cutting floor tile

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I am laying 12X12 glazed ceramic floor tile and naturally a lot of them have to be cut. So far all the cutting has been (and will mainly continue to be) straight line across the whole tile. I have a cutter where you put the tile in and run a carbide wheel, like a glass cutter, along the tile. A guide bar keep you going in a straight line. It does a good job of giving a straight score along the surface, and then you snap the tile. It's the snapping part that's giving me problems.
The tile cutter has a built in gizmo with a little tab where you put the tile in vertically and use the cutting bar to apply leverage; I've used that before with smaller thinner tiles, but it did not work well for these sturdy 12X12s. I've tried various other methods - the best luck I've had so far is putting the scored tile in the workbench clamp, then whacking it with a rubber mallet. But even that has a considerable failure rate. Failures range from the snap deviating from the score, to the tile just breaking into many pieces. I think part of the problem is that the clamp jaws are only about 4 inches wide.
What I'm hoping for is a good tip on a better way to snap the scored tile. I don't really want to rent a saw if I can avoid it. Thx, -- H
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Heathcliff wrote:

    Are you scoring it deeply enough?? The only experience I had was that if the score mark was not deep it sometimes did not follow the mark. Try making the score mark deeper.
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Are they porcelain tile? They're harder and more trouble to cut with a score and snap cutter. With such a high breakage rate renting a wet saw for a day (or buying one - they're fairly cheap and useful) will make things a lot easier on you.
R
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 With such a high breakage rate renting a wet

Last time I did a tile floor I had a high breakage rate.
I gave up. I marked each tile and took it to the store where I bought it. They cut them all perfectly on their saw. I think they charged me ten cents each, which saved me a fortune in broken ones. It was even cheaper than renting a mud saw, and they knew what they were doing.
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I'd buy a Harbor Freight saw, or at least a diamond blade for a circular saw. HF saws start at $30 and go up to a few hundred. Even if it's a one-time use, the results will be a lot better.
http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsearch/result/?category=&q=tile+saw
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And if there's no HF around and you're in a hurry, even the Borg has them. Low end 7" ones for <$100 including blade(s). Replacement blades in the $25 range. Works fine. Just did a bath, mudd and kitchen.
BTW, if you happen to have a RotoZip with an a diamond blade for it, it works great for cutting out notches/inside corners. I'm sure an angle grinder with a masonary wheel works too.
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Floor tile just laughed at my RotoZip (and the cutter just blushed - brightly). I ended up doing the cutouts for the toilet flanges with the hole-of-a-thousand-cuts method, on my wet saw.
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Heathcliff wrote:

Lay the scored tile over a 1/4" dowel and push down with both hands. Better? Quien sabe.

You'd be better off renting. Save all your cutstil last, rent saw, cut tiles, take saw back. Should be less than a day unless you are doing a meeting hall.
--

dadiOH
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If you insist on doing it the hard and expensive way then:
1. Make sure the score line is all the way across the tile and as deep as you can make it. Repeat the scoring process several times if necessary. A smooth surface tile may score easily but any texture in the surface will make the scoring operation more difficult.
2. Place a small dowl under the tile directly under the score line for the full width of the tile.
3. Use a couple of boards to spread the force over the entire width of the tile during the snapping operation. Hold one side down firmly while making a quick and firm pressure on the other side. What you want is for the entire break line to snap at once.
4. Rent a saw, those 12 inch tiles are expensive and its worth it if for no other reason than ending the frustration.
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Heathcliff wrote:

Score it. Lay the tile on top of a 1/4" dowel with the dowel under the score line. Apply pressure to both sides, quickly and evenly, to snap the tile on the score line. Works (most of the time) with glass :o)
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Heathcliff wrote:

I got to a solution with a different problem.
My tiles were 13x13" and wouldn't fit in the scoring device.
I used an angle grinder and (a lot) of masonary wheels.
End result was swell.
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If you don't know how to cut the tiles you shouldn't be laying a tile floor... The cuts on a tile floor show the level of craftsmanship of the person who laid it...
You are trying to cut tiles that are too large and too thick in a hand operated machine meant for cutting smaller and thinner tiles... As others have said you need to score the thicker tiles SEVERAL times in the same place before attempting to snap it...
Flooring tiles are best cut with a wet saw... The fact that you are unwilling to do this because of expense or skill in using it is an indicator that while you know how to stick the tiles down you really don't know as much about tiling as you think you do and should either learn how to use the wet saw (which is the proper tool for the job at hand) which will allow you a NEAR ZERO breakage rate or you can keep playing your DIY for Dummies "let's see if I can snap the tiles with this tool" game rather than using the ones the professionals use...
~~ Evan
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Evan wrote:

The Titanic was built by professionals, the Ark by an amateur.
The OP, although a beginner, wants to do a craftsmanlike job; that's why he's asking questions.
Noah had his own problems (i.e., turtledoves only came in dozens, the badgers were delivered to the wrong address, his three sons, Ham, Seth, and Japeth formed a rap group and his wife joined an "awareness encounter" seminar).
Still, through trial and error, he got it done and the vessel turned out okay.
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Speaking of Noah...
http://c0389161.cdn.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/dyn/str_strip/333354.full.gif
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<stuff snipped>

and
<Noah never existed.>
Prove it.
-- Bobby G.
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re: "If you don't know how to cut the tiles you shouldn't be laying a tile floor..."
At least not until you ask a few questions so you can get it right.
re: "The cuts on a tile floor show the level of craftsmanship of the person who laid it... "
And once he learns the correct method, I'm sure the floor will come out fine.
Did you know everything about everything the first time you tried it or did you do some trial and error and ask a few questions?
You could have expended a lot less energy by just answering the OP's question without the arrogant attitude.
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I'd probably get a wet saw (what fun is DIY if it doesn't result in owning a new tool?). But if that wasn't an option, I would take some hardwood strips and make slip-on jaws for the clamp so that you had a hard edge running the entire length of the tile. Then, I'd cut another piece of plywood in the shape of a 12" triangle with one point sawed off about 1" in. This will distribute the impact force across most of the tile at the scored area and it *should* break cleanly. Again, score as firmly as you can and don't try to squeeze too many cuts out of one scoring tool. I saw a master paperhanger at work once and what really stuck in my mind is that he used a razor blade for at most three or four cuts and then went to a new one. If your scoring tool doesn't leave a very clean, easy to see mark, it's time to get another one.
Let us know what you decide to do. The dowel trick others have mentioned is also a good one, but I find it easier to use a clamp. You can even use the technique above with some C-clamps and a work bench. Clamp the tile with the hardwood strips to the bench top letting the part you want to cut off overhang the table top. Position your triangular "whacker" over the unsupported edge and bam. Which way have you been hitting the tile? On the scored side or the reverse?
-- Bobby G.
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The tile saw is really the way to go. Lay all your center tiles. Mark all the edge tiles that need cutting. Go rent the saw. Most places have a 4 hour rental.
After I did a couple bathrooms that way I decided a 6" saw was worth the price. I think I paid a couple hundred. I've done 3 more rooms since I got the saw. It's nice to be able to cut on your own schedule. I'm doing the last bath soon. Got the tile, just need to get the backer board and get started.
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BTDT...but I did it with some cheap practice tiles so I didn't waste any of my good ones.
My issue was a perfect cut except for sometimes where it left the line about 1 - 2 inch from the end and then I'd get a arcing crack.
Once I came to the realization that the "score and snap" method wasn't going to do it, I made all my cuts on an inexpensive wet saw.
It's amazing the cuts you can make with a wet saw and a little patience. Just like with a band saw, you can nipple away at the tile to cut square notches and curves as per this link:
http://www.finehomebuilding.com/CMS/uploadedimages/Images/Homebuilding/Videos/hvt214.jpg
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I gutted and redid our master bath a couple of years ago. I considered renting a saw but realized that the size of my project would mean having to rent it for several weekends and the combined cost and hassle just wasn't worth it. I looked at the cheap table style saws available from HomeDepot and Lowes and while they were cheap they were really CHEAP! Finally went to Harbor Freight and bought their 2.5 HP Tile and Brick saw #95385 for a discounted $179. I used it through out the project which include far more cuts than normal since I couldn't find matching 4" tiles for the shower floor and ceiling to match the floor tiles so I cut them from 13" floor tiles. The saw worked without a hitch and I am about to pull it out of storage to do the backsplash in a totally remodeled kitchen. After that, there is another bath the wife is wanting me to redo. It was worth every cent.
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