DIY How To

Cutting Wall Tiles

Once all the whole tiles have been fitted, you will need to measure and cut the part tiles for the ends of the rows, top and bottom and around any focal points. The base support batten will need to be removed but only after the adhesive has had time to set. When measuring for the cut tile, measure each cut tile individually at the top and bottom as walls, floors and ceilings are rarely square or true.

Cut wall tiles


Safety AdviceWear safety goggles when cutting or drilling tiles, always protect your eyes from flying shards.

If you are planning a large project with a lot of tile cuts, it might be worth investing in a professional type tile cutter as used for cutting floor tiles as shown.

Pencil type tile cutter There are many tile cutters, the simplest being a pencil type carbide tipped cutter. Measure and mark the tile where the cut is needed then use a straight edge to score a line across the face of the tile. When scoring the tile make sure even pressure is applied across the entire length and only ever score the tile once.
Break tile To break the scored tile place matchsticks under both sides of the score line and press down evenly on both sides of the tile. The result should be a nice neat break.
Wheel tile cutter Another type of tile cutter has a tungsten carbide cutting wheel, that you pull across the face of the tile using a straight edge as a guide. The straight edge needs to be thin, to prevent the sides of the cutter catching it. A metal rule is ideal. Only ever score the tile once, as uneven cuts will occur. Once the tile has been scored, place the tile between the jaws of the cutter, on the score line and squeeze the handles to make a clean break.
Measure gap There are tile cutting jigs to speed up the process of cutting tiles, these come with a built-in marking gauge, which you set to the width of the gap, by placing the jig between the edge of the last tile and the wall, ceiling etc. Make sure the gap is square by measuring the top and bottom, if the gap is square use the jig if not measure and mark the tile with a pencil.
Tile jig Providing the cut is square, place the jig on to the tile and drag the cutting tool along the slot towards you keeping even pressure along the entire cut.
Break tile Once the tile has been scored, place the tile between the jaws of the cutter, on the score line and squeeze the handles to make a clean break.
Mark area To cut L-shaped tiles to fit around the corners of doors and windows, hold a full tile up to the appropriate corner and mark off the area to be removed. Score the face of the tile, from where the two lines meet, to the edges of the tile.
Tile nippers Use pincers or tile nippers to slowly nibble away the unwanted part of the tile. Never be tempted to take off a large chunk as the tile will break.
Tile saw A tile saw makes light work of cutting awkward shapes. Clamp the tile in a vice or similar, use a piece of cloth to protect the surface of the tile. Once the tile is securely clamped, cut down each line, take care not to cut beyond where the lines join.
Mark for pipes If there are objects such as pipes that need tiling around, mark the tile in line with the centre of the pipe and cut the tile along its entire length. Lay the two pieces of tile together and mark the pipe cut out. Use an off cut of pipe or something similar in size such as a coin, then cut the waste out of each piece of tile.

TipWhen measuring for a cut tile, allow space on both sides for grout to be applied.

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