How to cut the glued tile on the wall

Houzz instructions: How to put tile on the wall

Houzz regular contributor, interior journalist. At different times worked as a correspondent, editor, chief editor in various publications of the city of Lugansk.St. Petersburg. Actively wrote about interiors for the website 4living.

tile, wall

We must admit: the ability to tile the wall seems to us, the average person, a terribly complicated matter. How to glue wallpaper. so we ourselves, but how to put a tile on the wall. we call a tiler. Although, it would seem, what is difficult? Really, what.? Let’s deal with each step.

Smooth the wallPreviously, how to lay the tile on the wall, it must be prepared. In order for the tile to stick well and hold for a long time, the glue should be evenly distributed in a thin layer. 3-4 mm. It would seem that what’s the problem: let’s glue and level it, let the layer will be bigger. But it is better not: the glue is much more expensive than the plaster, and the tiles hold on to a thick layer of glue is worse, because the adhesion is weaker. So take it as a given. before you put a tile in the bathroom, the walls in it need to align. Vertical and horizontal must be clear, the height difference. no more than 5 mm.

You can level the wall with plaster or drywall. Experienced tilers usually plaster the walls “under themselves”, using a reinforcing mesh. This is a guarantee that the base is prepared correctly and will not cause defects. With gypsum board is much easier to derive the plane, but will have to sacrifice 5-7 cm of the wall (sheetprofile). And for bathrooms, only GKVL, that is, moisture-resistant gypsum plasterboard. usually a sheet of green.

Tip: Take your time!A common mistake. to put facing tiles in the bathroom on the plaster that has not dried out. Some teams use heat guns or conventional heaters to speed up the process. This is a bad method of drying, which worsens the quality of the composition. But when there is no time at all, it is better than gluing wall tiles to undried plaster.

How to tell if a plaster is dry? Read the instructions and follow the temperature. On average, a layer of gypsum compound to a thickness of 2 cm at low humidity and a temperature of 20 degrees is completely dry in 5-7 days. If it’s raining outside, it’s 10 degrees in the apartment, and the layer is 5 cm, you can wait and three weeks. There is a popular way to find out if the wall is dry: stick a piece of polyethylene on it with scotch tape and leave it overnight. If in the morning there is condensation under the film, it means that it is not yet dry.

Can the tiles be laid on the oil paint or old tiles?The more expensive the master, the more likely you will hear from him a categorical “no”: the adhesion is bad, the tile will fall off. People who do not suffer from peekektionizm, take a risk. In this case, you need to apply (with an axe or disc) shallow notches on the paint for adhesion, and on the tiles remove the glossy layer with an angle grinder. You can use a special primer such as “Betonkontakte”.

How to remove tiles from the wall?If you do not need to save it, then the easiest way to remove the wall tile peoratorom with a chisel head. Or with a regular chisel and hammer. beat off tile by tile, setting the chisel at an angle. And how to properly remove just one tile. for example, a cracked? First you need to clean the joints from the grout and glue. To do this, they should be soaked with water or a special composition to remove grout. Then drill a couple of holes in the broken tile, grab them with a chisel and gently remove the tile from the wall.

Before you put tiles on the walls in the bathroom, do not forget about waterproofing. the mastic is applied at 30 cm above the floor level and up to 1 m high where the communications pass. Pipes and joints are also covered with waterproof tapes and sleeves.

Priming the wallGrunding. a mandatory point of preparatory work. After it on the wall forms a thin film that “nails” the dust, bonds and degreases the surface, improves the adhesion of glue to the wall.

For tile work produce a special primer of deep penetration. It is best to buy the one recommended by the manufacturer of the adhesive. Priming the walls is more convenient with a roller with a soft nap.

tile, wall

Make the layoutWe will not dwell in detail on the options for laying tiles in the bathroom. this is a separate topic. Let’s consider the basic principles that affect how to properly lay tiles on the wall.

The arrangement of tiles on the bathroom wall can be horizontal, vertical, diagonal and mixed. All other things being equal, horizontal layout is preferable, because there are fewer undercuts on it and they are not so conspicuous, if you know how to put the tiles on the wall correctly.

First of all, you need to calculate how many full tiles are in a horizontal row, remove one, and align the rest in the center. So we’ll have symmetrical undercuts on the edges, each. more than half a tile. This is the best way to put a tile on the wall without the horrible narrow scraps. Yes, in this case we lose a couple of “squares” of tile on the cost, but it’s worth it. When laying nicely, the length of the undercut should be more than half of the whole tile. Short undercuts are difficult to avoid, making a revision hatch. in this case it is better to maintain symmetry.

If you’re a hardcore saver, then the ugly joints with the trim try to remove behind the hinged cabinets, in the “dark” inner corners. Tiles always turn the trimmed edge of the inside corner. On outer corners, it is desirable to lay a whole tile. Horizontally, the trim level is always at the bottom. On top, under the ceiling, you need to put a whole tile.

The larger the wall tile, the easier it is to glue it on. The easiest way to lay tiles is horizontally. Horizontally, the tiles can be laid with a joint in a joint or a gap, like a brick. The second method is less economical, but easier to work with.

If you put tiles in the bathroom on the diagonal, there will be the most waste on trimming. Instead of the usual 10% margin in diagonal laying lay 20%. Decor, borders, pattern matching and combining different tiles also increase the project budget and complicate the work.

Do the layout of tiles in the bathroom is more convenient with the help of a special computer program (there are many). However, do not trust the datasheet. the parameters there may not match by 2-3 cm. Independently measure the bathroom with a tape measure. And do not forget to lay the width of the joint between the tiles at dawn.

Than trim (sharpen) the tiles at a 45 degree angle?

Everyone calls this action differently: scoring, sharpening, trimming, nailing, Kremlin corner. the meaning is the same.

For qualitative trimming of tile ends under 45 degrees you will need an electric tile cutter (tile cutting machine) or, in a pinch, an angle grinder (angle grinder) with a tile disk.

The easiest way. angle grinder

It is more difficult to achieve a quality result with an angle grinder, but in principle, it is also possible. This is the easiest way to grind a tile corner at 45 degrees with your own hands at home.

The process of boring and sanding porcelain tile in the video below.

First of all you must have a good diamond tile disk.

You put the tile on a rib (prpendicular to the one that is trimmed) and grind at an angle of 45 degrees on the back of it (the clay).

If you got a little rough, then large rough irregularities can be passed again disk, and in order to get a cleaner and smoother edge can be used here (pictured below) sanding pad with sandpaper or diamond “turtles.

Sanding discs on the velcro, wiped. remove and attach a new one. The base itself with velcro is screwed onto the threads of the angle grinder. Diamond bits have a longer service life but are many times more expensive. If you’re doing tile laying all the time, it makes sense to use diamond turtles. If you are doing your first and last repair, you can do with sandpaper wheels.

When working with such a thing you need an angle grinder with adjustable speed (the speed to a minimum)!) Otherwise the edge of the tile will melt and burn instead of being sanded down.

Electric tile cutter

Electric tile cutter, or as it is also called by tile workers. wet cutter. It has a water-cooled disc, and the same water dampens all possible dust. The tile cutter cuts along one fixed path and minimizes such a human factor as shaking hands, etc.п.

The tile cutter has two operating positions. a straight cut and a 45° angle cut (in fact, any angle from 0 to 45° can be set, but there is most often no point).

angle grinder

Not only tile cutters can help when working with ceramics. a good option is an angle grinder. It is also considered the easiest option. The advantage of the angle grinder in the ability to cut a shaped shape, there is no other available and easy way to cut a tile semicircle.

An angle grinder with a diamond wheel is always used. Other discs may not be tough enough for this material.

Other simple tools do not provide an easy way to cut curved shapes, so it is important to have an angle grinder in the toolbox.

The tool has disadvantages as well:

  • Roughness of cut is high. It is necessary to strongly process a cut so that it came out flat enough for a neat installation.
  • The margin of error is large. It is important to allow for a small tolerance when using an angle grinder. you cannot expect perfectly straight results.
  • Dustiness. If the apartment is insufficiently ventilated, too much dust will accumulate in it with the described method of work. With methods based not on a cut, but on a break, the problem is eliminated. If there’s no way to create a draught to “pull” the dust out of the air, don’t choose this option.

There is no difficulty in cutting ceramic tiles with an angle grinder. The work is carried out as with any other material.

Which tools are best not to use?

In the case where the installer encounters difficulties and he needs to cut the tiles already laid, you can not use all of the above devices (except the device number 3) for the following reasons:

  • neighboring tiles can split in two and ruin all the work done on the flooring;
  • The adjacent piece of flooring will not adhere completely and will create voids, which will soon make the floor unusable;
  • The tiles will crack, and will gradually detach from the floor.

Tile cutting methods

For cutting tiles, there are special devices. However, at home you can cut tiles without a tile cutter. You can use the device for one-time work, others will cope with facing on an industrial scale. I also differentiate the attachments depending on the types of tile.

Ceramic cutting with an angle grinder

This angle grinder can cut both ceramic and tile at home. The tool in good hands will make not only straight line for trimmer, but also shaped. First you need to prepare:

  • Tile.
  • Angle grinder or angle grinder.
  • Cutting and grinding discs.
  • Protective equipment. A mask or glasses are absolutely necessary, and a respirator and protective clothing can be worn as needed.
  • Vise or clamps.

With a sharpened object you need to make a preliminary marking. An indelible marker can be used. Lines drawn with a simple felt tip pen will rub off the mirror surface.

On the table where you plan to cut the tile, you need to lay a piece of plywood or other material so as not to spoil the surface.

For shallow cuts, the tile does not need to be held in place. Its mass and the friction force of the underside with the table are enough to keep it in place. With a more serious deepening may need the help of a partner, if you can not fix the tile with your foot.

Curvilinear cuts will require securing the tile in a vise, it must be relocated on both sides with a soft cloth or cardboard to avoid scratches.

To make a quality fit is necessary:

  • Deepening should be done gradually, cutting 2-3 millimeters deep in one pass.
  • Make small cuts to the full thickness at once.
  • To prevent accidental contact of the disk with the face surface, it is recommended to draw a marking on both sides. Then make one continuous cut on the glossy part, and finish with the inner one.

With an angle grinder, it is better to make shaped edges, and straight edges. with another, simpler, tool. This avoids the expense of buying diamond blades, as well as the dust that is raised when working this way.

Sawing with an electric jigsaw

If you don’t have an angle grinder handy, you may have another power tool nearby. When speed is not an issue, you can also use a regular jigsaw with a stone blade. Cutting tiles with this tool is no different than cutting any other material. Only a special tile saw and a preliminary soaking of the tile will be needed.

The jigsaw is not effective for very thick tiles. It is suitable for wall coverings and cutting out pieces with a large radius of curvature.

Glass cutter or any pointed object

This is another way to cut tiles without a tile cutter. Such a tool works only on tiles and in a straight line. There is also a limit on the width of the cut-off part. at least 20 millimeters. This requires the tool itself or a similar device. Diamond or carbide drill bits can be used as a drill bit. Sometimes you can use a good utility knife.

The ruler, on which the cut will be made, you need a metal one, because the wooden one can be spoiled if the knife is torn from the cutting line.

The cut should be made slowly and carefully. Particular attention should be paid to initial and final pressure on the tool. Usually at such moments it is not enough. If you do not cut through the edges well, the break in these places will be uneven.

To cut ceramic tiles at home, you can use improvised means. Drill or knife must be passed along the path several times until the upper layer of the tile is cut through. The number of starts depends on the hardness of the tool.

There are several ways to break a cut tile:

  • Taking the tile from both sides along both edges of the notch, accurately, from a distance of 10-15 centimeters hit the edge of the table. The corner must be straight and rigid. The blow must be applied carefully, without hitting the surface with the palms of your hands.
  • It is possible to put a flat rod under the entire length of the tile along the line of the notch. It should protrude beyond the edges by a few centimeters. It is necessary to press sharply on both edges with both hands. If the length of the piece of tile is large, carry out this operation in several steps.
  • For breaking in clamping devices, the tile should be wrapped in cardboard and clamped between the jaws along the line of breaking. You can make a homemade clamp from two metal corners or wooden bars, fastened with bolts or pins.

Drilling technique

The process begins with the selection of drills or bits of any diameter. Any drilling tool will do, electric or manual. For drills it is desirable to have a speed control. This is important for the safety of the cutting accessories, because at high speeds the tips quickly shrink. And also in this case the probability of chipping of enamel increases.

The holes are made with special sharp-angled drills. However, they are very expensive. But it is possible to drill a surface of any hardness, and the life of such a tool is long. Usage of inexpensive lance-shaped tile drill bits is suitable for periodic, small amount of work. One tool, when used on tiles, is enough for two dozen holes. It is recommended to use diamond drill bits only as a last resort.

For the production of large round openings, it is possible to use a crown with a dusting or a ballerina.


The first thing to do is to make a marking and determine the line of the cut. For this purpose, the marker is drawn a straight line for the trimmer, which should clearly “read” during the undercut.

After it is necessary to adjust the angle grinder. turns are set on a medium level. Slowly, in 2-3 steps the tile is cut along the line. The cut is executed up to the end. on all thicknesses, to catch with a disk and a layer of glue on which it lies.

The next step is to dismantle the cut piece. To solve this problem, you need to use a chisel and hammer. If you do not have a chisel, you can take a knife from a hand planer or a fine chisel. In the extreme case, you can use a powerful flat screwdriver.

A simple variant

When there are no tools at hand, and the work must be done in the shortest possible time, accuracy is not very important, you can resort to the “grandfather’s” method, the most primitive and simple. So, how to cut a tile without using a tile cutter and other similar things? Need a hammer with a sharp end. With this hammer and ruler (or other flat object) are made notches on the line intended for further chipping. When the notches are enough and relatively deep (though less deep than when using glass cutters), the material is brought to the edge of the surface and the unnecessary part is sheared off by applying pressure. You can help with the blunt side of the hammer by tapping a little.

Do not use this method, except in extreme cases, when there is no other solution or other tools on hand.

It is also not worth resorting to it if you have a very limited number of tiles. the risk of damage is too high to risk the stock you have. Alternatively, the notches can be made with any other sturdy sharp object. awl, screwdriver and similar are a good option. Often large-sized nails are used. they are not sorry to damage in the case of unsuccessful actions.

Manual tile cutter

This tool allows you to cut tiles in a straight line or diagonally with the width of the cut cloth from 5 millimeters. It can be used to cut floor tiles and porcelain tiles. it consists of a base and a carriage with a diamond blade. a wheel that slides on the rail. For a deeper cut, it has a larger diameter than the glass cutter. the blade can be replaced as it wears. When selecting a tool, it is advisable to buy a mechanism with bearings to ensure smooth sliding of the cutting mechanism.

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

Start by smoothing the cut into the base of the tile according to the marked line. Then lock it tightly. The carriage is driven by hand, producing a single cut. Then the tile is split into pieces by pressing on the handle. This method sometimes results in small chips, which can be masked with grout.

Laying and trimming tiles: Mistakes everyone makes

Permanent author Houzz. Interior designer and decorator, head of the interior design studio “Cosy Flat”, trendsetter and colorist of premium interiors.

If all customers ordered a full-service project (with kitting, designer supervision). there would be no reason to write this article. But there are newcomers who will supervise the work of the tiler at the site themselves. And that’s why it’s my duty as a designer to warn them against possible mistakes.

After all, we don’t want “three-way” interiors with crooked-slanted tile, right?

Mistake : Hire a generalistThere is a perception that a tiler is someone who will solve absolutely all issues with laying floors and walls in wet areas. We really didn’t, back in, say, the ’90s, when the tile assortment was limited to rectangles and borders. Today, there are many varieties of tiles, and I do not envy your tiler, if he first sees a porcelain tile XXL format. By the way, such tiles can not be laid alone. take into account in the estimate that you will have to hire at least two people. Handmade ceramics and embossed tiles are also quite a challenge.

Conclusion: You want something special. look for a craftsman with the appropriate experience. The tile master who handled your friends’ tiles easily may be powerless in the face of 3D designer tile. And vice versa, if you want to save money. tell the designer right away that he did not offer the project some complicated versions of tiles in the laying.

Mistake: Not leveling the wallsIf the wall seems level, there is a temptation not to prepare it for tile installation. and this will lead to disappointment 100% of the time. Cuts in the corners will expand or narrow to the top, the same will happen to the tiles on the floor. all because the walls are too lazy to make a 90 degree angle. Such tiles, as in the photo, can not be placed on the “fallen” walls.

Mistake : Do not look at all of the tiles after purchase Look at the intense artificial lighting. about the same light will be in your bathroom. It happens that batches slightly differ in color. this happens even with expensive manufacturers. In this case, the tile must be rearranged and the elements of the same tone. For example, those that are darker, put on a wall where there is less light.

Mistake: Cutting tiles from one edge of the wall Imagine: a “front” section of wall, a beautiful bathtub is inscribed in the niche, and on the right or left. a thin five-centimeter “tail” of cut tiles. This happens if the tiles are laid from the corner, and to the opposite, it turns out that the last one needs to be trimmed. How to do it right: Tiles can only be laid from the corner if you calculated in advance and know exactly how many tiles fit in the niche. Sometimes it’s even easier and cheaper to add a little plasterboard to the wall. Or the second option: you have a tile with a rhythmic vertical pattern, as in the project in the photo. In this case even a narrow undercut will not be noticeable.

Fact: Quite often in the course of a project, one article is replaced by another from stock. And the designer usually redesigns the layout to accommodate the new dimensions.

Mistake : Undercutting by “strips” on the edges of the wall Exactly this effect. two strips on the edges. happens when the tiler starts to tile from the center, but doesn’t pay attention to how much space is left. To avoid this, you must, again, count and pre-draw the layout on paper or in a computer program. It’s important to place the tiles so that the undercuts on the edges are at least half the width of the tile (and better yet, more).

Fact: Installing rectangular tiles along the long side is always easier. it’s more likely that the undercuts will be large. You can also use checkerboarding, a very effective technique for simple geometric tiles like “boarboard” (pictured).

Everything is a bit easier with vertical laying: You can avoid bringing the tiles to the ceiling, and use moisture-resistant paint, since the water will probably not get in so high. And here is an example of work with just a tile (in the photo): the designer has decorated a bathroom with two materials. One tile imitates marble, the other. wood. The inserts made of porcelain tile like wood to “catch up” the height and not cut the “marble” tile.

tile, wall

Mistake : Do not consider the thickness of grout I always advise to match the size of the wall and the width of the tiles in advance. And don’t forget to include the grout in the calculation! Even rectified tiles have thin joints, let alone regular tiles. If the laying area is large, the count will be on centimeters.

The ideal thickness of joints for normal rectangular tiles is 2.5. 3 mm. No need to get thinner. when heated, the tiles expand a little, and the grout compensates for this movement. If the joint is too thin for your tiles, they may crack. It is also not necessary to make it too wide: the grout will eventually begin to crumble. If you want to make a seam seam imperceptible, just match the grout.

Fact: Some types of porcelain tiles have a chamfer at the edges. the manufacturers put it for the convenience of transportation. It is believed that thanks to the chamfer does not appear chips. However, visually such a chamfer can increase the width of the joint. Keep this in mind if the distance between tiles is crucial for your project.

Mistake : Laying tiles “by eye” To keep the tiles in one plane and at the same distance from each other, craftsmen use a level and good old plastic crosses. They may look a little different. for example, have additional loops, for which it is more convenient to pull them out of the joints. but the essence remains the same: crosses and wedges are designed to ensure that you have even joints. On the Internet there are impressive videos where tilers lay the material without crosses, with a laser level, but I would not advise to experiment. I have not seen successful results of such work.

Tip: If you use tiles of different thickness, explain to the builders that relief is normal. Every designer has a story about how the tiler tried to “sink” a thick tile to make it flush with a thinner one.

Mistake : Incorrect glue application The tile underlayment is not something you should skimp on: it’s about cost, as well as quantity. Sometimes glue is applied only in the corners of the tile to save money. this is not allowed: no matter how hard you press the tile, the adhesion area will be too small. Such tiles will sooner or later burst. either from an accidental impact, or from the stress that the adhesive itself creates after drying.

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