How to Cut Porcelain Tile?

When porcelain tiles are compared with other tiles, it is considered the more challenging tile to cut. The reason behind this is that ceramic tiles are fired along with a hard glaze, but it has a soft underlying surface. However, the substrate of porcelain tiles is made from a uniform glass mass, making it extremely difficult to cut. Hence, it is vital to know the tools and processes behind cutting porcelain tiles.


Material and Tools You Need

Here are some of the preferred tools needed while attempting to cut a porcelain tile :

  • A Tile Cutter

Tile nippers are frequently used in the construction industry when tiles need to be cut into smaller pieces. They are generally used to form round or arch-like portions of tiles. Further, they tend to work better on softer ceramic tiles than their harder alternative, the porcelain tile.

  • A Wet Tile Saw

This tool consists of a diamond blade that is used in the cutting process. It also has a water reservoir. The water is used to cool down the blade that is being used to cut the tile.

  • An Angle Grinder

This instrument is popularly used for shining, sharpening, and grinding surfaces. However, it is also used for cutting in circular, semi-circular, or rectangular patterns. Its aggressive disc makes the process of cutting with this tool much more effortless. Before using this instrument, it is necessary to know which blade can be used based on the tile you wish to cut. A diamond-tipped blade is recommended for ceramic tiles, but for porcelain tiles, notched blades are more suited.


Before You Start

If you have never cut porcelain tiles before, it is always necessary to do a trial run. This process helps you get conditioned to the blade and also reduces the probability of chipping.

Since the tools involved in cutting are power tools, one needs to take the following safety precautions:

  • Wear glasses to safeguard from flyaway material
  • Wear gloves to protect your hands from any lacerations
  • Wear a mask to be safeguarded from the considerable dust created in the process
  • Wear ear protection as the cutting work tends to be loud and may hamper the ears
  • Start familiarizing yourself with the tools before utilizing them, as they can cause serious physical hazards
  • Ensure a secure electricity connection as powerful tools are used for the cutting work


How to Cut Porcelain Tiles?

While carrying out your home renovation project, there are various methods you can use to cut a porcelain tile. However, before getting started on the cutting process, you need to measure the area you intend to tile. In this process, be sure to account for consistent spaces in between tiles to create grout lines. Once you have determined the number of tiles and identified the ones that need to be cut to fit into curved or tight spaces, you will need to mark the tiles. Using a wax pencil, mark off the area you wish to cut off with the help of a straightedge tool.

Pro Tip: Apply masking tape on the edges to reduce the risk of chipping

Different preferred methods for cutting porcelain tiles include using a wet saw, angle grinder, and hand tools. Let us look at how these methods are beneficial :


A Tile Cutter

For smaller or more short-term projects, one can use a tile cutter which helps to cut a tile manually. First, scoring the tile (or creating a groove) along the marked line is essential using a shallow cutter. Next, by applying light hand pressure and pushing the nipper into the tile, bend downward to snap it into two along the scored area. This method will prevent the edges from getting chipped or jagged during the cutting process. For when the edges need to be made smooth, we can make use of a rub brick.


The Wet Tile Saw

Using this instrument is the best method to cut a porcelain tile. First, make sure the machine is filled with water. Then when you start the blade for the cutting process, water passes through it and keeps it cool. This lubrication for the blade keeps dust at bay and also helps create smooth and consistent cuts. Here, the predictability is greater in comparison to a tile cutter. Further, even the most specific requirements are met within a shorter duration and with cleaner cuts.


An Angle Grinder

When cutting porcelain tiles, a notched blade on an angle grinder is preferred. Once you have your blade, the next step is to secure it to the grinder with tightening tools. An unsecured blade can result in cracks in the tiles. Next, secure the tile with a clamp and start cutting the tile-based on the marked shape. In the end, sharpen the edges using either an abrasive wheel or sandpaper, if required.

You now know the tools and techniques to cut porcelain tiles!