How Can I Cut Tile Without a Tile Cutter?

Updated February 21, 2017

Ceramic tile installation is the process of attaching tile to a substrate with an adhesive. When installing the tile, some tiles require cutting to fit certain areas. A specialised tool called a tile cutter scores and cuts the tiles manually. There are other methods available to cut ceramic tile.


Although there are other methods to cut tile, a manually operated tile cutter is the least expensive. It can perform straight cuts faster than any other method. Operate the tile cutter by placing a tile on the cutter, using a handle to apply pressure and sliding the attached cutting wheel across the tile's surface, then snapping the tile by applying added pressure to the handle. One drawback to the tile cutter is that it can only make straight cuts.

Angle Grinder

The angle grinder is a popular tool used to cut ceramic tile. The tool can make virtually any type of cut with the exception of exposed cuts where visible chipping would be an issue. Other than that drawback, the angle grinder can make straight cuts, L-shaped cuts, curved cuts, circles or squares in the tile's centre and the cuts required around doorjambs. The tool operates by connecting it to a 120-volt power supply and flipping on a switch. The purchase of a diamond-cutting blade that fits the angle grinder is required.

Wet Saw

Wet saws are the most expensive tile-cutting tool. In most cases, the saw attaches to a stand and a pump supplies the diamond-cutting blade with water to cool it. Place the tile on the sliding tray and cut to desired specifications. The saw can make just about any type of cut with a little practice and know-how.

Circular Saw

A last resort when cutting ceramic tile is using a circular saw. This method requires purchasing a diamond-cutting blade that will fit the circular saw. It is a little on the dangerous side and is not recommended. The types of cuts possible with a circular saw and attached diamond-cutting blade are very limited.


Follow proper safety measures when working with tile and using power equipment. Wear safety glasses when cutting tile. Handle cut and/or broken pieces with care, as they are very sharp. Avoid inhaling ceramic tile dust when possible. Wear a dust mask or respirator.

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About the Author

Robert Ferguson has been a writer since 2000. His published work includes material for major companies in the home improvement, plumbing, HVAC and power tool industry. Ferguson is a self-employed, licensed building contractor in Florida with more than 30 years of hands on experience experience focusing primarily on residential remodeling, repair, renovation and construction.