How to Cut Ceramic Tile With a Tile Snap Cutter

Limitations of a Snap Tile Cutter

Standard ceramic tiles up to 3/8 inch in thickness generally can be cut quite easily with a snap tile cutter. There is a limit to the tool’s use, however. Ceramic floor tiles more than 3/8 inch thick are difficult to cut with this tool, as are porcelain tiles and natural stone tiles, both of which are notably harder than standard ceramic tiles. Where a snap cutter is not practical, the alternative is to use a power wet saw, which uses a diamond blade that can cut these materials with ease. A wet saw is also called for when you have any very large tile job that requires lots of cutting since it makes the job much easier. Wet saws are available for lease at tool rental outlets and home centers, but DIYers who do frequent tile work may want to invest in an affordable model of their own.


How toCut Tile with a Manual Tile Cutter

If you are plan to cut the tiles manually since it’s cheaper, easier and safer, then a manual cutter tile is perfect to makestraight cuts on ceramic tile; however, it should be kept in mind, you cant use it to make mixed cuts or use it on stone.

When using a tile cutter, the first score is quite important. The continuous and a solid motion will help you score the tile easily. You will only need one or at most two passes to snap the tile as more than that would result in an uneven breakage. Use minimal pressure to avoid internal cracks and til breakage while snapping.

1. Purchasing the Tile Cutter

If you need to perform a diagonal cut, buy a tile cutter that has more width than the corner to corner distance. With the help of a rotating guide, one can make cuts at different angles.

2. Practice the Cut

You can practice the cut by using some inexpensive or scrap pieces of tiles. This step is especially for the beginners and professionals can directly skip to step 3

3. Marking for the Cut

A pencil or some sort of mark can be used to highlight the cut on both the sides of the tile from the beginning to the end

4. Slide the Level

Basically, you need this to perform the task easily. On the tile cutter, you need to slide the level so that the blade comes close to you

5. Placing the Tile

By keeping the glazed side up, place the tile into the tile cutter. You have to ensure that the marking are perfectly over the guide line. You can even cut many tiles similarly by adjusting the protractor gauge. Make sure it is against the side of the line and fixed properly

6. Moving the Level

Adjust the lever so that the tungsten or carbide wheel is over the marked line. Push the lever down towards the edge of the tile by applying equal pressure continuously. This will make the marking edge weak enough to cut easily

7. Cutting it into Two

Apply pressure on the weakest point which is on either sides of the score line by pushing down the lever.

8. Make the Sides Smooth

Use a sharpening stone or sand paper to smoothen the sides of the cut edge. In the moulding process, if the cut edge remains hidden you don’t need to smoothen it.

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Handheld Tile Cutter Safety

A handheld tile cutter is safe to use, unlike any other cutting tool which requires a lot of precaution and concentration; and even can be very dangerous to use.

But, while working with any sharp tool, you need to maintain some precautions to avoid the risk of any threats or any harmful situations.

  • Whenever you are working with a tile cutter, use a protective gear to prevent your eyes from any particles that may damage them, so always remember to wear eye protection at all times.
  • It is necessary to protect your hands from the sharp jaws of the cutter so to do that you can wear thick gloves that can keep your hands safe from the harmful teeth.
  • If your tile cutter is made only from metals like Iron, aluminum, etc., you will have to protect your handheld tile cutter from the water, so it does not rust and stays the same colour, with its perfect looking teeth.

So, this efficient tool is a great and an easy option for performing any tiling job for beginners and professionals; everyone will be comfortable with this object.

Also, this tool is one of the cheapest tools available in the market for tile cutting; therefore, it goes easy on your wallet as well.

Apart from all that it is much faster and does not require any electricity; you won’t even have to install anything. This impactful and safe tool can do your tiling job instantly and accurately if used in the right way.

What can you do if your tile is chipped

The only way to fix a tile that has been chipped is to remove it and put in a brand new tile in its place. If your tile shops have done a good job of calculating your tile order, you should have a carton of tiles on hand as a spare in case of mishaps like this one. By doing this, you will ensure that the tile you replace comes from a batch with the same color and shape.

If you do not have a box of leftover tiles, you can take the chipped tile to your local tile store and inquire as to whether or not the store is able to source tiles that are the same or that match the chipped tile you already have.

To remove the chipped tile, you should:

  • Scrape out all the grout around the chipped tile.
  • Use a small chisel and chop a hole in the centre of the damaged tile.
  • Working your way outwards, but always chipping towards the centre of the tile, gradually remove the tile.
  • Replace the tile and grout, as we mentioned earlier, your tiler should have a few spare tiles, or you should have them stored just in case of issues such as this.

Notching One End

Set the saw blade or platform to full tile thickness.

Place the tile on the platform with the mark facing the blade, but don’t touch it. If you’ve scored the tile, one end of the cut should face the saw blade. Engage the saw’s blade.

Push the tile 1 or 2 inches into the saw blade, then pull it out and turn off the saw. If it’s a small tile, cut 1 inch from the edge; if it’s 12 inches square, cut 2 inches.

Turn the tile to the opposite end of the initial cut, the mark or scored line.

Turn on the saw and cut the tile across the mark to where you made the first cut.

What are the different types of tile cutters?

Some cutters can only cut tiles up to 12 inches while others can cut tiles 24 inches and larger. The slides rail/s most commonly consist of either a single bar or two tubes. There are many other tools available to cut tile besides a manual tile cutter: tile saws, nippers, grinders are a few.

Safety tips when using a tile saw

A tile saw can be a dangerous tool if not used properly. You should always take safety precautions when operating it, such as:

  • wear safety goggles and gloves to protect yourself
  • wear a face mask to prevent dust and debris in the air from being inhaled
  • check the sharpness of the blade before using the saw to ensure it can operate properly
  • don’t overload the saw and operate it only within its limits

Tile Snap Cutter vs. Wet Tile Saw

A wet tile saw produces accurate cuts suitable for visible work. Every tile professional owns one and good models are expensive.

Just like a table saw for wood, a spinning round blade cuts through the tile, with one exception—the blade is continually bathed in water to cool the tile and control debris.

Wet tile saws produce clean, accurate cuts. Tile snap cutters can often produce an edge that, while straight, will have a few ragged sections.

Professionals often use both a tile snap cutter and a wet tile saw. The tile snap cutter helps tile workers make lots of cuts in tile. Plus, they can make these cuts in the installation area, not off to the side or outdoors (since it's best to use wet tile saws outdoors).

Parinya Khaowsakul / Getty Images

Tips For Using a Tile Snap Cutter

  • Learn How to Use It: Cutting tile with a snap cutter is a three-part process. First, draw the cutting wheel firmly across the surface of the tile, deeply scoring the surface of the tile. Second, re-position the tile so that the snapping nubs of the tile cutter rest on top of the tile. Third, press down on the cutter so that it snaps the tile.
  • Practice on Cheap Tile: Practice on a few sheets of the cheapest possible tile that is relatively the same shape and thickness as the tile you intend to use for your project. These are practice tiles so you can hone your mastery of the snap cutter. Either pick up broken tiles at your tile store or purchase a few.
  • Emphasize the First Score: Score the top surface of the tile with a very forceful motion. But if you press too hard, you will break the tile. At most, you can score the tile a second time. But three or more scores usually result in a very ragged score that will not produce a clean break.
  • Hide the Edges: Accept the fact that snaps will not result in perfectly straight lines. In most cases, this does not matter because the uneven side will be placed against the wall side and covered with a baseboard.
  • Rent Better Models: Snap tile cutters are sold for as little as $25 to $50. But if you're planning on a large installation, you may want to rent one of the larger commercial models.
  • Wear Safety Glasses: Though tile snap cutters don't produce the fast-moving shards of tile like wet tile saws do, they still can shoot pieces of tile in your direction. Always wear safety glasses when using tile snap cutters.
  • Tile Nibblers or Nippers: These are often used in conjunction with a snap cutter. They are a plier like device that can be used to nibble off or clean up uneven edges left by the snap cutter.


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