Cutting tiles is not difficult provided you have the correct tools and follow the right methods. Here we give you some useful tips for cutting tiles.
Ceramic or porcelain tiles offer a world of interior design options with their range of texture, colour, patterns and style. And investing in good quality tiles is an investment in your home so you want to make sure they are installed properly, whether you are employing a professional tiler or doing it yourself.
You might be using your interior design talents to create a unique tile installation with borders and panels of complementary tiling or you may be opting for a simple, cohesive design with matching wall and floor tiles in porcelain for a beautifully unfussy look. Whatever your chosen style it is essential to get a good finish. Bad tiling will always show and will always bother you – so get it right first time by making sure you prepare your surfaces properly, use the correct adhesive and take time over the layout and cutting of the tiles.
Cutting tiles can be a daunting prospect if you haven’t done it before, especially when the tiles are expensive, but just take you time, make sure you have the right tools and follow our expert advice.
One of the best tools for cutting porcelain tiles is a wet saw which will give you a smooth, accurate cut. However, there may be sections that need to be curved so you will probably also need a snap cutter to create a curved line. You may also need a hole saw to accommodate pipes coming out of the wall – although think about this in the planning stage as changing the layout slightly might avoid unnecessary cuts.
Precision saws are not necessary for ceramic tiles to cut them as they are softer, so a sharp safety blade will be adequate.
You must ensure you take safety precautions when cutting tiles. Nasty injuries can occur if you do not adequately protect yourself during this activity. Ensure you follow the tool instructions given by the manufacturer and wear hand protection, remove any loose jewellery or clothing and remember to protect your eyes as dust may be created when you cut the tile.
Perhaps your tile design is curved, or you have a curved object in a room that you need to cut your tiles around, in which case you’ll need to cut curves into your tiles. The easiest and most accurate way to cut a curve into a tile is to make a template for the shape you want to cut. All you need to do is cut some thin cardboard into the shape you want to cut and then place it on the tile. If this is difficult you could use a bendy piece of wire or similar malleable material to mould a curved shape on top of the tile. You need to then trace around the edge of the cardboard or wire using a marker that is not permanent. Then use your tool of choice to cut the tile accurately.
Porcelain tiles are a very hard form of ceramic tile with an exceptionally low absorption rate. They are most often used as floor tiles but can be used in many indoor and outdoor settings. Porcelain tiles will often need to be sanded down because the simple act of cutting them can create very sharp edges. If the edge will be covered or hidden it isn’t a problem, but if it will be exposed it will be very dangerous. If the sharp edge is going to be exposed you’ll need to sand it down. The easiest way to do this is to use a sanding tool like an angle grinder with a tile sanding disc attached. If you’re unsure which disc is appropriate ask a DIY assistant at the DIY shop or alternatively, use a non-electrical tool like a sanding stone.
You can use something like a snap cutter for countertop tile cutting, but it is much less laborious to use a wet saw because the snap cutter will take longer to cut awkward shaped tiles. The best way to approach cutting countertop tiles is to begin by laying all of the tiles out where they need to go, drawing on (using the method above) any cuts that need to be made as you go along. By doing this you will ensure you have all the tiles cut and ready for laying.