4 Easy Ways to Cut Ceramic or Porcelain Tiles

Installing shiny new ceramic tiles can really perk up a room, be it a new backsplash in your kitchen, flooring in the entryway, or in the bathroom – there’s nothing like new tile to make an old bathtub or shower look nearly new again. (It may even increase your home’s value.)

One of the first steps to consider when planning a DIY tile job is how you will cut tiles. Here is an overview of four common tools and methods for cutting tile, including how much each tool costs and what cuts they are best suited for.

Manual tile cutter

The manual tile cutter is the perfect tool for making straight cuts in smaller tiles. It uses a simple “score-and-snap” technique that goes very quickly, enabling you to cut many tiles in a short period of time.

manual cutter

Best suited for: Making straight cuts in small ceramic tiles.

Not suited for: Diagonal cuts, very tiny cuts, rounded cuts, or larger tiles that won’t fit inside the cutter.

Cost: $25 – $30

Tile nippers

Tile nippers are a hand tool with which you can make curved or unusually shaped cuts in tile. You simply score a reference line into the tile and then make small cuts with the nippers to the reference line. They work well for situations in which you need to tile in an oddly shaped area, such as around the base of a toilet.

Best suited for: Making unusual or rounded cuts in tile.

Not suited for: Cutting large numbers of tile – the process of using tile nippers goes very slowly.

Cost: $10 – $20

Diamond hole saw

The diamond hole saw is used in combination with a power drill. It fits into the chuck of the drill just as any drill bit would, and then you can use it to cut round holes in the tile. This is very helpful when you have to tile around obstacles, such as plumbing pipes.

Best suited for: Making round holes in tile. It has just this one use. However, when you need to make a round hole, it’s great to have on hand!

Cost: $15 – $25 for a mid-range type. (Plus a power drill.)

Wet saw

The wet saw is the tool of all tools for cutting tile. It works by using water to keep the blade wet and cool while you saw the tile. You can use it to make straight, diagonal, combination, and even very tiny cuts in ceramic or porcelain tile. You aren’t limited to cutting flat tiles with a wet saw, either. You can use it to cut tile finishing trim pieces, such as bullnose and quarter-round pieces. And because the process of cutting tile goes so quickly with a wet saw, you can cut large numbers of tile in a short period of time.

wet saw

Best suited for: Large tile jobs where you need to make many cuts in tile, and different types of cuts in tile.

Not suited for: Making curved or rounded cuts.

Cost: Can be rented from home improvement stores for $40 – $50.

Now that you know how to cut your tile, you can get creative and change the look of any room in your home with a new tiling job. And you can do it yourself!

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