How to cut ceramic tiles without a tile cutter

All about ways to cut tiles at home

Of course, in the title refers to cutting tiles, as well as the fact that it is impossible to properly glue ceramic tile without cutting it where necessary. In this regard, there are questions about how to cut at home and what tools can be used in this case, what are the features when performing this type of work.

Tile and ceramic tile are almost indistinguishable from each other, so the process of cutting this material is the same

Thus, the purpose of our article will be tips on how to cut tile. In the trimming of tiles arises the need to lay near the various utilities: water pipes, sewage, heating system, etc., as well as in certain laying schemes, such as diagonal, where you have to cut ceramics especially a lot.

This process has its own specifics, but even at home, with certain skills, you can cope with it. Taking into account the mechanical and physical properties of ceramic tiles, cutting it without using any tools and devices is not possible.

Design of the hand tool

To understand the rules for using the tool, you need to figure out how it works. For cutting tiles, manual tile cutters have a common device. The main constructional elements here are:

This is a solid metal base on which all the parts are placed. On it the facing material is laid, so among the main criteria for selecting the device are the evenness of the support and the dimensions according to the format of the tiles.

In addition it is worth paying attention to the anti-slip pads. On one side, in addition, there is an indelible scale and a small overhang, which allows you to make a break in the ceramic sample along the cutting line.

They are represented by two parallel tubes with smooth outer walls. In more expensive variants they are replaced by an I-beam. Their function is to keep the working mechanism in the right position for the operator, to provide the opportunity to exert some pressure on the tile. Also the movement of this device is carried out on guides.

Rigid tile cutter element to cut tiles by hand. A cutting wheel, a lever, and a special foot for breaking up facing material are fixed on it.

Platform, frame elements under the guides are usually made of cast steel, as their quality determines the reliability and durability of the tool. The carriage and the cutting element must be even stronger, so an alloy with m tungsten and cobalt is used for production. Rubber pads are mounted on the side to prevent the platform from sliding on the floor.

To use such a handheld tile cutter can both a professional and a novice master. In addition to this advantage masters note other advantages:

  • quiet operation;
  • simplicity of the device;
  • mobility;
  • compactness
  • low weight;
  • environmental friendliness
  • low cost.

However, there are also disadvantages. Here it is difficult to form pieces with a width of less than 10 mm, the edge on the break line turns out sharp with small irregularities.

For large areas for tiling and for cutting thick porcelain tiles, craftsmen prefer to choose electric analogues. Also worth highlighting here is the high percentage of getting a low quality cut. And in novice masters often the tile breaks not along the intended line, which can only be straight.

Choosing the right device

Correct use of a tile cutter is not enough to get the desired results. It is also necessary that the tool is of high quality. When choosing, experts recommend paying attention to the following points:

  • The rigidity of the platform and frame. The design must be reliable, without wobbling, creaking. The lack of vibration and flexibility of the monolithic device is a guarantee of quality and long life of the tile cutter. The same applies to the lever.
  • The length of the metal base. Shortened models are considered only for one-time jobs or when a home workshop is equipped with additional compact tools.
  • Smooth running carriage. Here, the best solution is a tool that is fitted with bearings.

Among other things, additional details can be useful. For example, the presence of a protractor allows you to simplify the process of cutting tiles at a specific angle. Optional tile cutter carriage makes it easy to cut holes in the right place. There are enhancements to increase the support area for tiles, clamps.

Manual tile cutter

This tool allows you to cut tiles in a straight line or diagonally with a width of the cut cloth from 5 millimeters. It can be used to cut floor tiles and porcelain tiles. It is constructed with a base and a diamond blade carriage. a wheel that slides on the skids. The diameter of the notch is larger than that of a glass cutter for greater depth of cut. The blade can be replaced as it wears. When choosing a tool, it is advisable to purchase a mechanism with bearings, which will ensure smooth sliding of the cutting mechanism.

For breaking off the notched strips at the base of the base is fixed flat metal strip, and behind the saw blade is a small T-shaped lever. It presses the tile after the cut.

The tile cut begins by aligning the material on the base along the marked line. Then firmly fix it. The carriage is driven by your hands, making a single cut. Then the tile is split into parts by pressing on the handle. This method sometimes results in small chips, which are masked with grout.

Tile separation with pliers

If you do not want to get a neat line for the division trimmer, it is quite possible to use pliers or wire cutters. This method is very simple: starting from the edge, start breaking off pieces of material until the desired tile size is obtained. The method is not neat. It often happens that the tool breaks off a large piece of the desired part. However, in the absence of another method, you can get by with this option.

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All described methods of tile cutting are quite effective for single use. And yet, when for professional use in frequent repairs premises better to buy a traditional tile cutter.

Ways to cut tiles

The following methods are mainly suitable for cutting tiles at home. But they are also applicable or limitedly applicable to other types of tiles. It is possible to cut tiles without a tile cutter in the following ways:

Angle grinder (angle grinder)

Generally speaking, it is a universal tool. Just as craftsmen used to be able to cut down a house with a single axe, so now with a single angle grinder they can cut out anything. The author witnessed a flat round hole with diameter of 5 cm on the original ones.

Note! The method is suitable for straight, shaped views and, with minimal tooling skills, for curved lines of any configuration.

  • angle grinder. Any capacity and any kind;
  • A cutting wheel (stone or diamond);
  • Protective helmet or goggles (required);
  • Protective full-body suit and gloves (recommended);
  • Respirator (recommended);
  • Clamping. Optional in some cases (clamp or vise).

Pre-mark the tile, preferably with any sharp tool to scratch the line. As a last resort, it is allowed to draw a line with a construction marker. A lot of dust is generated and marked lines can be rubbed off when you remove it.

Small straight cuts along the edges of the tile can be made by laying the tile on a flat surface on a table or the floor. First cut the surface a few millimeters. At such operation own gravity of a tile and force of friction suffices that the product is kept in place. For deeper cuts, additional treading on the edge or support by an assistant. When making shape cuts, it is better to clamp the workpiece to the table top or clamp it in a vice by placing pieces of cardboard or a thick cloth under the jaws.

Advice! Place a piece of plywood under the workpiece to avoid damaging the surface of the table or the floor.

  • On the outer edge, the marks are passed several times along their entire length. In one pass, penetrate up to 3 mm. Repeat the operation until the result is achieved;
  • For small cuts, up to 2 cm in length, all thicknesses at once;
  • The marks are placed on both sides. A superficial cut (up to 3 mm) is made along the face. Then cut from the opposite side (up to 3 mm per pass) until the target is reached. This method avoids accidental damage to the front side by the cutting tool.

Recommended for difficult cuts: on edges or curved lines. The point is that this method generates a lot of dust, consumes a lot of cutting cloth, requires a lot of time and a lot of work. An ordinary straight trimmer line can be cut in a much easier way.


If you do not have a tile cutter or angle grinder, an electric jigsaw may be available. Underappreciated by many!

Please note! A handheld jigsaw can be used in a similar manner with a stone saw. But the cutting speed will be an order of magnitude slower.

  • Electric jigsaw. Any power;
  • Stone saw;
  • Safety goggles (recommended).

Sawing in the usual way. Sawing too rounded kerf is difficult, the saw gets stuck. Suitable for not thick (wall) tiles. It is very difficult to cut porcelain floortiles in this way. It is suggested to soak the material beforehand for a little relief.

Recommended if you must cut curved sections with a large radius of curvature.

Glass cutter or any pointed tool

Only tiles can be cut with this method. And only in a straight line. Another restriction. the pieces should not be less than 2 cm wide.

  • Glass cutter. Any tool with a sharpened cutting edge can be used instead of a glass cutter. The cutting tool should preferably be made of hard materials: diamond, beater, etc.д. As an example of cutting tools: drills, lance drills, utility knife, and more;
  • A metal ruler or any straight metal rail. In the extreme, of any material. But then you will need to be very careful to scratch the line for the trimmer cut, as you can cut through the ruler and the scratch will go sideways on the tile.

To get a clear cut without chipping and going sideways the scratch has to be applied accurately. It is enough to scratch the upper, glossy layer.

Tip! Pay attention to the beginning and the end of the scratch when applying the risk. Often the notch is not deep enough at the beginning and at the end. It is connected with the lack of pressure and psychology. At the beginning, only try it on, so the pressure is weak. At the very end, there is acceleration and the risk is “smeared. This can cause the fracture in these areas to go sideways.

When applying the risk with a knife make several passes to get a deep scratch.

the marking depends on the hardness and sharpness of the instrument used. If the tool is hard and sufficiently sharpened (glass cutter with a sharp roller, lance-like sharpened pobedite drill bit, etc.), then one pass is enough.д.) one pass with good power is enough. If the tool is blunt or made of soft material (utility knife), several passes are required. At the end the groove should go deeper than the glossy layer.

  • A sharp and even corner. Grasp the tile with both hands on opposite sides of the risk. Strike sharply from a distance of 5.10 cm against the corner on the back side of the workpiece. Aim well beforehand, so that the impact is as close as possible to the point of rupture. The angle can be anything, as long as it is sharp and hard (metal corner, wooden bar). It is desirable for convenience, that the corner should be 10 centimeters above the surface. Otherwise there is a probability that when you hit the surface with your hand, the impact will go to the side and the tile will break not along the groove;
  • On a solid rod. The tile is laid on a long solid rod with its back side and aligned on it according to the place of the risk. Then it is sharply pressed on both sides with two hands. The rod can be any. flat, about 8 to 15 mm in diameter (a drill, a round pencil, etc.).д.). Preferably, it should be at least 2/3 the length of the break. You can break out parts, not the whole length of the tile;
  • Between the clamps. The method is suitable both for breaking out through the whole tile, and for breaking out large parts. The approaches are different, but the essence is the same. Fix the work piece between the two clamps at the point of rupture. It can be two bars or thick plywood. You can make a small machine: two sheets of plywood fastened at one end with self-tapping screws, the tile is placed inside, pushing them apart with force. The main thing is to ensure that there are even sharp edges and the accuracy of installation of the material on the line for the trimmer risks. After installation, additionally clamp the construction with your own weight and press sharply on the protruding edge.
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Waterjet cutting

If you have to do extensive work and need to cut hard ceramic floor tiles, but there is no angle grinder or tile cutter, it is better to use the services of firms engaged in sawing construction materials. The best option. waterjet cutting.

With this method you can cut with your own hands even the most complex shaped elements at home. The idea is that the face of the tile is fed at a high pressure thin stream of water, mixed with the finest solid abrasive particles, such as sand. Computerized control of the process allows you to work with even the most complex patterns.

In this article we reviewed several ways how you can cut a tile at home without using a tile cutter. Each method is good in its own way. The choice of a particular alternative method depends on the amount of work with tile and the skills of the master. With these tools, you can do without buying a special tile cutter.

It is recommended to take advantage of the invaluable experience of experts

To cut the material when performing tiling work at home, you need to have the following tools:

  • flat surface;
  • guide ruler with a right angle on one end, the so-called “angle”;
  • a drill bit with a pobeditovye tip;
  • A glass cutter, a box cutter;
  • “tile-cutting pliers”. miniature pliers with a tile-cutting wheel on one side and a transverse convex plate on the other;
  • a drill with “crowns” nozzles;
  • jigsaw with diamond wire;
  • “angle grinder”.

It is important to remember that tile material should be prepared before cutting. If you soak the ceramic tile for thirty minutes before working with it, you can solve the problem of dust, brittleness, and increase its malleability.

To qualitatively cut off a part of the tile, you need to make a clear groove on the glossy surface and then break it with a quick confident movement. You can do it without difficulty with the help of various tools: glass cutter, drill with a pobedite tip, a knife for cardboard and a guide ruler. The order of action in all cases will be the same:

Glass cutter. the most accessible tool for cutting tiles

  • We put the tile on a flat surface with the inside side down;
  • make the necessary markings and conduct a clear line for the trimmer with a pencil with the help of the “angle”;
  • Draw a groove along the ruler, pressing with moderate force on the glass cutter or drill bit;
  • Put a drill bit under the notch trimmer fishing line, press on the tile from both sides and break it. In another option, you can break the tile by placing it on the edge of the table along the cut line and pressing sharply on it.

Using the “pliers with a wheel” is much easier to break tiles, because they are designed specifically for this purpose. It is enough to drive the cross plate from the top so that the cut groove runs exactly through the center of the pressing plate, and then squeeze the tongs. In this case you get a quality break.

Clamp the tile with the pliers in the center on the marked line and press down on the handles

You can make enough appropriate tile cutting tools at home if you can’t use a special tool. For example, a drill bit with a pobedite tip with a diameter of 6 or 8 millimeters can be sharpened on a diamond disc like a pencil. The main thing here is not to chip off the pobedite coating and create an edge that is smooth. The rounded shape of the tip allows you to make deep cuts, when applying it to the side of the “angle”.

All of the above methods are suitable for cutting wall tiles, but in cases of work with thicker floor tiles with a dense structure, it is necessary to resort to the help of other tools.

For example, it is expedient to use along with improvised tools “angle grinder”. In this case, to complete it, the most suitable are discs for cutting granite with a smooth crown and diamond discs, allowing a quick cut of tiled material.

The process of cutting with an angle grinder is quite simple and accessible even to non-professionals

The sequence of work can be as follows:

  • First, you need to draw with a glass cutter or a special drill a sufficiently deep line for the trimmer. To do this, you can run a few times on the outer surface.
  • Then use the angle grinder to carefully cut along the outer edge of the cut. It is desirable to go no deeper than 3 millimeters. Carrying out such a procedure 2-3 times, you can get a quality cut.

Cutting the floor tiles can be done in a different way:

  • On the glossy surface we also draw a groove with the same hand tools.
  • We turn the tile and make an incision on the inner side exactly on the outer marks of the “angle grinder”.
  • After breaking, it is recommended to grind the edges with sandpaper.

Straight and curved tile cutting can be performed using an “angle grinder” with a diamond disc. The productivity of such work is comparable to an electric tile cutter. Although the quality of the cut with the “angle grinder” is inferior, but if you need to carry out mobile work of large volume, this tool is indispensable. After the cut, you will need additional sanding measures.

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Tools and cutting methods used

Not everyone in the household has the necessary tools you might need for cutting ceramic or tile. Therefore, it is often necessary to cope with improvised tools. In this section we suggest reading the details and methods that will come in handy in each individual case.

Using a glass cutter

The glass cutter is a simple tool at hand. You try to use it only when you need to cut thin tiles. It is only used for straight cuts, especially for those who have no skills in such matters. To realize the correct cut, follow the step-by-step instructions:

  • Take a thin metal bar (a long ruler will also work), place it at the intended cutting line.
  • Use the glass cutter to scratch through the glaze of the tile, performing a uniform degree of pressure along the entire length of the line.
  • Be sure to pay attention to the beginning and the end of the scratch. They must not be too faint, as there is a risk that the cut will run to the side along the edges.

After making a fine line of marking, you can begin to divide the building material into fragments. For this purpose we offer some simple options:

  • Using an even, sharp angle. Ideally, if it is a vertical or horizontal metal angle or a wooden bar of sufficient rigidity. Before striking, grasp the tile by two opposite sides of the cut line. Aim to hit the tile as hard as possible on the line on the back side. Then strike once with sufficient force. Choose a corner so that it is 10-15 cm above the surface, this will prevent the hand from catching the surface, from which a beveled cut is possible;
  • Using a solid rod. In his role can be a sturdy pencil, reinforced rod with a diameter of at least 8-15 mm. In this case, and the length should be sufficient that at one time you can make a break in its entire length. Place the tile backside down on the rod and simultaneously use both hands to strike both sides of the cut line;
  • placing between the clamps. Fix the tile between the two clamps at the breaking point. For example, as fixators can serve two bars or small items of durable plywood. Ensure that the cut line has a perfectly flat and thin edge. On one side, two bars fasten with screws, and then place the tile between them, applying force. After further clamp the design under the pressure of its own weight and perform a sharp blow on the protruding area.

All of the above options for breaking and notching with the glass cutter are only applicable to tile wall tiles. For the fragmentation of porcelain tile floor tiles, the first method will be unrealizable, as the finishing material is thicker and does not lend itself to such a method of division.

Cutting with an angle grinder

The angle grinder has long been considered a universal tool, which is why it is often used for cutting tiles. In order to make a cut of a tile or porcelain tile into pieces you will need a whole algorithm of actions. It consists of several of the following points:

  • Prepare for the work. To do this, wear personal protective equipment. gloves, mounting glasses, a respirator.
  • Then on the selected area of the tile, make a marking where you need to make the cut. To do this use a glass cutter, a sharp diamond or pobedite drill. You can draw the line for the trimmer with a marker. But this option of marking is unreliable, because when cleaning the contamination, the drawn stripe is wiped out.
  • Lay the tiles on a flat surface so that some of it is on the edge. Cut the top layer of the tile by 2-3 mm, then repeat the procedure until the material is divided into the required number of pieces. You can make a deep cut right away, but in that case it should be done gradually 2.5 to 3 cm along the line. The help of an assistant or independent reliable fixation of tile raw materials is obligatory.

Important! When cutting tiles, be sure to put an old piece of plywood or any other sheet that you do not feel sorry for underneath. It will help save the table and any other surface when making too deep cuts.

But before you start cutting tiles with an angle grinder, you should choose a suitable method for yourself. It can be any of the following:

  • multiple recesses. up to three millimeters until the tiles are completely separated;
  • cutting to the full thickness at once when making small cuts. 2 cm each;
  • with a marking on both sides and a cut on the back side. This option will prevent damage to the glazed layer on the front of the tile, if any.

For this type of work, choose only new or perfectly sharpened discs. Otherwise the fragmentation of the tile can be broken.

Briefly about the main thing

To cut tiles at home use tools with carbide cutters, rollers or interchangeable discs.

It is practically impossible to cut porcelain tiles with a glass cutter. Handheld tile cutters are resorted to.

With replaceable diamond discs you can use an angle grinder, circular saw, electric tile cutter.

Artistic cutting can be done with a hand jigsaw with a diamond wire or a more advanced waterjet cutting machine.

ceramic, tiles, tile, cutter

Holes in the form of a circle are formed by drills, drills or ballerina. For the big diameter we use an angle grinder or an electric jigsaw.

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