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Cutting tiles like a pro: Tools and Techniques

When it comes to tiling, precision is key. Whether you’re a professional tiler or a DIY enthusiast, knowing how to cut tiles accurately can make all the difference in achieving a polished finish. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the essential tools and techniques for cutting tiles, ensuring that you get professional results every time.


Understanding Tile Cutting Tools

Before diving into the techniques, it’s crucial to understand the various tools available for cutting tiles. Each tool serves a specific purpose and is suited for different types of tiles and cutting requirements.


1. Tile Scribes and Nippers

Tile scribes are simple tools used for scoring and snapping thin ceramic tiles. They are perfect for quick, straight cuts on lightweight tiles. Tile nippers, on the other hand, are ideal for making small, precise cuts and adjustments, especially for fitting tiles into awkward spaces.


Key Features:

  • Easy to use

  • Suitable for thin ceramic tiles

  • Inexpensive and portable


2. Manual Tile Cutters

Manual tile cutters are versatile tools that can handle a range of tile materials and thicknesses. They work by scoring the tile surface and then applying pressure to snap the tile along the scored line. They come with adjustable scoring wheels to cater to different tile types.


Key Features:

  • Suitable for straight cuts on various tiles

  • Portable and easy to set up

  • Cost-effective compared to electric cutters

 

Recommended Product: Montolit Masterpiuma Power 5

The Montolit Masterpiuma Power 5 cutter is described by Montolit as ‘always ready for action’, and in an industry where ceramic, porcelain, and delicate vitrified tiles rely on excellent performance, the Power 5 range is sure to provide an ‘All in One’ tile cutting solution.

  1. Structured Modular Frame: The light aluminium frame structure is supported by reinforcement brackets and ribs at the key points of stress, ensuring the machine is optimised for thick cuts, front cuts, and full-body porcelain tiles.

  2. Multifunctional Goniometrical Square: Features an oversized design that can easily rotate to both the left and right at a 45-degree angle. This feature combined with the innovative folding stop ensures quick and accurate cuts at any angle.

  3. Improved Strength: The tungsten carbide engraving wheel is coated in titanium and guaranteed for 5,000 meters of cutting. The double trestle splitting system features scratch-resistant polymer, and the integrated lubricant is released when the user gently squeezes the dispenser.

  4. Roller Adjuster System: Ensures the roller maintains efficient contact with the crosspiece, eliminating lateral movement and guaranteeing precise cuts.

  5. Lateral Supports: Depending on the cutter size, the new P5 machines feature either an expanded support surface or robust die-cast aluminium wings integrated into the strong frame, providing improved support for diagonal cuts on large format tiles.

  6. Machines for All Sizes: The range includes models varying in size from the 63P5 (63x63cm) to the 161P5 (161x161cm), accommodating the latest tile trends.


3. Electric Tile Cutters

Electric tile cutters, often referred to as wet saws, use diamond-coated blades to cut through tiles with precision. These cutters are equipped with water cooling systems to prevent the blade from overheating and to reduce dust. They are ideal for cutting thicker and harder materials like porcelain and natural stone.

Key Features:

  • Precise and efficient for straight, diagonal, and bevelled cuts

  • Suitable for dense and hard materials

  • Ideal for large and commercial projects


Recommended Product: MONTOLIT Wet Table Saw F1 Brooklyn



The F1 Brooklyn is the latest line of wet table saws from Montolit, designed to provide tilers with the highest precision, combined with a light and reliable tool.

  • High Precision: Designed to deliver exceptional accuracy, this saw is perfect for use with ceramic and porcelain tiles, ensuring every cut is clean and precise.

  • Light but Durable Frame: The corrosion-proof aluminium frame is lightweight yet robust, with all metal components zinc-plated before painting to enhance durability and resistance to wear and tear.

  • Includes DNA (SCX250) Diamond Blade: Equipped with a high-quality DNA (SCX250) Diamond blade, the F1 Brooklyn ensures smooth and precise cuts through even the toughest materials.

  • Foldable Bridge: The supporting system of the bridge is completely foldable, making it easy to transport and set up. The bridge also features two extendable legs, providing stability on uneven surfaces and ensuring accurate cuts in any environment.

  • Patented Protractor Square: This innovative feature allows tilers to keep the correct measure for different angles effortlessly. The protractor square is designed to maintain precision, enhancing the accuracy of angled cuts.

Specifications:

  • Voltage: 115V

  • Motor HP: 2

  • Cutting depth: 50mm

  • Blade diameter: 250mm

  • Bore: 25.4mm

  • Cutting lengths available: 101, 131, 151, 181


 

Choosing the Right Diamond Blade

When using electric tile cutters, selecting the right diamond blade is crucial for achieving clean and precise cuts. Diamond blades come in various types and specifications, each designed for specific materials and cutting requirements.


Types of Diamond Blades

1. Segmented Blades: These blades have segments with slots between them to improve stability and reduce heat buildup. They are ideal for cutting hard materials like porcelain and natural stone.


2. Continuous Rim Blades: These blades have a continuous layer of diamonds around the edge, providing a smooth and chip-free cut. They are best suited for cutting ceramic tiles and other delicate materials.


3. Turbo Blades: These blades combine the features of segmented and continuous rim blades, offering fast cutting speeds and smooth finishes. They are versatile and can handle a variety of materials.


Key Considerations for Choosing a Diamond Blade

1. Tile Cutter Compatibility: Ensure that the blade is compatible with your tile cutter’s RPM and horsepower.


2. Tile Thickness: Choose a blade size that matches the thickness of the tiles you’ll be cutting.


3. Wet or Dry Cutting: Select a blade designed for wet cutting if you want to reduce dust and heat, or opt for a dry cutting blade if you don’t have access to water cooling.


4. Material Hardness: Match the blade’s bond strength with the hardness and abrasiveness of the material you’re cutting.


Recommended Diamond Blades

  1. Spirex TTE115 Blade: Ultra-thin, turbo diamond blades for porcelain cutting. Suitable for use on thin marble and granite. Ideal for dry cutting.

  2. Spirex 115mm Diamond Disc Blade: Suitable for cutting hard materials such as porcelain, ceramic, and granite. Max RPM: 13300.

  3. Montolit Turmont Continuous Rim Blade: Continuous rim diamond blade suitable for cutting porcelain stoneware, marble, and ceramic. Can be used for both wet and dry cutting with angle grinders, wet tile cutters, and table saws. Available in sizes: TCS85 (85mm) and TCS115R (115mm).



Techniques for Cutting Tiles

Now that we’ve covered the tools and blades, let’s move on to the techniques for cutting tiles like a pro.


1. Preparing Your Workspace

  • Safety First: Wear safety goggles, gloves, and a dust mask to protect yourself from debris and dust.

  • Measure and Mark: Use a measuring tape and a pencil to mark the tile where you need to cut. Double-check your measurements to ensure accuracy.

  • Secure the Tile: Place the tile securely on the cutter or workbench to prevent it from moving during the cut.


2. Using a Manual Tile Cutter

  1. Align the Tile: Place the tile on the cutter and align the cutting line with the scoring wheel.

  2. Score the Tile: Push the scoring wheel across the tile surface with steady pressure to create a score line.

  3. Snap the Tile: Apply pressure on the handle to snap the tile along the score line. Use a tile breaker for a clean break.


3. Using an Electric Tile Cutter

  1. Fill the Water Basin: Ensure the water basin is filled to the recommended level to cool the blade and reduce dust.

  2. Align the Tile: Place the tile on the cutter’s table and align the cutting line with the blade.

  3. Cut the Tile: Turn on the cutter and gently push the tile towards the blade, allowing the blade to cut through the tile smoothly. Keep your hands clear of the blade and maintain a steady pace.


4. Making Special Cuts

  • L-Shaped Cuts: Mark and score both lines of the L-shape, then use tile nippers or a saw to remove the corner piece.

  • Circular Cuts: Use a diamond hole saw or a drill bit to create circular cuts for fixtures and fittings.

  • Bevelled Cuts: Adjust the tile cutter to the desired angle and follow the same cutting steps to create bevelled edges.


Maintaining Your Tools and Blades

Proper maintenance of your cutting tools and blades ensures their longevity and optimal performance.


  • Clean Regularly: Remove dust and debris after each use to prevent buildup.

  • Lubricate Moving Parts: Apply lubricant to moving parts to keep them operating smoothly.

  • Store Properly: Store your tools in a dry place to prevent rust and damage.

  • Use Appropriately: Avoid using the blade on materials it’s not designed for to prevent damage.

  • Sharpen When Necessary: Sharpen the blade periodically to maintain cutting efficiency.

  • Check for Wear: Inspect the blade for signs of wear and replace it if the diamonds are worn down.

 

Navarro Tiles – Industry Leading Tiling Expertise


Cutting tiles like a pro requires the right tools, techniques, and a bit of practice. Whether you’re a professional tiler or a DIY enthusiast, following this comprehensive guide will help you achieve precise and clean cuts, enhancing the overall quality of your tiling projects.

For all your tile cutting tools and diamond blade needs, we recommend the comprehensive Quantum Range. As wholesale suppliers of tiling equipment throughout the UK and Ireland, Quantum Group NI offers a wide range of products. To find your nearest stockist or to enquire about stocking the range, please contact the team today.

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