If you are planning to introduce tiles to your home and are looking to do the tiling yourself, at some point you will have to cut the tiles.
It may seem daunting, but with the correct equipment and information it is a very achievable skill to learn…
TOP TIP – there is always a risk of tile shards when cutting – so wear protective gloves and goggles.
Tiles come in all shapes and sizes and there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The tools and blades required depend on the thickness and material of the tile. Using the correct equipment gives you a finer and safer cut, which looks more professional and reduces the risk of leaving a jagged or sharp edge
TOP TIP: You can’t un-cut a tile. Measure twice cut once to be certain. It’s also good practice to have a few spares in case you make a mistake
1. Manual Tile Cutters
Manual tile cutters are perfect for cutting straight lines through your tiles. If you are creating a brick bond effect or need to reduce a tile size to fit into a corner then a manual cutter is perfect.
Manual tile cutters have interchangeable scoring wheels, so one cutter can be used to cut a variety of different tile sizes and materials. However they are most commonly used with ceramics
TOP TIP: Wheel sizes and what tiles to use them on for best results (see attached chart too)
• 6mm, Ceramic wall tiles.
• 8mm, Ceramic wall tiles, Ceramic floor tiles and smooth porcelain
• 10mm, Ceramic floor tiles
• 18mm, Textured and structured porcelain
• 22mm Extreme, Hard textured and structured porcelain also 20mm porcelain
When you have measured and marked your tile, place it face up in the cutter and ensure it is straight using the guides. Score from the bottom of the tile to the top, applying enough pressure to score through the glaze. When scored pull the handle down (again with a relative amount of pressure) to snap the tile along the score.
TOP TIP – for best cosmetic results, hide the cut edge along the wall / corner / trim and have the normal edge next to the other tile
2. Electric Tile Cutters
Electric tile cutters are a power tool designed for cutting stronger, larger and thicker tiles. These are most commonly used for cutting porcelain as it is a denser and stringer material than ceramics
Electric cutters are also ideal for cutting unique and unusual shapes, such as around a basin pedestal or toilet. They can be used to cut bevelled edges or straight.
As with the manual cutter, place the marked and measured tile in line with the blade and feed it slowly and securely along the line. Wear protective equipment (chain gloves are ideal) tiles can raise due to the movement of the blade, keep it pressed down to ensure a smoother line. Make sure the protective cover is in place on the blade too
TOP TIP: It can get messy using these as they require a constant flow of water to ensure the blade doesn’t over heat. Always use them outside
3. Scribes and Nippers
A tile scribe works in a similar way to the manual cutter. You measure and mark the tile and rather than have a manual cutter you use a secure metal ruler and score along your line, then snap the tile across the back of the scribe. This method is only useful for smaller ceramic tiles such as metros.
Nippers are a tool, similar to pliers. They are designed for ‘nipping’ the edges of tiles when cutting awkward or unusual edges for example around a door frame or plug socket.
As with all DIY, cutting tiles is a skill to be learnt, and with a little practice and the right information you can unlock your dream home