Tool Talk

If your project involves tiling, it'll more than likely involve cutting those tiles, so take a look at our quick guide to the tools you'll need and how to use them.

Why would you need to cut your tiles?

• For your final row on a wall or floor.
• Individual tiles will need to be cut if you're tiling around a window, bathroom suite or cupboard.

Types of cutter

A manual cutter has a metal bed that you'll place the tile on, and a moveable scriber that you'll use to score a line across the tile. When you press the cutter's lever, "jaws" clamp down and cut the tile.

An electric cutter works in a similar way to an electric saw, and is a good idea if you have many tiles to cut, as it's quicker and easier to use than a manual version. If you need to cut your tiles in curves or circles, an electric cutter is the tool for the job. Also, use this type of cutter for natural stone tiles.

What to remember:

• Hand and eye protection are both musts. Small pieces of tile are likely to fly up in the air as you cut, so you need to be prepared.
• If you choose to opt for an electric cutter, be sure to use a mask - you don't want to be inhaling abrasive dust!
• Cut the tiles outside if possible.

What else you'll need:

When using an electric tile cutter, you'll also need a tile file, a tile marker pen and tile nippers.

Tips for using an electric cutter

Removing a straight section

• Mark off the right-angled section that needs to be taken out of the tile.
• Turn on the cutter and push the tile against the wheel, keeping to your ready-drawn lines.
• Stop just before the saw reaches your drawn corner: you'll find that it has cut further on the underside of the tile, which is not a problem, but you don't want to over-cut on the visible upper side.

Removing a curved section

• Mark off the curved section that needs to be taken out of the tile.
• As the cutter's saw is fixed, you can't simply turn the tile along the blade.
• Instead, mark cut lines onto the section of the tile to be removed.
• Use the cutter to cut along your straight cut lines, stopping just short of your curved line (see above).
• When you're left with the jagged edge, use a scribing wheel to break through the tile's glaze, along the marked-out curve.
• Once you've scored a curve, use your nippers (a tool that looks similar to pliers) to break off the jagged edges.
• You can use a tile file to smooth the edges, but grouting your tile in the normal way should be enough to create a tidy finish.

Tips for using a manual cutter

Cutting wall and floor tiles

• Use the measuring gauge or mark on the tile where you want to cut it.
• Pull the handle back.
• Place the tile over the bed of the cutter.
• The middle section of the cutter shows where the blade will sit, so line it up with your marked line.
• Put your goggles on.
• Push the handle down lightly and run it along the tile to score it.
• Next position the cutter's clamp so it holds the tile taught. Push down and it will give you a clean break.
• Important: never run your hand down a tile to see how smooth it is - it'll be razor sharp!

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