How To Cut Tile Without A Wet Saw And What Do You Need

How To Cut Tile Without A Wet Saw And What Do You Need

Using a glass cutter for tiling projects

A glass cutter uses the same method as the manual cutter, but ironically, you’ll manually apply pressure to break the tile yourself. First, measure out and mark the area that needs to be cut using a pencil and a T-Square or yardstick. Bob Vila recommends setting the T-Square or yardstick slightly off the mark to make room for the cutter to hit the appropriate spot. Then, run the cutter along the line using the T Square or yardstick as a guide to stay straight. Press down so you hear the scraping sound of the blade hitting the tile to score it.


After scoring the tile, take the other end of the glass cutter (which should have a small round ball at the end), and gently knock the bottom side of the tile along the scored line. This action will further weaken the line to allow an even break. Then, take a wire hanger or the glass cutter itself and put it under the tile’s cut line; the cutter or hangar will prop the tile up. You’ll then press down on either side of the cut line to snap it in two.

A glass cutter is a cheap option, starting at just under five dollars, but similar to the manual cutter, this method only works for straight cuts and porcelain or glass tile of average thickness. If you want to make angled cuts or minor cuts for corners, you can use a tile nipper and rubbing stone.


No matter what you use, though, make sure to wear protective glasses at all times—tile debris can be dangerous, especially when using manual or glass cutters. 



Can you cut porcelain tile without a tile cutter?

There are several methods for cutting tiles by hand without a tile cutter, using a cutting tool such as a glass cutter or a carbide-tipped pencil. Before using any tool to cut tile, measure the glazed side of the tile to determine where you need to make the cut.


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 a tile saw takes around 20-40 minutes to cut a tile which can be done in few minutes using the scoring tool.

Is there a dry tile cutter?

The iQTS244 is a revolutionary 10″ dry cut tile saw with a fully integrated dust containment system. It allows you to make precise cuts on ceramic, porcelain, marble and stone with no water and no dust.Specifications. Brand iQ Power Tools Model iQTS244 SKU 387759.

Can you cut tiles with a Dremel?

A Dremel tool makes cutting tile much easier than it looks. Whether you want to open a hole in tile that is already fixed to a wall or floor, or cut tiles to fit before you install them, a Dremel tool will make any tile cutting job easy.

Materials and tools

  • Glass cutter
  • Washable marker
  • Damp cloth
  • Gloves and safety glasses
  • Smoothening tool
  • Square ruler
  • wire

Step 1: Marking The Tile

Place the tile on the cutting surface. Using a washable marker and a square draw straight lines on the points you want to cut the tile. It is advisable to verify the marked points to ascertain the credibility of the cut, which reduces the wastage. A square ruler is essential for straights cuts. However, you can use a tool with a straight edge for precise lines. In case of any wrong marking, wipe it away using the damp cloth or an eraser if you will be using a pencil to draw the lines.

Step 2: Wear The Safety Elements

It is advisable to wear safety goggles to prevent the tiny pieces of the tile from finding their way to your eyes. Also, due to the intense pressure, you will have to apply on the tile with your palms, wear a fabric glove. The fabric glove will do you good by preventing any accidental cut on your palms.

Step 3: Score The Tile

This step is to essentially have a partial cut on the tile, which will be the guideline of the actual cutting. The scoring process sounds like a crackling noise. Place the square beneath the cut line to act as the guideline of the cutter to avoid any mistakes. Hold the glass gutter firmly and press it down along the drawn line. Keenly drag the cutter along the line to do a partial cutting on the tile. This step should be done with a lot of soberness because there is no room for mistakes. The glass cutter goes for approximately $10 hence at a pocket-friendly price. It is readily available in the hardware, or you can make an online order.

Step 4: Place A Wire Underneath The Tile To Be Cut

This step is crucial when cutting tile without a wet saw. You will require a wire which is thin enough to go through the partially cut line.  Take the wire and place it along with the cut and ensure that it is long enough to go through the entire line.

Step 5: Break The Tile

Place the tile on a sturdy surface that can withstand a massive amount of pressure. Also, ensure that you have the fabric gloves on to avoid any accidental cut. Use your palms to press the tile with hands on the different sides of the wire. Press hard enough until the tile completely breaks. While applying pressure on the tile, increase it gradually to avoid splintering the tile, which can damage it or cause a cut on your hands. In case the tile does not break, you will have to use the glass cutter to score it again.

Step 6: Smoothen The Edges

Rough edges are possible when cutting the tile and may not be appropriate for fixing in your construction. Thus use the available smoothening tool to have smooth edges. The possible smoothening tools are rubbing the stone and a slab of concrete. Whichever the tool you use, hold it appropriately along the edges and brush it slowly until you have smooth edges.

What saw blade to cut ceramic tile?

The best type of blade to use with an angle grinder when cutting ceramic tile is a diamond-tipped, smooth-edge blade without any notches or serration. Notched blades are for porcelain and serrated blades are more suited to natural stones.

How to cut tiles with a manual tile cutter

A manual cutter is used for straight cuts, they take longer to use than power tools but they are a cheaper alternative and simpler to use if you’re just starting out. They have a handle which runs on a rail, allowing you to make a smooth cut, much like with a paper guillotine. 

  • To measure where the tile needs to be cut, place a tile on top of the last full tile, and mark with a pencil where the overlap is, this is where you need to cut.
  • Make sure you leave enough room for the grout joint and movement joint. Movement joints must not be grouted, the use of a sealant would be recommended.
  • Place the tile in the tile cutter, square it up to the plate and get the cutter and pencil mark in line.
  • Press down firmly on the handle of the cutter, and push forward across the tile to score a line.
  • Press and apply pressure on each side of the tile and it will snap into two pieces. Some cutters will have an all in one breaker built in, just put the clamp part on the tile and push down on the handle to snap the tile.
  • If the cut isn’t clean and the edges are slightly rough, use a file or rubbing stone to smooth the edges.
  • For smaller or curved pieces, use tile nippers to cut small pieces off to achieve the correct size or shape required.

(Image credit: CTD Tiles)

5 Easy Ways To Learn How to Cut Porcelain Tile Without a Wet Saw

 1. How to cut porcelain tile using a tile Nipper 

A time a nipper is an excellent tool for cutting circular and arcs sections of tiles generally, Which is very difficult to achieve with a wet saw With this advantage over the wet saw, the tile nipper finds its way into this list as a brilliant alternative to the wet saw, also the tile nipper gives excellent cuts when used to do regular tile cutting and comes in a very easy to use form.

Instructions for proper use of the tile nipper to cut porcelain tile

  1. Prepare the tile you wish to cut by marking it. This you can do using a marker or a good pencil to draw the lines on the porcelain tile that you wish to cut.
  2. Feed the tile nipper with the tile you have marked, hold the tile at the center of your marked line and don’t apply pressure, as the pressure can break the tiles.
  3. After you are done the cutting, you can use a rub brick to smoothen the tile edges, where they don’t come out smooth.
  4. If you follow through steps 1-3, your porcelain tile should be ready for use now!

2. How to cut porcelain tile, using an Angle grinder

An angle grinder doubles as an excellent alternative to the wet saw  as it can give cuts in different amazing styles and shapes, including the L-shapes and cut, the circle, straight and square shapes and cuts.

The angle grinder is perfect for producing results when the cuts and shapes are curved cuts.

Instructions for proper use of the angle grinder to cut porcelain tiles

To produce the best results the following instructions will serve as a guide.

  1. Mark out the shape which you seek to cut on the tile, a marker or a pencil will do a perfect job here.
  2. Mark your desired shape on both sides of your tile and apply little or no pressure when you feed the tile to the angle grinder.
  3. To be sure you are making the right cut, make multiple small cuts and turn over the tile; this will help you maintain control.
  4. If the edges don’t come out smooth after cutting, you can use an abrasive wheel to smoothen it, after your cut.

3. Cutting Porcelain tile, using a tile cutter

A manual tile cutter allows you to make several adjustments to the tile and the type of cut you want;

this makes the tile cutter an alternative to the wet saw, as it also produces amazing results just like the wet saw.

Instructions for proper use of the tile cutter to cut porcelain tiles

  1. The first step to using a tile cutter to cut a porcelain tile is to look and adjust the tile cutter guide, so it can fit properly.
  2. Feed the tile to the tile cutter, the marked position and then place the cutter on the edge of the tile.
  3. Push down on the tile cutter and slide the cutter across the marked lines
  4. Once you get to the end, press down.
  5. The tile will break into two smooth pieces and your cut is ready.

4. How to cut porcelain tile using a wet wheel

Also known as the diamond blade, the wet wheel is used to cut tough and very hard materials, the diamonds fixed at the edges of the blade, makes cutting easy and smooth.

All of this qualifies the diamond blade as a good alternative to the wet saw.

Instructions for the proper use of the wet wheel to cut porcelain 

They are two types of the wet wheel machine, one using your top quality tile saw and the other using a wet wheel. Below are the instructions for safe and proper use.

  1. Before going ahead to cut, ensure that the tile is supported either by plywood or any support, so the tile doesn’t break off easily.
  2. Adjust the edges of the tile with the help of the cutting wheel and ensure that you guide it over the blade of the diamond wheel, till the cut is complete.
  3. The use of force is not advised.

5. Cutting a porcelain tile, using a drill bit

Drill bits are amazing when used to create cuts and holes in a porcelain tile, to have a clean drill hole in the porcelain tile to fit your screws, your plumbing pipes and also your radiators spaces, a drill bit comes top of the list, which qualifies it as an alternative to the wet saw.

Instructions for proper use of the drill bit to cut porcelain tiles

  1. Mark the positions on the porcelain tile, where the holes are to be drilled.
  2. Fix the tile properly to avoid twist, when drilling.
  3. Start drilling, do this slowly to cut the hole without overheating.


To wrap it up, cutting tiles without chipping may seem a daunting task at first, but you do not worry. If you get the right tool (a wet saw is the best choice you can make) and work at a slow and steady pace, you are going to make it. Be careful with porcelain tiles: since they are harder, they are also easier to chip. You might need a wet saw for those. If you need to cut ceramic tiles, then a manual cutter should do the job for you.

Cutting A Tile Around The Toilet

When installing tiles in your toilet, you will need to factor in the toilet itself. Which means you will need to cut the tiles to go around the toilet. There are several ways for how to cut tile around the toilet without a wet saw.

One of the more common approaches is to use sheets of paper to map out the design of the floor around your toilet first. The sheets of paper need to be the same size as the tiles you are installing. For example, if you have 16 by 16 inches tiles, then the sheets of paper need to be the same size.

Cut a sheet of paper for every tile you will be installing around the toilet. Using scissors remove the areas that you do not need from the sheets of paper. For instance, if you have a toilet with an angular base, you need to cut a triangular section from the corners of the paper.

Once this is done lay the sheets of paper into the place where the tiles will go. When doing so, remember to factor in space between the tiles. Make sure all the sheets of paper fit snugly against the base of the toilet.

Tape the sheets of paper to the tiles you want to install. Use a pencil to illustrate the cut points on the tiles. Once you have indicated the cut lines, use a tile scribe to draw a 0.32 cm deep cut line on the tiles.

Next, take a pair of clippers and start removing the unnecessary tile section. Be careful not to snip huge chunks of the tile, especially when you near the cut lines. After snipping away the unwanted part use a tile file to sand down any rough edges.

After this is done, you can now start installing them permanently. On how to cut tile with a wet saw without chipping, using a clipper might not be ideal. This is especially if you have never used them to cut tiles before.

Without experience, you can end up chipping away large and important parts of the tile.

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