DIY Tiling Series Part 4 – Cutting Tiles

Once you have placed all your full tiles you can move on to cutting tiles and placing the cut tiles. This process is the longest part to tiling and possibly the most complicated part.

There are two tools for cutting tiles, a manual tile cutter for when you need to cut a straight line through the entire tile and a wet cutter for cutting different shapes into tiles

Step 8: Cutting tiles

Measuring where to cut

When it comes to cutting tiles you need to first measure the tile that needs to be cut.

There are two ways to make measurements when cutting tiles.

  1. Measure the distance from the wall to the end of the tile, minus the thickness of the spacer and a bit for the gap between tile and wall. Measure that distance on your tiles and make marks with either a pencil or a marker.
  2. OR lay the tile over the gap between the wall and tile. Mark on either side where the tile must be cut. Take spacer widths into consideration and space needed between the wall and the tile.

Using both methods will make your tile look like this image below:
Cut marker lines

The idea is to cut so that your marker lines are outside of the cutting line, i.e. they are cut off.

Cut lines

Cutting your measured tiles

Once you have measured your tiles and found out where to cut them you can move onto making the cuts.

1. Straight Line Cuts

For the straight line cut you can use the manual tile cutter. Place tile into base of the cutter and line up with the middle of the steel guides. If you have many tiles to cut for the same wall, set the lateral stop on the cutter and lock it into place.

NB: Don’t assume your wall is straight and cut all your tiles, double check to make sure that it is straight before cutting tiles.

Place the scoring wheel onto the tile. there is a little wheel that will score the tile which will make it easy to break. Push down on the handle and run the wheel along the tile to score the tile. Bring the cutter back to the end of the tile closest to you, drop the handle and press down to allow for tile to snap along the score line.

2. Square Cuts

If you need to cut a square out of the tile for a wall that you are tiling around, you’ll need to use a wet tile saw. You will also need a speed square, which will help you draw straight lines to show where to cut.

Firstly, measure out the area that needs to be cut. Make sure you line the tile up with tiles already laid so you don’t have skew tiles.

Make marks where you need to cut and use the speed square to make cut lines.
Square Cut

Now cut the marked area with a wet tile cutter. This uses water to keep the blade cool while cutting which keeps it sharper for longer. Before using the wet tile cutter you need to prepare it properly. Before cutting, make sure there is a sufficient amount of water in the tile cutter. Look for a water table line to show where you need to fill it to and fill it correctly. If you are using this a lot, make sure you regularly check the water table to see if you need to add more water. If the water runs out and the blade is dry it will destroy the blade.


When using the tile cutter it is very important that you have the correct safety gear. To protect your eyes you need safety glasses and as the machine is rather loud you need to wear proper safety ear muffs. If you are using your tile cutter on the floor make sure you wear your knee-pads to protect your knees as well.

When using the wet tile cutter make sure you push the tile slowly into the cutter, if you push too hard it will stop the blade. Push the tile slowly into the cutter along the marked line with your hands on opposite corners of the tile

3. Odd Cuts

Odd cuts include circular cuts around toilets, pipes or jagged-line cuts. For these cuts you can use various cutting tools. This post will focus on using a wet tile cutter.
To measure your cutting area you need to make a template of your tile cut. Cut a piece of cardboard to the exact size of one full tile. Place the template in the space where you are going to place your tile that needs to be cut. Keep in mind to leave space for the spacers. Make a series of cuts into the cardboard around your object. Fold the cuts to see where the object lies and where you will need to cut your tile. Use a marker to note where you will need to make your cut and remove unnecessary cardboard. Once you have cut the template, place it to make sure that it fits around the object. If it fits, place the template onto the tile and mark out the line where you will need to cut.


To cut the tile you can use various methods, you could us a wet tile cutter to slowly cut 1 cm lines in the area to be cut and finally cut them out with a tile cutter. If the area is small you could use a tile cutter to slowly cut out the area. You could also use a tile saw to cut the area out. If you use the latter, make sure that the tile is firmly secure to a table or working bench so that it doesn’t move around when you are trying to cut the tile. For all methods, be sure to use the safety gloves and safety glasses.

As mentioned, cutting tiles can be a task, if you have any questions feel free to ask. Contact us via Facebook or email

Laying your cut tiles

Once you have cut your tiles you can lay them the same way you laid the full tiles. Make sure you cut all your tiles in an area before mixing adhesive else it will dry. Generally, the area you are laying cut tiles will have little space and it is easier to apply adhesive to the back of the tile. Make sure you cover the back of the tile then place it into position. Be sure not to put too much adhesive on the back of the tile else adhesive will push up in-between tiles creating mess. Once again, make sure you use spacers and ensure your tiles are level. When placing tiles make sure you apply pressure to ensure adhesive bonds with tile and sub-floor.

Once you have laid all your tiles and the adhesive has been left to dry for 24hrs you can start grouting. That brings us to Part 5 of the DIY tiling process.