How to cut curves in tile

Written by larry simmons
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Cutting curves in tile is often required when laying a tiled surface. Cutting curves allows you to follow closely the shape of the tiling surface or closely corner any fixtures or outlets that may be present. Cutting thinner tiles like vinyl takes nothing more than a utility knife, but for thicker tiles such as ceramic, clay or slate, a successful curve cut requires a combination of tile saw, tile nippers and sanding. It can be a long messy process to do correctly, but the result is a nicely curved shape that keeps your tiles running continuously to the curved edges needed.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Chalk
  • Safety goggles
  • Work gloves
  • Ceramic tile cutter
  • Carbide blade
  • Wet tile saw
  • Diamond blade
  • Water
  • Tile nipper
  • Abrasive sanding block
  • Angle grinder

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  1. 1

    Mark the desired curve on face of the tile with a piece of chalk.

  2. 2

    Put on protective safety goggles and work gloves to prevent injury from flying tile pieces. Make a straight cut as near the curve as possible for convex curves, touching the highest point of the curve. Use the appropriate cutting tool for your tile type--a tile cutter for glazed tiles like ceramics and porcelain, or a wet saw for thicker tiles such as clay or stone.

  3. 3

    Cut a series of removable rows from tiles with concave curves. Make a series of straight cuts from the tile edge to about 1/4 inch above the curved line with one cut made every 1/2 inch. Grab the end of the sections with tile nippers and snap them off at the ends of the cut, creating a roughly jagged concave curve.

  4. 4

    Define the curve further with tile nippers, breaking small pieces off the tile with the nippers, working your way to the curve line. The edge of the curve, whether concave or convex, will still be very rough at this stage.

  5. 5

    Smooth the tile curve by grinding the rough edge down to the marked line. Use an abrasive sanding block to sand the edges of ceramic and porcelain tiles. An angle grinder is necessary for the tougher stone tiles.

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