In almost every tile installation you will have to cut tiles at some point. Don't be intimidated. With the proper tools, it is both safe and easy.
There are two commonly used tools for cutting tile.
Using a wet saw. A wet saw cuts tile with a circular blade made with a diamond tip. You place the tile on a tray and slide it through the blade. It's called a wet saw because water is used to keep the blade cool and lubricated, which produces a cleaner cut, prolongs blade life and keeps the dust down.
If you aren't comfortable with power tools, the wet saw may be a little intimidating. Don't worry; wet saws are perfectly safe to use to cut tile. In fact, even though the blade can cut through hard construction material, you can touch it with your finger while it is spinning and it won't hurt you at all. Your finger is too soft for the blade to cut. You shouldn't go out of your way to put your fingers in front of the blade. It's not good practice for using power tools. But, if it does happen, there's nothing to worry about. You can concentrate on making a good cut and not on keeping all your fingers.
Many large home improvement stores rent wet saws. If you are undertaking a large project that may require renting a saw for several days, it may be cheaper to buy a wet saw with which to cut tile. You can buy some saws new for under $200.
Cut tile with a tile cutter. These are great tools for cutting tiles if it is a small job. After sliding a small, sharp wheel across the unit to be cut, you push down on a handle, breaking it along the scored line. Tile cutters are great if you're trying to cut tiles that are smaller and thinner; they also work well for most ceramics. Porcelain units can be cut with tile cutters, but they don't always break in a straight line so there may be more waste in your project.
- If you only have a few units to cut, mark them with a pencil and take them to a home improvement store. Many stores will cut tiles for you for a small fee.
- While cutting tiles is relatively easy, there is room for error. Make sure you order a few extra to allow for mistakes.
- When using a wet saw to cut tiles, I always wear eye and ear protection.