Tools and techniques for cutting ceramic tiles
As promised in a previous article on laying tile on the floor. I want to dedicate this article to how to cut tiles. If you install the tiles on the wall or on the floor, it is impossible to do without this operation.
Glazed ceramic tile, as you know, is made of fired clay, covered with glaze on top. The clay is shaped into a certain shape, dried to fix the volume. A layer of glaze is applied and fired in the oven. As a result of firing, the tile becomes more durable, durable and has a beautiful aesthetic appearance. In the finished tile is not subject to deformation and bending, although it is very fragile and easily pricks.
Based on all these properties, and apply different ways to cut it. Let’s consider each of the methods briefly separately, and dwell on how to cut tiles with your own hands at home with a small amount of work.
How to cut the tiles with their own hands in the home conditions
We cut tiles with a portable electric tile cutter
This is the highest quality and most productive method of cutting. If we cut with this tool, using a diamond cutting wheel and water supply to the place of cutting we get a very clean and high-quality cut. Another advantage of this method is the fact that it generates no dust and does not require physical effort.
It is advisable to use this cutting mechanism for a very large work front. Along with a huge number of advantages, there is one disadvantage. the price of the electric tile cutter. The cost of professional models starts at 700.
Cutting tiles with a manual stationary tile cutter
This is the next tool than to cut ceramic tiles. the most common, both among professionals and among people doing repairs with their own hands.
Cutting technology is very simple: we mark the tile, cut in the direction from yourself. Using light pressure, divide the tile into two parts.
It is advisable to use this tool in the medium amount of work and when cutting thick and durable ceramics (for example, flooring). Due to the large diameter of the cutting wheel, the groove in the glaze is larger, and the tile is easier to break.
At the moment, the price of this type of tool varies greatly depending on the quality. Good quality handheld tile cutters, with a rigid frame and support cost from 40 to 300.
Using a roller glass cutter
This is the most primitive and not very comfortable way. It can only be used when cutting not very hard and not very thick ceramics. It is very difficult to cut floor tiles with it at all. But still, this method has its place and can be used for laying wall tiles.
Types of ceramic tiles and features of work with it
- Porcelain tiles. floor tiles, durable, thick. It is formed by dry pressing and fired at a very high temperature. It is almost indestructible, resistant to acids, alkalis and other aggressive media. It is thicker than tile, can be cut with an angle grinder or similar tool, but also afraid of shock, and can split.
- Clinker is a sturdy tile of great thickness, has a compacted base. It is made by pressing or, more often, by extrusion, which allows it to be given any shape. It comes in glazed and unglazed, wear-resistant, frostproof, neutral to aggressive media, does not absorb water.
- Cotto. solid tile for flooring and exterior cladding. Also made by extrusion, not glazed, has a natural range of colors, from yellow to brown.
- Cottoforte is a pressed tile that is made by double firing. The upper side of the tile is always covered with an opaque glaze. Such tiles are very hard-wearing and most often used for floors in enclosed spaces.
- Monocottura is a type of pressed glazed tile which is made from clay. It is strong, dense and frost resistant.
- Majolica. Tiles with a highly porous texture. The base of the tiles is red clay. The outer side of the tiles is always covered by an opaque glaze, with a colored image on top.
- Earthenware. Tiles with white clay as their substrate. The exterior surface is coated with a glaze. Such tiles can be used to decorate any surface, the main condition for operation. dryness. Here’s how and what to cut ceramic tiles with.
Of course, the most convenient way to cut ceramic tiles is with a tile cutter. However, a good professional device is very expensive, for households it is unprofitable to buy. For a small amount of one-time tiling work is quite enough the usual glass cutter.
Ordinary hand-held glass cutters are of these kinds:
- The tile cutter. with a stationary cutter made of cobalt and tungsten carbide. Inexpensive tool of poor quality, blunts quickly, cuts unevenly.
- Roller. with a set of round roller carbon-tungsten cutters, which are connected on a rotating plane, from 3 to 6 pcs., for alternate cutting. Makes a smooth cut, does not blunt quickly.
- Oil. similar to the roller one, only it has a reservoir of grease in the handle, which reduces friction and contributes to a high-quality uniform cut.
- Diamond is the best tile cutter. Cuts with a soldered crystal equipped with an adjustment screw. Amateur modification has an artificial diamond as a cutter, and the professional one has a natural diamond, capable of cutting tiles of any thickness.
The method of cutting tiles is about the same for all varieties of glass cutter, and does not differ much from trimming Window glass. You need:
- Arrange the work surface: a flat sheet of plywood, plastic, or a regular tabletop.
- Soak the tiles in cold water for about half an hour.
- Lay it face up and mark points for cutting.
- To lead, using a ruler and a marker (a pencil, a sharp nail) a fishing line for a trimmer cut.
- Press the ruler firmly and guide the trimmer line evenly and firmly against the surface with the glass cutter. Cutting direction is toward yourself, from the top down from the farthest point.
- Fracture the tile along the cut line by placing a rail under it, or use the edge of the countertop by applying pressure on the hanging part.
- Clean and grind the cut surface.
How to cut ceramic tiles with a handheld tile cutter?
The handheld tile cutter is the optimal device for cutting ceramic tiles at home. For one-time applications it is enough to use a glass cutter, cutter and even a nail. But if you have a large repair job involving tiling or ceramic tile, it makes sense to buy this tool.
What is a handheld tile cutter?
- The base is the support base for all other tile cutters.
- Guides for moving the cutter.
- The cutter or cutting element is a hard metal roller with a sharp edge, mounted on an axis.
- Handle for moving the cutter along the cutting line.
Such a device has significant advantages in operation:
- Ease of use, thanks to its uncomplicated design.
- Using the handle as a lever that optimizes the cutting force.
- Precise, straight cuts.
- Versatile. can be used for both ceramic and glazed tiles.
If you have no experience with the tile cutter, we recommend that you first practice on unnecessary, split tiles to learn how to cut a tile evenly and beautifully.
So, how to cut ceramic tiles?
- Using a marker or pencil, mark the cut trimmer line on the tile face.
- Use the clamps or your free hand to clamp the tile to the cutting element.
- Apply a drop of machine oil to the roller to reduce friction and achieve a smooth cut.
- Lift the handle, bring the roller into contact with the tile face.
- Slide the handle gently toward you, being careful to apply the optimal amount of pressure. Insufficient pressure produces a shallow cut, while excessive pressure can cause cracks in the face.
- Remove the notched tile from the tile cutter and either place it with the notch along the edge of the table or use a flat block to apply firm pressure to break it off along the notch.
- If necessary, grind the edge with an emery or stone.
How to make a curve
Sometimes you need to prepare tiles for laying around pipes or plumbing. Then the question arises. how can you shape-cut tile without tile cutter. With an electric tile cutter to do it quite simply, but how else can you perform such a task?
Figuratively cut tiles can be done in several ways:
How to cut the material with an angle grinder, a jigsaw and a glass cutter is quite clear in principle. And here’s how to get by with just pliers? To do this, you need to draw a line for the trimmer of the future cut. It is possible to facilitate the task and scratch it with a nail. Then take the pliers and begin to break off unwanted material in small pieces. The best way to cope with this task are cutters with carbide clamps.
Inconvenient areas and shaped cutouts are performed using pliers
As for the drill, you can use an ordinary drill bit to mark the contour, and then break off the excess with the same clippers. effective way to cut holes of any diameter is to use special tools: a feather, a ballerina, a crown, etc. д.
If you have a voluminous work and need to cut hard ceramic floor tiles, but you do not have neither an angle grinder, nor tile cutter, it is best to use the services of firms engaged in cutting construction materials. Waterjet cutting is optimal.
Even the most complex shaped elements can be produced with this method. The essence of this cutting lies in the fact that on 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. Computer-controlled operation even with complex patterns.
Every method is good in its own way. The choice of a particular alternative method depends largely on the amount of work and skills of the master. With these tools you can do without buying a special tile cutter.
How to cut porcelain tiles at home: methods and necessary tools
If you have time and desire, many people prefer to do the repair themselves, because it helps to significantly save money and gain personal experience. When it comes to tiling a room with porcelain tile, many overestimate their capabilities relying on previous experience with common tiles. As for the laying technique itself, the process is identical, but cutting porcelain stoneware requires a little different skill and knowledge of the peculiarities of the material from the master. In this article we will tell in detail, what to cut porcelain tile at home even without having experience, what materials are required for this and give some useful tips.
First of all, it is necessary to choose a cutting method based on the material characteristics, room area, aesthetic requirements, and personal experience. For example, if the area of the room is large, then the use of a mechanical tile cutter or electric jigsaw is not justified, these tools are suitable for finishing apartment rooms. The use of an angle grinder is also not always suitable, as the result is a large amount of dust, noise and the quality of the cut leaves much to be desired.
We are often asked if it is possible to cut porcelain tiles with a hand saw? You can try it, of course, but the result is unlikely to please you. The tool is not designed for such material and you will only ruin the tiles. Below we will consider each of the methods in detail.
Cutting with a mechanical handheld tile cutter
The use of a mechanical tile cutter is ideal for work with small amounts of tiling, bathroom, toilet, kitchen or hallway in apartments or private homes. The advantages of the device include:
- No dust and noise when working;
- Does not require electricity;
- Mobility and ease of maintenance;
- Relatively safe and suitable for experienced craftsmen and beginners alike.
FYI. Among the disadvantages are the ability to make only a straight cut. If you are inexperienced, the cut may have minor chipping. No chamfering possible and the cutting wheel wears out quickly when working with porcelain stoneware.
Important! Before you cut porcelain tiles with a mechanical tile cutter, make sure that the device is in working condition, stands on a flat surface, all elements are securely fixed and have no backlash. If the tool is not an expensive model, it is necessary to lubricate the guide slides of the carriage before work. The more expensive models have bearings on the cutting carriage to ensure smooth operation.
Then perform the work according to the step-by-step list:
- Make a marking on the tile with a pencil or marker, which can be wiped off after the cut;
- Lay the material on the bed of the appliance so that the trimmer line of the cut corresponds to the markings on the bed. If the line is not marked, roll the trimmer effortlessly over the marked line and check that it does not move away from the intended cut;
- Next, with light pressure on the handle, make the cut toward you;
- Then press the special feet on the tile to split it.
Important! Do not make the cut twice and do not apply too much pressure to the handle, as this may result in chipping. When pushing on the tile to split it, make sure the cutting wheel is outside the material and does not rest on the porcelain tile when pushing. For clarity we suggest to watch video material where a specialist shows the process of cutting on the machine.
Cutting porcelain stoneware with an angle grinder
Using an angle grinder for cutting porcelain tiles is not the best solution. From the obvious disadvantages of this tool can be noted noise, a lot of dust, an uneven cut with a lot of chips especially on glossy porcelain tiles, increased danger of the tool. Of course, in the hands of an experienced technician angle grinder does a good job, but if you have little experience and the work is carried out in the apartment, it is better to buy a mechanical tile cutter.
Step-by-step instructions when working with an angle grinder are as follows:
- Lay the porcelain tile on a flat surface, preferably put a foam pad or a piece of board under it so as not to damage the surface of the floor;
- Using an alcohol marker, pencil or chalk (depends on the type of surface), apply a trimmer line to the notch;
- Secure the tile with a clamp or foot, first wearing special protective shoes;
- Turn on the angle grinder and make the cut in the direction from yourself to a depth of 2-4 mm;
Important! The cut is made only once. It is not necessary to cut the tile to a full depth, this will lead to overheating of the cutting disc and its damage. If the angle grinder has a speed regulator, then it is recommended to set the range of 6 to 8 thousand. Use a disc with a speed of 100-120 mm.
- After you finish cutting the tiles, put them on a flat and hard surface, you can put nails, two screws or any other item that will serve as a fulcrum and raise the tile by several millimeters under the cutting line of the trimmer from both sides.
- Firmly push down on the opposite flats of the cut, and the tile will break along the line of the notch, as shown in the video below.
Most likely the edges of the break will be uneven and you can use the same angle grinder or coarse grit sandpaper to grind them. Use an angle grinder is permissible for those cuts, which will later be hidden or are in low-visible places. On our website you can read in detail how to choose a disc for cutting porcelain tiles and tiles with an angle grinder.
Safety rules for cutting
Safety rules when working with tools for cutting as simple as possible, their observance is mandatory, because your health and even life depend on it. When using non-electric tools, a basic set of protective equipment is gloves and glasses. Gloves will help prevent cuts from sharp edges of the material and safety glasses will prevent chips and dust from getting into your eyes.
When working with electric tools, angle grinder or tile cutter, special attention must be paid to safety:
- Never change or clean the cutting disk when the machine or angle grinder is plugged in. The equipment must be completely de-energized.
- The cutting wheel must not be inserted into the porcelain tile more than one-third of the way with the angle grinder. When using a tile cutter, the wheel must not be lowered by more than half.
- The angle grinder must have a safety guard and the cut of the tile must be made in the direction from yourself.
- Wear protective clothing made of thick material and do not leave any exposed body parts. When the cutting wheel is heated, the spray particles can bounce off and leave burns on the body.
- It is important to use gloves of heavy fabric. Practice shows that knitted gloves are not suitable and can cause injury. Often, if the tool is not handled properly, the disc or locknut will catch the glove threads and can twist them.
- On clothes should not be hanging straps or clasps, and if you have long hair, they must be hidden in the headdress.
Since power tools create noise and often a lot of dust, goggles, headphones, and a respirator should be mandatory protective equipment.
Cutting with an angle grinder
Angle grinder so versatile power tool that it is difficult to imagine the repair of the room without it. You can also cut tiles with an angle grinder. You will need to have a diamond disc in your arsenal. You can also use a stone wheel.
It is necessary to mark the cut on the tile with a nail or awl. It is better to do this on both sides: on the front of the tile, on the glaze, and on the inside of the surface. The cut itself is best carried out in several stages. First, with an indentation of 2. 3 mm pass on one side, and then also on the other side. And continue to do so until the tile splits in two. With this approach, the risk of splitting the tile is minimized.
Experienced craftsmen can use the angle grinder to make a curved tile cut, and even rounded holes.
Cutting tiles with a glass cutter
The tiles can be split with a glass cutter. And with this tool it is possible to cut exactly glazed tiles. For cutting it is only necessary to put a couple of millimeters deep notch on the outer part, which is covered with glaze. The glass cutter is carried out on the surface using a metal ruler.
The cutting process itself is carried out by a light tap on a wooden corner from a distance of about 20 cm. The tile is taken in two hands along the line of the marking and sharply hit on the protruding corner.
You can use a pilot drill bit instead of a glass cutter.
This method can only achieve a straight cut, and attempts to make a shaped divide or a hole in the tile, most likely to turn out to split the building material.
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. Waterjet cutting is the optimal choice.
With this method you can cut with your own hands even the most complex shaped elements at home. The essence of the process consists in the fact that on the face of the tile a thin stream of water, mixed with the finest solid abrasive particles, such as sand, is delivered at high pressure. Computer-controlled process control allows even the most complex patterns to be worked on.
In this article we looked at several ways you can cut tiles at home without a tile cutter. Each method is good in its own way. The choice of a particular alternative method depends on the amount of tile work and the skills of the craftsman. With these tools do without the purchase of a special tile cutter.
Figuratively cut tile, such as a semi-circle, it is difficult. For this purpose, it is recommended to use more maneuverable tools. Of course, you can try to do the work with an angle grinder or glass cutter, but it is better not to risk the integrity of the material and use a jigsaw.
How to properly cut tiles at home with an electric jigsaw:
- Run a pencil line for trimmer marking. If the tiles are too dense, it is recommended to soak them in water beforehand, and then wipe them dry.
- Use the diamond-tipped saw blade on the jigsaw.
- Start moving smoothly to get a foothold in the groove.
- Lead the tool along the marking, but do not forcefully. Until you cut through the tile, do not move it forward, otherwise you risk breaking the cutting part.
- Bring the jigsaw smoothly to the edge, at this point it can go sideways, so keep it in the right position.
One of the non-standard, but quite effective ways of sawing tiles is the use of a simple nail. It should be sharp at the end and large enough to comfortably grip and apply the necessary pressure to the material. The working principle of the glass cutter is used. Make a groove in the tile according to the marks, and then break in two pieces. The bevel turns out even and quite neat, if you do everything correctly and clearly.
Remember that not always an expensive tool is a guarantee of quality. For the most part, everything depends on the master himself, so before working with the finishing material is recommended to practice on unnecessary fragments.
How to choose the right one
With soft porous tiles, particularly glazed, hand tools are used. Pressing force is enough to split the tile in two. If you work with porcelain tiles, then you can not do without special electric machines.
Relief ceramic tiles should be cut only on the front side, so the glass cutter and other tools working on the same principle will not work. Use an electric machine, because at the slightest deviation chipping is formed. It is difficult to grind away the damaged area because the pattern is broken.
Which nozzle to use
The next important step is to choose the right cutter. Each type of material and tool has its own parameters. When working with ceramic tiles, it is recommended to use cutters with diamond components. An angle grinder and an electric plate cutter have a disk, a jigsaw has a wire with a spray, and a glass cutter has a diamond pebble.
Less resistant materials don’t hold up to the tile or they grind very quickly.
What type of disc is used for the angle grinder? Use the dry-cutting bit. The electric tile cutter has more choices. It all depends on the type of construction. When the tool works on the principle of a simple circular saw, a dry disc is enough. If your machine has a water tank, this attachment is not suitable, replace it with a wet cutting disk. The advantage of this method is the absence of a large amount of dust and dirt.
Tile types and cutting peculiarities
The most common is glazed tiles. Its cutting is much the same as on glass. The grooves must be marked on the front side. If you only have pliers or a weak tile cutter at hand, you can facilitate the cutting of thick floor ceramics with an angle grinder. To do this, the trimmer line duplicates the cut from the front to the back. The angle grinder carefully makes a groove about half the thickness of the tile. After that it is already much easier to break it.
It is better to break, having the tile all along the line of the notch on a flat surface, countertop corner or a metal corner. Look at the tile cutter for an example and how the cut line support is implemented on it. There is a small flat along the entire length of the ledge and some beveled edges of the surface on the sides of it.
If you need to cut porcelain tile or any textured tile, there are very few options. Only tools with a diamond disk can be used for this purpose, which cuts through the entire thickness of the tile.
Always cut with an angle grinder or grinder on a flat surface without tearing the tile off. Otherwise it is easy to chip the material in a situation where the cutting disc would get stuck in the cut.
Cutting oblique lines and shaped edges
The shape of the cut is marked out on the tile beforehand. It can be a corner or even a rounding to install a tile at a wall ledge or pipe exit. After that, either use an electric machine to carefully and piecemeal cut out all the excess, or use tongs.
For the second option, you should carefully draw the cutting wheel along the cut line. After that, using pliers or pliers, literally chew off a piece of tile, until you get to the edge of the limiting line. You can use coarse sandpaper or emery board to make an even edge.
Even if the shape of the cut is made on an electric machine, sometimes you have to finish the line for the trimmer with pliers.