How to Cut Tiles Without a Wet Saw

Last-moment tile projects can be relatively overwhelming with all the complicated steps and complex tools for the job. One such tool that makes the work easy is the tile cutting wet saw. However, a good quality wet saw can be hard to come by in a hurry, especially with its expensive price tag! Therefore, to help you carry out your last-moment tile projects, we have curated a list of five simple and easy tools that can cut tiles with precision just like a regular wet saw. You can use these five tools to cut any tile, depending on the size of the job.

Five ways to cut tile without a wet saw

The following are five easy tools to cut any tile with utmost ease and precision, just like a regular trusty wet saw:

#1 Diamond hole saw

The hole saw is a very standard tool widely available in everyone’s toolbox. With a diamond coating edge, this tool can cut through any tile with complete ease. A diamond hole saw is excellent for cutting small holes in various tiles, whether granite or porcelain. Some of the home renovation projects require the installation of pipes through the tiles, and this tool works flawlessly during such cases. This diamond-coated hole saw can quickly cut through any ceramic tile within a few seconds. However, we highly recommend drizzling a constant stream of water while cutting tiles. Spraying water keeps the blades cool while speeding up the process quite efficiently. Remember that the initial few seconds can be challenging, but the shape will automatically get drilled if you apply constant pressure.

Instructions for using a diamond drill bit to cut tiles

  1.  Hook up the diamond drill bit to your power drill body.
  2. Mark the exact position where you need a hole. Ensure that the size of the cavity corresponds with the bit size.
  3. Affix the tile somewhere safe to avoid any unwanted twisting during the drilling process.
  4. Drill out a hole without putting a lot of pressure on the tile. Make sure you aren’t overheating the tool during this process. Spritzing water can keep the drill bit cool during the cutting.

#2 Angle grinder

A heavy-duty angle grinder is a well-known tool that can cut tiles without a wet saw. This power tool is relatively easy to use and comes with an assortment of blades that you can switch and adjust according to your project requirements. You can use an angle grinder to cut any shape, but the unit efficiently cuts circular and semicircular shapes. We recommend using this powerful tool in an open workspace to avoid any potential injuries. An angle grinder with a diamond blade will cut through tiles with extreme ease. Apart from the circular cuts, this tool is an excellent choice for cutting extra detailed shapes for all sorts of tile projects. This tool, however, will give subpar results in terms of smooth edge. You are bound to have a few jagged edges while handling this tool. Users can use a sanding tool to smoothen out the tile.

Instructions for using an angle grinder to cut tiles 

  1. Use a marking pen or marker to draw out the exact shape you wish to achieve.
  2. To make the process easy while cutting, we recommend tracing the same design on the other side of the tile too.
  3. Start applying little to no pressure by placing and tracing your angle grinder over the marked lines.
  4. Work in small sections to get the exact design without any mess-ups.
  5. If the edges seem a little jagged, you can use an abrasive wheel or sanding tool to smooth down the edges.

#3 Handheld manual cutter

A handheld tile nipper or manual cutter is a small nipping device used to nip tiles without any machinery. This simple tool is extremely cheap and readily available everywhere, thus making it an excellent tool for last-minute tiling projects. The device works impeccably well in cutting small corners of tiles, especially ceramic tiles. Since the unit doesn’t need any electric connection or extra hands, it is one of the most sought-after tools among DIYers. This tile nipper will provide excellent precision and control over the cuts because the person using it has complete control over the tool. You can also carry this tool in your tool belt because of its lightweight nature. 

Instructions for using a handheld manual cutter to cut porcelain tile:

  1. Prepare the tile you want to cut/snip by marking it with a marker. 
  2. Insert the nipper tool around the marked area and hold the device at the center of your marked line.
  3. Apply light pressure and wait for the tile to snip. Avoid pressing the tile twice or thrice as it can crack the entire tile in multiple places.
  4. Smoothen out the sharp or jagged edges with a sander till all the corners become smooth.

#4 Manual tile cutter

A manual tile cutter is a bigger version of a handheld manual cutter that can cut tiles with great precision without using any electricity. These manual cutters are relatively giant and can cut straight lines quite easily. Both DIYers and professionals widely use the tool to cut huge tiles within a few seconds. This tool comes with two cutting wheels for a straight and angled cutting style. Apart from the functionality, these machines are relatively affordable than most heavy power machinery. A manual tile cutter is a perfect option if you wish to cut through vast blocks of ceramic, porcelain, glass, or terra tiles. However, this manual device doesn’t work for natural stone tiles.

Instructions to use a manual cutter to cut tiles

  1. Start the cutting process by adjusting the tile according to the tile cutter guide. Ensure that the tile is ideally linked with the machine.
  2. Carefully feed the tile to the cutter and place the blade on the very edge of the tile. Slide the scoring mechanism across the tile several times.
  3. Once you are done with the scoring, press the tiles in opposite directions to snip them in two halves.
  4. Upon pressing, you will have two tile pieces as per your desired requirement.

#5 Glass cutter

A plain and straightforward glass cutter is a perfect tool for cutting small tiles that are particularly thin in height. A glass cutter is ideal for people who do not have access to various power tools mentioned in this list. This glass cutter can score and cut even porcelain tiles with extreme ease, and the operation requires no particular expertise. Cutting the tile into wiggly lines and abstract shapes is extremely easy with this tool. The only main downside of a glass cutter is its ability to become dull very quickly. You will need to change the blades quite often as it becomes worn or splinters mid-use. If your tile project calls for a lot of tile cutting, we highly recommend investing in a diamond blade for a sturdier blade.

Instructions for using a glass cutter to cut tiles

  1. Prepare the tile by drawing out the desired shape necessary for your project.
  2. Start scoring the top surface of the tile with the glass cutter and score over the same place twice or thrice. Apply a little pressure to cut the tile deeper; this will give you a better chance of snipping it without shattering the entire tile.
  3. Apply pressure near the scored line and try to break the line carefully.
  4. Properly executing his method will give you a neatly shaped tile within a few seconds.

Tips for cutting various tile types without a wet saw

Ceramic

Since a ceramic tile is relatively thinner and fragile than other tiles, you can easily cut it with various aforementioned tools. A diamond hole saw and the handheld manual cutter will work exceptionally well for ceramic tiles.

Porcelain

Porcelain tiles are somewhat similar to ceramic tiles but tend to be extra strong. Therefore, you can use all types of cutting devices mentioned above with a diamond-coated blade or a heavy-duty body. If the porcelain tile requires a lot of detailing, we highly recommend opting for a glass cutter or a handheld cutter for extreme precision.

Stone 

You are bound to use a heavy-duty angle grinder or diamond hole saw for cutting stone tiles because of their rigid structure and thickness. You cannot use manual tools or the score and snap technique on stone tiles; thus, going for power tools is your best bet.

Mosaics or glass

Cutting a glass tile or glass mosaics is a very delicate business and requires the score and snap technique. We suggest opting for a glass scorer to cut the thin tile without shattering it into pieces. Avoid using an angle grinder or a diamond hole saw for these types of tiles.

Conclusion

If you do not possess a wet saw, feel free to experiment using all the aforementioned tools. These tools will surely give you the same result without the hassle of buying a new wet saw. Lastly, don’t forget to wear protective gear such as gloves, respirator masks, ear protection, and goggles to avoid potential mishaps.

 

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