Ceramic is one of the cheapest & easiest materials to work with. For cutting a ceramic tile, the best cutting tool of choice would be using a wet saw but buying or renting a wet saw will cost you a lot. And there are lots of affordable alternatives in the market for getting the job done. I will focus on the cheapest and the easiest way to cut ceramic tile.
This article will be discussing how to cut ceramic tiles, the variety of ceramic cutting tools, & how to cut ceramic tile without a wet saw.
Cutting Ceramic Tile with A Tile Nipper
In the past, tiles installers used to have tiny tiles to work with. You could have used a tile Nipper for tiles cutting in that era. Generally, a tile nipper would have been your best bet for tile cutting, especially ceramic tile by hand. Ceramic tiles are the softest material to work with. Ceramic made in Spain was famous all over the world. Professionals still rely on Spain-made ceramic for its quality.
Let’s say you have a shower valve & need to cut a circle in the tile. A manual tile cutter won’t give you that circular cut nor a wet saw. So the best tool to rely on in this situation would be a tile nipper. You can use nippers and get an easy and efficient cut-out of a ceramic.
Just take the dimensions, make the mark and get over to the tile. Just a gentle press and a tile nipper would start cutting away.
You will be amazed to see the efficiency of a nipper while cutting the ceramic tile. If you’re putting ceramic tiles in a bathroom and you need to cut shapes for various valves and spouts, a nipper is all you need. You can even get your desired cut in thick floor tile with this tool. You will just need a little bit of practice to get the utmost proficiency.
To get a precise cut, you can add more material onto your tile nipper. You can do a lot of controlled detailing work with this tile cutting tool. However, it will only cost you around $14 to buy this tool & You might not get a straight cut out of this material.
Cutting Ceramic Tile with Manual Tile Cutter
While cutting ceramic tiles, a nipper would be great for rounds or semi-circular cuts, and a manual tile cutter will be best for straight cuts. If you have these tools in your arsenal, you can do just about every possible cut.
With a manual tile cutter, you can get an excellent straight cut. Set the tile in the manual cutter and try to get a decent scratch, now keep the blade off the edge of the tile and put downward pressure on the handle; it’ll break. There’s your straight edge. Adding a plastic or metal edging on the tile will give it a fantastic finish.
In the old days, tile dimensions were 4×4, 6×6, even 12×12; nipper and manual tile had no problem going through them. But when the tile dimensions got into 12 × 24, the option was insufficient for cutting this kind of tile.
A manual tool cutter or a nipper can’t cut such a long tile. When you look into the market, you might find a manual tile cutter is available in the highest 36 feet long to the lowest 4 feet long. While buying a manual cutter, It will cost you pretty much for the robust version. If you have a 12 x 24 tile to cut, you must upgrade your tool or use a power tool. Using the subway tile floor bathroom decoration would be the best investment; it will be pretty easy to cut.
As soon as you get into cutting ceramic floor tile, You might find that a floor tile will be quite hard to handle. You will have to put a lot of effort and energy into getting the cut. The chance of getting uneven cuts is pretty high. While cutting thick tiles, the manual tools won’t be that much of a help. It won’t bring any good results using tile nippers.
You can still use a robust manual cutter; however, it won’t provide guaranteed results. The manual tile cutter has a failure rate, 1 out of every eight cuts will end up with a broken corner. To ensure the best outcome, You can get the angle grinder.
Cut Ceramic Tile with A Grinder
To professional ceramic tile installers, an angle grinder is one of the most popular power-tool for cutting. This power tool can cut through everything efficiently in every condition. For best results, you can use a grinder with a tile blade.
If you are just a newbie and starting some basic projects, this angle grinder can cut through everything. Using a manual cutter to cut thick floor tile is gonna be a lot of effort. An angle grinder will come to the rescue. An angle grinder is a versatile tool. Most people underestimate the ability of an angle grinder, but the practical application proves its reliability. Let’s see some tips and tricks about how to cut ceramic tile with a grinder.
Cutting A Square for Wall Plug
Let’s imagine a real-life scenario, suppose you are trying to cut a square in ceramic tile for a plug outlet. First, take the measurements, transfer them to the tile and draw a bold & visible mark. You are also going to cut the little notch for the screw.
Start the cut at the top surface and finish it into the corners. Follow the same procedure for all sides. It’s kinda similar to drawing a line, but you are using a grinder instead of a pen or pencil. It’s cutting through the surface of the tile and specifying the cutting space.
Now, if you look at the bottom or opposite side of the tile’s surface, you can see the almost cut line. Try to find the cutting line and put the blade underneath. You should have a proper visual so that you can align the cutting line.
After all the lines are properly transferred onto both sides of the tile, try cutting through from the opposite side of the tile. Try to remove the marked area and keep avoiding the glaze surface. It’s short and simple. You will have to be patient with the tool and the workpiece.
Cutting A Circle for Toilet Flange
You can cut pretty decent circles with an angle grinder. Suppose you need to cut tile for your toilet. The existing standard flange dimensions are around seven inches.
For cutting a circle for your toilet flange, first, you will need to measure the middle point, the radius of the flange, from two different directions. You can put those dimensions onto your tile with a bold line.
Try to get a circle with a 7 ¼ inch diameter. It should be wider than the toilet. Don’t worry, the base will expand 3/4 of an inch while setting. You are going to have a little room to work with, so be careful. If you are a newbie, try avoiding it, it is wise just to cut the tile in half and cut 2 semi-circles.
All right, getting back to the cutting procedure. The first thing you want to do is to cut through the glaze of the tile. Get that out of the way. These glaze tips have a high tendency of getting airborne, and it might cut your skin.
Your goal is to cut ceramic tile without chipping; following this simple step will surely help you. Try to find the exact measurements for the grout line. A bigger hole in your tile will give proper flexibility and mobility to set up the tile even if you forget to add or minus the grout lines.
The secret behind getting the best output out of your grinder is to use the grinder’s face to cut. Avoid using your grinder straight, and it will surely mess up your circle dimensions and make it bigger than needed.
You don’t need an excessively bigger hole. The manufacturers designed an angle grinder blade with ⅜ inch of cutting surface on both sides, and you can use the sides of the blades to cut too. You can fix the uneven crooked surface of your workpiece with this power tool. You just need to understand how the device works.
You are going to cut the circle now. Try to cut it as flat as possible. Your goal should be using the edge of the blade to cut and trying to end up on a bit of an angle. It will help in shaping the circle in the perfect size, and there won’t be any material in the way. When you are cutting in this particular way, you will get a bigger plus wider groove. Don’t worry; it won’t ruin your desired dimensions. You will be only cutting the inside of the tile; the outside perimeter won’t be changed.
Try to maintain control of your cut. When you get near the end of the cut instead of going on the angle, try to stand the blade up and just cut through. If you have any uneven rough texture, clean it up really easily with the grinder.
What Tile Should You Buy: Ceramic Vs. Porcelain Tile!
Let’s talk about the difference between porcelain and ceramic.
The first would be the price difference. Ceramic is low cost because of its softer and brittle characteristics. On the hardness scale, ceramics have 60% hardness, and the porcelains are almost 95 to 98%. So to cut porcelain, you will surely need a better & powerful tile cutter.
In the winter, the cold air blows in from outside, and the tile will start contractions & keep the house warm. A heater is blowing hot air, and the tile will start to expand. The ceramic tile shatters. But with porcelain, you won’t face such problems.
Using porcelain will add extra cost to your budget, but a ceramic tile will be affordable and easy to cut and install.
At this point, I hope you have an in-depth idea of how to cut ceramic tile. You should pick your tool according to the quality of the material you use. You can use an angle grinder for a creative cut. Plan your renovation according to the tools you have at your disposal, and it will surely help you succeed.