How to Cut Tile Without a Wet Saw

The primary process of cutting a tile involves filling the wet tile with adequate water, lining up the tiles and then pushing the cutters through. Tile saws are precise, efficient and sophisticated to make straight cuts.

However, these power tools only excel in the straight lines and if you want to cut an oval shape or around the commode or the fixtures; they will give you a tough time, so let us find out how to cut a tile without a wet saw? Also, wet tile cutters are used majorly for jobs involving the removal of an entire cutter.

How to Cut Tile Without a Wet Saw

A Wet Saw is expensive, cumbersome, tedious and above all, noisy and messy. It usually is not even in the domain of a contractor who does petty jobs and therefore, you can’t use it whenever you want.

Luckily, there are methods that you can use to cut the tiles without involving the wet tile saw only with much time, effort and a little more grease; however, very economical.

Steps to Cut tile without a Wet Saw:

1. Prepare the tile that you want to cut or measure the area that is to be cut if you’re looking to remove it from the surface. Then, take a cutting wheel and oil it with light machine oil.

2. Score the line by putting extra pressure with the help of the hands. Now, place the jaws centred on the score line and apply pressure to break the tile.

3. If you’re trying to cut a different shape, draw the shape. Score firmly after drawing it and cut edge to edge following the scored line.

4. Once can not only cut straight lines, but can also cut wiggly lines, curves and other abstract shapes by following this procedure.

5. Usually the tile saws from our list of top tile saws, it takes around 20-40 minutes to cut a tile which can be done in few minutes using the scoring tool.

Cutting Shapes using Scoring Tools:

1. Cutting Holes: Hole drilling is a chaotic process when you do it with a wet saw. Therefore, you should adopt a different process by attaching a hole bit to the drilling machine and then drill the hole.

  • Secure the tile surface properly by using clamps.
  • Start drilling a hole from the top by accelerating downward until you cut through the section of the tile.
  • Once cut, smoothen the edges with the sandpaper of the sanding stone especially in the case of the non-glazed tiles.

2. Cutting Lines: Initially, measure the tile area where it needs to be installed or removed.

  • Subtract a quarter inch so that the spacer can determine the actual size that is to be cut.
  • Now, mark the boundary of the tile relevant to the measured area.
  • Hold an edge parallel to the tile on the top line up with the marks you made.
  • Score the tile using a scoring tool and bend it to break the tile.

You can also use the normal saw to leave a smooth finish. This process is best suited for the L-shaped cuts also. However, one should be careful in marking the tile with accurate measurements.

3. Cutting shallow curves: To cut shallow curves in a tile, creation of template is mandatory.

  • Take a piece of paper and the half on the template side that is facing the surface (curved).
  • Cut fringes of half inch each along the curvaceous edge. Now, push the paper onto the surface and bend the already cut fringes so that they match the curve.
  • The second step involves placing the template on the surface and tracing of the curve onto it. Cut multiple grooves towards the curve starting from the edge using a tile nipper. These cuts are called the relievers.
  • Now, position the blade of the cutter at the edge and begin cutting by playing close attention so that you are not inadvertent anywhere in the process.

how to cut shallow curves on tiles

4. Cutting deep curves: To make deep curves, score along the lines and then score perpendicular lines to the curved line from the edge.

  • Score diagonal lines across these perpendicular lines. Nipping away becomes easy with each scoring line.
  • Take the scoring tool around the grooves, the hooks, over the tile edge, the curved side and also the other side.
  • Hold the tile over a container to catch the waste or the debris.
  • Press the tool to nip the tile into pieces and continue nipping till you get the desired result.

Types of Scoring tools/ Alternatives to the Wet Saw:

1. Tile Nippers: Nippers are cheap and also portable. They are manually operated and therefore doesn’t need the electric supply which makes them less useful. They are ideal to work in a quiet environment without creating a disturbance to the neighbourhoods.

However, they are not as precise as a wet tile saw, and you should give an extra finish after the cutting. Wrap the tile in a rag before cutting and then cut the edge away using the nipper. Now, take a chip out of the external edge and remove the center of the tile edge. Keep repeating till you approach the marked line gaining gradual control over the shape.

tile nippers

2. Angle Grinder: Grinders are great for cutting the irregular shapes and circular shapes. Place a compass at the centre of the tile and carve a circle inside the edges. In cases where you can’t make a circle, make a semi-circle against the tile edge.

Hold the level over the top and cut the outside edge of the circle and give them a finish using a rasp or sandstone. You can also try passing the tile on the stone veneers to level the irregularities.

3. Tile Cutter: Similar to the wet tile saw, tile cutter is advanced but is impeccable. However, it’s more of a bench tool which requires investment and buy it only when you’re going to use it for multiple jobs as you can’t find a more viable choice to the wet saw.

tile cutter

4. Tile Scribe: This tool can score any tile after tipping it in tungsten carbide. It involves marking the shape of the tile, laying another tile across this. Once you’re done with the two steps, press the cutter firmly and score along the mark from the start to the end to avoid any overhanging.

These were some tips from my side for cutting a tile without using a wet saw. I hope this guide helps you to cut the tiles in the most appropriate way. Feel free to share this tutorial and comment below if you have any queries. Cheers!

Emily Floate

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