The cutting of porcelain tiles is more labour-intensive than that of other types of tiles. As a result of the firing process, ceramic tiles acquire a tough glaze while maintaining a supple underside. However, because the adsorbent of porcelain tiles is a solid glass block, they are very challenging to work with. Therefore, familiarity with the equipment and methods used to cut porcelain tiles is essential.
Porcelain tile is a type of ceramic tile that is made from a fine mixture of clay, feldspar, and other minerals. It is fired at extremely high temperatures, which causes it to become very dense and hard. Porcelain tile is known for its durability, resistance to stains and scratches, and ability to mimic the look of natural stone or wood.
Porcelain tile can be used for a wide range of applications, including flooring, backsplashes, walls, and countertops. It comes in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colours, making it a versatile option for any design style. Porcelain tile is also a popular choice for outdoor spaces, as it is resistant to frost and moisture.
When choosing porcelain tile, it is important to consider factors such as the tile’s finish, texture, and slip resistance, as well as its suitability for the intended use and location. Installation of porcelain tile typically requires the use of specialized tools and materials, and it is recommended that a professional installer be hired to ensure a proper installation.
How To Cut Porcelain Tile
Cutting porcelain tile can be a bit challenging due to its hardness and density, but it can be done with the right tools and techniques. Here are the steps to follow when cutting porcelain tile:
1. Measure And Mark The Tile:
When measuring and marking the porcelain tile for cutting, it is important to take accurate measurements and use a straight edge or a square to ensure that the line is straight. Here are the steps to follow:
- Use a tape measure to measure the length and width of the area where the tile will be installed.
- Transfer the measurements onto the tile using a pencil or a marker. Make sure to mark the tile on the surface that will be cut and not the glaze.
- Use a straight edge or a square to draw a straight line across the tile where it needs to be cut. Make sure the line is perpendicular to the edge of the tile, especially if you are cutting tiles for a 90-degree corner.
- If you need to make a curved or irregular cut, use a template or a stencil to mark the shape on the tile.
- Double-check your measurements and markings before cutting the tile to ensure that it will fit perfectly in the installation area.
By taking your time to accurately measure and mark the porcelain tile, you can ensure that the finished installation will look professional and precise.
2. Choose The Right Tool:
Several tools can be used to cut porcelain tile, and the right tool for the job will depend on the type of cut you need to make and your level of experience. Here are some of the most common tools used to cut porcelain tile:
- Wet saw: A wet saw is a motorized saw that uses a diamond blade to make precise cuts through porcelain tile. It is the most efficient and precise tool for cutting large quantities of tile or for making complex cuts, but it can be expensive and requires some skill to use. A wet saw uses water to cool the blade and prevent dust and debris from becoming airborne.
- Tile cutter: A tile cutter is a manual tool that uses a carbide-tipped scoring wheel to score the surface of the tile and a snapping mechanism to break the tile along the scored line. It is an affordable and easy-to-use tool that is suitable for making straight cuts on small to medium-sized tiles. However, it may not be suitable for cutting complex shapes or narrow pieces.
- Tile nipper: A tile nipper is a handheld tool that is used to trim the edges of porcelain tile or to make small cuts. It has a pair of carbide-tipped jaws that can bite off small pieces of tile, allowing you to make curved or irregular cuts. It is a relatively inexpensive tool that is easy to use, but it may not be suitable for making large cuts.
- Angle grinder: An angle grinder is a motorized tool that uses a diamond blade to cut through porcelain tile. It is a versatile tool that can be used to make straight cuts, curved cuts, and bevel cuts. However, it can be difficult to control and requires some skill to use safely.
- Rotary tool: A rotary tool is a handheld tool that uses a variety of accessories, including diamond-coated bits, to cut through porcelain tile. It is a versatile tool that can be used for small and intricate cuts, but it may not be suitable for cutting large pieces of tile.
When choosing the right tool for cutting porcelain tile, consider the type of cut you need to make, the size and thickness of the tile, and your level of experience with the tool. Always wear safety goggles and gloves when using power tools, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe use.
3. Prepare The Tile:
Preparing the porcelain tile before cutting it is an important step to ensure a clean and accurate cut. Here are the steps to follow:
- Clean the tile: Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe the surface of the tile clean of any dust, debris, or oil. This will ensure that the blade or cutting wheel will cut smoothly through the tile.
- Mark the tile: Use a pencil or a marker to mark the area on the tile where you need to cut. Be sure to mark the side of the tile that will be cut, not the glazed side.
- Protect the tile: Place a piece of masking tape or painter’s tape over the marked line on the tile. This will help to prevent the tile from chipping or cracking during the cutting process.
- Set up the cutting tool: If you are using a wet saw, fill the water reservoir and turn on the machine. If you are using a tile cutter or a tile nipper, make sure the tool is clean and in good working order.
- Make a practice cut: Before cutting the actual tile, make a practice cut on a scrap piece of tile to test the blade or cutting wheel and to get a feel for the tool.
By following these steps, you can prepare the porcelain tile for cutting and reduce the risk of chipping or cracking during the cutting process.
4. Make The Cut:
When cutting the porcelain tile, it is important to follow the instructions for the cutting tool you are using and to work slowly and carefully to ensure a clean and accurate cut. Here are the general steps for cutting a porcelain tile:
- Put on safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands from flying debris and dust.
- Set up the cutting tool according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Place the tile on the cutting surface of the tool, making sure that the marked line is aligned with the blade or cutting wheel.
- Turn on the tool and slowly push the tile into the blade or cutting wheel, making sure to apply even pressure.
- If using a wet saw, allow the blade to do the cutting and use a steady, continuous motion to move the tile through the blade.
- If using a tile cutter, score the surface of the tile with the carbide-tipped scoring wheel and then use the snapping mechanism to break the tile along the scored line.
- If using a tile nipper, place the jaws of the nipper on the tile along the marked line and gently squeeze to bite off small pieces of the tile until the desired shape is achieved.
- When the cut is complete, turn off the tool and carefully remove the tile from the cutting surface.
- Use a tile file or sandpaper to smooth any rough edges or sharp corners on the cut tile.
By following these steps and using the right cutting tool for the job, you can make clean and accurate cuts on porcelain tile for your installation project.
5. Smooth The Edges:
After cutting a porcelain tile, it is important to smooth the edges to ensure that they are safe to handle and will fit properly with the adjacent tiles. Here are the steps to smooth the edges of a cut porcelain tile:
- Put on safety goggles and gloves to protect your eyes and hands from flying debris and dust.
- Use a tile file or sandpaper to smooth any rough or sharp edges on the cut tile. Hold the file or sandpaper at a 45-degree angle to the edge of the tile and move it back and forth along the edge.
- Work slowly and carefully to avoid chipping or cracking the tile. Use light pressure and take breaks frequently to check the progress of the smoothing.
- If necessary, use a polishing pad or a buffing wheel to give the smoothed edge a finished look.
- When finished smoothing the edge, use a damp cloth to wipe away any dust or debris.
By following these steps, you can smooth the edges of a cut porcelain tile and ensure that it is safe to handle and will fit properly in your installation project.
6. Install The Tile:
Installing porcelain tile involves several steps, including preparing the surface, laying out the tile, applying adhesive, and grouting. Here are the general steps for installing porcelain tile:
- Prepare the surface: Ensure that the surface where the tile will be installed is clean, dry, and level. If necessary, use a self-levelling compound to level any uneven spots.
- Lay out the tile: Use a chalk line or straight edge to create guidelines for the tile installation. Dry lay the tile in the desired pattern to ensure that the tiles fit properly and the pattern looks good.
- Apply adhesive: Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the surface using a notched trowel. Spread the adhesive evenly and work in small sections.
- Place the tile: Start in the centre of the surface and work outwards, placing each tile in the adhesive and pressing down firmly. Use spacers to ensure that the tiles are evenly spaced.
- Cut tiles as necessary: Use a tile cutter, wet saw, or tile nipper to cut tiles as necessary to fit around corners, edges, or other obstacles.
- Allow adhesive to dry: Allow the adhesive to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding to the next step.
- Grout the tile: Mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it to the surface using a rubber float. Spread the grout evenly, pressing it into the spaces between the tiles.
- Wipe away excess grout: After the grout has been set for a few minutes, use a damp sponge to wipe away excess grout from the surface of the tiles.
- Allow grout to dry: Allow the grout to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions before walking on or using the tiled surface.
By following these steps, you can install porcelain tile and create a beautiful and durable surface for your home or business.
Remember to wear safety goggles and gloves when cutting porcelain tile, and work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the tile.
Porcelain tile is a popular and durable material for flooring, walls, and other surfaces in homes and businesses. To work with porcelain tiles, it is important to have the right tools and follow the proper techniques. Cutting porcelain tile requires precision and care while smoothing the edges is important for safety and fit.
When installing porcelain tile, surface preparation, layout, adhesive application, tile placement, grouting, and cleanup are all important steps to create a beautiful and long-lasting installation. By following these steps, you can successfully work with porcelain tile and create a stunning finish for your space.
For more information about how to cut porcelain tile, visit the CMP Stone website.