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Tool Guide for Cutting Tile & Stone

After the project has been planned out and materials bought, it eventually comes time to start cutting the tile or stone. Using the proper tools and technique will help achieve a professional looking installation and cut down on wasted material. This guide will help identify some the commonly used tools for cutting tile and how to use them.

The type of material being cut helps to determine the type of tool that needed. For example, with some materials such as natural stone and brick, it is best to use a wet tile saw. Other tile material including ceramic, porcelain, and quarry tile can be cut using other tools besides a tile saw including tile nippers, tile snap cutter, and carbide-tipped pencil. Additionally, the type of cuts you need to make will be important in your tool decision. Straight cuts, notched cuts, and circular cuts all require different cutting tools and techniques.

If you will be doing mostly straight cuts (or rip cuts), there several tools available for your disposal. A carbide-tipped pencil, tile snap cutter, and wet tile saw can all be used to make simple straight cuts. By turning the tile, diagonal cuts can also be performed with these tools.

At some point, most wall tile jobs will also require notched cuts or hole cuts for tiling around receptacles, electrical outlets, and outside corners in walls and appliances. To create a seamless installation, the tile must be cut out around the receptacle for a quality, finished look. These cuts cannot be done with a carbide pencil or tile snap cutter and can become disruptive to the workflow without the right tool.

There are two methods for creating outlet cuts. The first way requires making a notch in the side or the corner of the tile. The second method requires cutting the receptacle shape directly from the middle of a tile. Tile nippers are commonly used to notch the sides or corners while a tile saw with a plunge cut feature can be used to cut a square receptacle directly from center of the tile.

Finally, if you are tiling a bathroom or kitchen, you will need curved or circular cuts for fitting around pipes, drains, toilet bases, and sink pedestals. Smaller, circular cuts can be performed with a drill and a carbide tipped or diamond tipped hole saw attachment. With a hole saw, you can drill the hole straight from center of the tile. Hole saws generally come in smaller sizes and are great for small outlets such as pipes.

A tile saw can be used for curved or half-circle cuts from the side of a tile. To make a large hole cut, a common technique is to make a half-circle cut out from the side of two tiles. The tiles can then be fitted together to create a large, circular hole. Tile nippers, a smaller hand tool, are also very commonly used for circular or curved cuts from the side of tile. With tile nippers, any irregular cuts can also easily be made.

For a more in depth guide to carbide-tipped pencils, tile snap cutters, tile nippers, hole saws, and tile saws, be sure to check out rest of our:

Tool Guide for Cutting Tile & Stone

Tile Snap Cutter & Carbide-Tipped Pencil
Tile Nipper & Hole Saw
Tile Saw