Homeowners install ceramic tile in a variety of areas of the home including bathrooms, kitchens or laundry rooms, along with just about any other room. Homeowners like ceramic tiles because they come in a wide variety of styles, shapes and colors that fit well into any decor. Sometimes ceramic tiles need to be cut  to fit around pipes in showers, on countertops and other areas with a water supply. Cutting ceramic tile is required in order to give the project a neat appearance and a proffession finished look. Ceramic tiles are used in areas where there is a lot of water because they are waterproof, long lasting and durable. Cutting ceramic tile is not as difficult as you may think as long as you know how to do it correctly and have the proper tools. Many do it yourselfers can make circular cuts fairly easily and have a professional looking outcome.

Measuring Tile To Fit Around Pipes

Place the whole tile in the area where you plan on setting it and push it right up against the pipe. It won't fit because the pipe is in the way, this is just to get an approximate measurement.

Mark the top and bottom measurement of the pipe directly on it with a pencil, chalk or a marker.


Draw the markings across it horizontally, use a ruler to keep straight lines.

Cutting Corners and Edges on Ceramic Tile

If the pipe will only encroach on a corner or the edge of it, use tile nippers to gradually nip away at it in between the markings, do not go past the 2 lines, check the fit often. This method will result in a rough edged tile which is fine as long as the escutcheons also known as protective shields, hide the edges which they generally do.

If the edge of the ceramic tile will be exposed a neat cut is required. Use a carbide tipped hole cutter with an electric drill. Drill the cut out from the unfinished side of it.

You can also use a hand held rotary tool such as a Dremel to smooth out the rough cuts.

Cutting Through the Center of Ceramic Tile

If the pipe will extend through the center of or off center of it, mark the measurements of the pipe directly on it and draw the lines out horizontally across it. Use a straightedge to keep straight lines when drawing them on it.

Use a wet saw to cut it in half, perpendicular to the marked lines.

If the cut out will be hidden, nip away at it, little by little, between the lines to form an area for it to fit around the pipe. Check the fit often.

If it edge will be exposed cut a 1/4 circle on each half of it, check the fit and extend the circle with the carbide tipped hole cutter.

Butt the two tile halves up to each other on each side of the pipe.


Practice cutting on scrap tiles until you get the hang of using tile nippers.

Wear gloves when cutting tile, escecially if nipping away at it the edges tend to be very sharp.

Put on a pair of safety glasses to protect your eyes from shards of flying tile.