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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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)
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...
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"
Still, through trial and error, he got it done and the vessel turned out
re: "If you don't know how to cut the tiles you shouldn't be laying a
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
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.
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?
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.
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:
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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