very large spaces. Some of these tile cutters have a ‘wet’ feature which means a water tank will absorb the dust before it bursts into the air.
  • For large projects, get a tabletop wet tile saw. A good option for outdoor projects as this type does not provide the highest accuracy
  • For large projects, consider getting an overhead motor wet tile cutter. In addition to being the largest type, it also provides excellent accuracy and high-quality results.

man cutting tiles

A useful feature for a tile cutter would be having a rotating functionality. This would help you view the surface from different perspectives and adjust better.

A good rule of thumb is to try and test your newly bought tile cutter on a piece of tile you won’t regret damaging to get yourself some practice.

2) How to cut holes

Another challenging task homeowners who are cutting tiles on their own face is cutting holes. This is particularly true when you need to tile the area around pipes which often pop up in the worst of places. Here’s how you can proceed:

  • Tile the area below the pipe and to the one side of it. Then, take another tile and make square lines with a pencil that would mark the pipe’s dimensions (mark both sides, top and bottom of the pipe).
  • Use a china marker to get bolder lines and make sure you take the tile spacers into account. If you do not, the calculations will be an inch or so wrong.
  • By now, you’ll get a square drawn on your tile. Use an off-cut of your pipe (or anything with the same diameter) to draw a circle in the middle of the square.
  • Cut the hole with a rotating cutter. You’ll get two pieces of the tile that would go below and above the pipe. Attach them with the adhesive to finish this area.

Alternatively, you might use this little trick: Draw a hole of the necessary diameter on the tile. Then, use a small drill to cut a few holes located close to each other within the circle. Use a hammer to remove these little circles until you have a hole of the required diameter.

cutting tiles

3) Cutting tiles for a window recess

The window recess area is often narrow enough which means you’ll have to cut some custom-size tiles. It isn’t complicated, though.

  • Glazed-edge tiles do not require a corner trim. Just tile the area up to the window recess, then the recess itself. You will need to adjust your tiles from the recess so that they would overlap with the edges of the tiles below.
  • For other types of tiles, you will need a corner trim. First of all, you will need to tile the area beneath the window. Then, use a corner trim to fit tiles around the recess so they play together with the face wall tiles. After that, tile the recess working your way from the trim.

4) How to Cut Curved Tiles

Depending on your interior design, you might need to adjust your tiles to some surfaces coming in a variety of shapes. A curved tile is easy to cut if you follow this sequence:

  • Grab a piece of paper, draw the shape you need and cut it out;
  • Put the resulting piece of paper on top of the tile and mark the edges with a china marker;
  • Secure your tile firmly, then cut the necessary shape using a tile saw. As simple as that!

5) How to cut tile corners with or without a corner trim

A corner trim is a good option for modern designs. Despite sounding complicated, one does not have to feel cornered when doing this work.

Basically, you have two options: to use or not to use a corner trim. This will define the tools and materials you are going to need.

  • The best solution is to use an electric tile cutter that has an option of mitered cuts. Having cut the tiles, you can then lay them over, attach a corner trim and secure it with the remaining tiles for the other wall.
  • If you don’t have an electric cutter, you may use a caulking tape applicator to grout the corners. In this case, you won’t need a corner trim. The same applies to the tiles with a glazed edge.

Overall, the work with corners requires more adjustment rather than real cutting.

P.S. If you don’t use a corner trim, allow a tiny space (1/10 of an inch) so the tiles from the neighboring wall will not directly touch the others. This will prevent future cracks.

Final Words

This was a quick overview of the trickiest tasks you will encounter while cutting the tiles. Follow these 5 tile cutting tips to speed up your renovation and make the process more easy and enjoyable.

Good luck cutting!