Many homeowners and builders install tiles on floors, walls, countertops and backsplashes. They comes in a wide variety of sizes ranging from large, heavy natural stone tiles to small glass tiles. Natural stone tiles are used for flooring, walls, around fireplaces and as backsplashes. Ceramic-tiles are used on floors, walls, countertops, backsplashes, showers and around fireplaces. Glass-tiles are primarily used on walls and backsplashes and in showers. Tile offers homeowners a range of styles, colors and decorating possibilities. Tiles are available as solid colors and patterns. Most are very easy to take care of and offer a durable solution no matter where you lay them. Natural stone-tiles require a little more in the way of care such as sealing to protect them from stains.

Regardless of what type of them you choose or where you decide to lay them, tile needs to be cut. Rarely, if ever do tiles fit wall to wall without the need for an adjustment in size. They also require cutting when they meet obstacles including around plumbing pipes, electrical outlets or when they encounter a tub, toilet or sink.

There are several cutting tools and each requires its own level of skill ranging from beginners to those who are comfortable using power tools. Determining which option is right for you depends on how secure you feel with the tool.


Tile-nippers open and close like pliers, but have a sharp cutting edge on the end. Tile-Nippers are usually made of carbide steel to keep the cutting edge sharp after repeated use. Tile-Nippers are the perfect tool to make rough cuts, angles, half circles and other uneven cuts. Working with Tile-Nippers is a slow process, but a perfect tool for mosaics and cutting tile to fit around an obstacle.

 To Use Tile-Nippers

Mark the tile with a cutting line using a marker or grease pencil.

Put on safety goggles and a pair of heavy work gloves.

Hold the tile in one hand and the Tile-Nippers in the other.

Wrap the jaws around the tile about 1/8 to ¼ of an inch of tile at a time.

Squeeze the handles together to nip away a bit of the tile.

Keep biting off small pieces of the tile until you reach the line you drew.

Use a piece of coarse grit sandpaper or rubbing stone to smooth the cut tile-edges.

Tile-Nippers are easy to use for small jobs and projects around the house.

Clean your Tile-Nippers after using to remove dust and debris.

Apply machine oil to the screw that allows the nippers to open and close to keep the open and closing action smooth.

Never let your Tile-Nippers stay wet. They will rust and you will not be able to use them.

Score and Snap tile-cutter

Score and snap tile-cutters are the perfect non-power tool for making straight cuts on it. This is a very easy to use cutter that is perfect for glass tiles, ceramic tiles or even thin grades of natural stone. Score and snap tile-cutters sit on top of a workbench or on the floor to make cutting easy and convenient.

To Use a Score and Snap tile-cutter

Measure and mark it with a grease pencil or marker. Mark a dot at each end of the backside-tile. Align a straight edge to the two dots and draw a straight line. Never rely on eyeballing a straight line.

Place it under the metal bar on the base of the snap cutter. Push it up against the front of the base.

Line up the guide with the line you drew on.

Move the metal piece over the tile to hold it firmly and securely in place.

Pull the handle on the snap cutter along the line – this will score a line in the tile.

Push down on the handle until the tile breaks into two pieces.

That’s all you have to do to work a score and snap tile-cutter. This is a very easy tool to use and perfect for a beginning.

Smooth the sharp edge away with sandpaper or a rubbing stone.

Wet Saw

If you are comfortable with power tools, saws in particular, cutting tiles with a wet saw is by far the fastest method.

To Use a Wet Saw

Measure and mark a cutting line on the tile with a grease pencil. A grease pencil mark won’t wash away with the water from the wet saw.

Fill the reservoir on the wet saw with water.

Put on safety goggles.

Turn on the wet saw.

The water will run onto the saw.

Line up the tile-cutting line with the wet saw blade and push the tile forward into the blade. If you are making small cuts, push the tile through with a push stick rather than getting your fingers so close to the blade.

tile-cutting Alternatives

If you have to cut tiles and are comfortable with power tools, but don’t have a wet saw, you can rent one or turn your circular saw into one. This works if you only have a tile or two to cut.

Install a tile-cutting blade onto your circular saw.

Turn your garden hose on to a very slow run with a nozzle.

Measure and mark your tiles with a grease pencil.

Place the hose onto the tile so the water run over the face of the tile.

Set the blade depth 1/8 deep than the thickness of the tile.

Line up the blade with the line and turn the saw on.

Cut along the line.

Make sure you keep the electrical plug away from the water. Do not stand in water when using the circular saw or any other power tool.

You can dry cut tiles, but you will destroy your saw blade and dull it very quickly. Water lubricates the blade and keeps it from overheating when cutting tile.

Choose your tile-cutting method based on what you feel comfortable with.