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How To Cut Wall Tiles: 6 Helpful Methods

It might seem a hassle but cutting wall tiles is somewhat of an inevitability in many DIY projects. Unless you’re tiling a very small area, e.g. a kitchen or bathroom splashback, where you can use whole tiles only, you’ll need to cut your own tiles.

To do this, you may need some power tools but this will depend on the scale of the job. Areas you need to consider cutting tiles to fit around are windows, pipes, electrics, curved surfaces and doorways, to name just a few.

What you’ll need to cut wall tiles

Before you start the process, ensure you have the following tools to hand.

Tools:

  • Steel rule
  • Chinagraph pencil or non-stain pen
  • Tile scorer
  • Score/snapper tool
  • Tile cutting machine
  • Set square

A note on safety

Cutting wall tiles involves sharp implements. Always keep knives, files, scribes, etc, out of the reach of children. Wear knee-pads and always cut away from your body, taking care to not cut your hands or fingers.

2 methods to cutting wall tiles

Cutting Equipment Methods

Method 1: Using a scorer/snapper tool
This method can be used when cutting thin glazed ceramic wall tiles

Basic tile scribes work fine with thinner tiles but some thicker or stronger ones aren’t so easy to snap. A combo scorer/snapper tool is a great alternative.

Step 1: Measure up

Measure up as normal using a steel rule and check your measurements carefully. Then, similarly to the scribe tool, run the wheel of your scorer/snapper tool down your line along your rule.

Step 2: Snap your tile

Place the tile between the jaw end of your scorer/snapper tool. Squeeze the tool and your tile should snap cleanly without too much effort.

Method 2: Using a tile slide and snap cutter

This method can be used with most ceramic and porcelain tiles

If you’ve got lots of thicker tiles to cut then it might be wise to invest in a tile slid and snap cutter. These durable tools combine scorers, snappers and a strong bed with a clamp and gauge for measuring tiles accurately and easily. They’re inexpensive and are generally simple to use.

Step 1: Line up markings

Mark your tile and place it onto the machine bed. Line up your markings with the gauge in the tool and bring the scorer component towards the tile. Score down the tile with the handle.

Step 2: Snap into place

Engage the snapper tool against the tile until it makes contact and gently snap the tile in two.

Cutting wall tiles with different wall environments

builder cutting tiles

1. Cutting tiles in curves

Things get slightly trickier when dealing with curves but don’t worry, it’s still doable for your DIY project. One of the simpler methods is to use a round tile saw which features a round blade.

Step 1: Cut the overlay

Take a thick piece of card or paper and cut it to the curve you require. This will form an overlay – place it over your tile and mark your curve on the tile with your pencil or pen.

Step 2: Clamp your tile

Clamp your tile and use your tile saw to cut slowly along the line. Smoothen any edges using a tile file.

2. Cutting tiles around pipes

Cutting tiles to fit around pipes is usually inevitable – that’s the bad news! The good news is that it’s relatively simple to do and you probably won’t have to do it too often when renovating your home.

Step 1: Square up your tile placement

Once you get closer to the sides of the pipe, project lines from your existing tiles to square up where your tile will need to be cut. This will act as a guide for the tile which will fit around the pipe.

Step 2: Transfer markings

Transfer your markings to the tile that will fit around the pipe.

Step 3: Intersect your markings

Your projected markings will intersect towards the middle of your tile, forming a square. You’ll need to take an offcut pipe of the same diameter to place in the middle of this square to then draw your circle in the position the pipe will be.

You’ll then need to cut the tile in two so the circle is intersected exactly in two. This will create the top half and bottom half of the tile to fit around the pipe.

Step 4: Cut the tile

You’ll now need to carefully cut the two semi-circles out with a tile saw. Cut slowly and file off extra to create a smooth-edged semi-circle.

Step 5: Encase the pipe

Encase the pipe with the two tile halves. You should have a flush near-invisible edge around the pipe.

3. Cutting tiles for window recesses

Window recesses can be narrow and thus, you’ll need to correctly cut tiles to wrap around them. When you tile a wall face, you’ll need to tile the recess head, the sides and then finally the bottom.

1: For glazed-edge tiles

Glazed edge tiles have smooth coloured edges, removing the need to corner trim your tiles. Once you tile your wall face up to the recess, work backwards and cut tiles so they fit flush in the small spaces of the recess.

2: For corner trims

For corner trims, you’ll need to simply tile to leave adequate space for your rounded trim to slide in.

Also see: Our guide on How to Tile Walls and Floors, and How to Measure for Tiles.

Contact us or visit our stores

At Eurotiles & Bathrooms, we are equipped with everything you’ll need to build your dream home. With wide ranges of furniture, taps, materials, decorative furnishings, showers and taps and accessories of all kinds, we’re extremely well stocked with everything you could need. We’re always keen to assist with your queries and questions on DIY or any other home project.

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