How to cut tiles with a handheld tile cutter or angle grinder: smooth and chip-free
Manufacturers produce manual devices for cutting tiles in different designs. But their basic design is similar. The tile cutter consists of the following components:
- The base is the main support. It is usually made of a steel plate. There is a rubberized coating on top that prevents the tile from slipping while cutting. On the bed are firmly fixed supports with guides, on which the carriage moves. Good tile cutters have a strong, thick steel frame. Their rigidity gives the tool stability. Cheap tile cutters with a thin frame vibrate during cutting, resulting in rejects.
- The handle is made of a piece of pipe. Its elongated shape simplifies the work of the handheld tile cutter, as it forms a lever, thanks to which the worker makes less effort.
- The main cutting element is the wheel. It is made of hard-alloy materials. The surface of a quality roller is perfectly round, without any dents or burrs.
All handheld tile cutters are similar in their construction! A dull cutting wheel must not be resharpened. It is simply thrown away and replaced with a new element.
All working parts are made of steel and silumin. They are extremely strong and provide rigidity. Auxiliary elements can be made of plastic or nonferrous alloys. One of them is a scale used for choosing a tile size. It can be even double. mirror. This scale is convenient for left-handed people. Manual professional tile cutters have a rotary ruler. It helps to make shaped cuts at any angle.
All handheld tile cutters operate on the same principle. The roller, which rolls under high pressure, cuts a groove in the tile surface. At this point, the workpiece weakens and it is easier to break it into two parts by the applied force.
Cutting tiles with a handheld tile cutter
This is the most popular option, which is used by both professional and amateur tilers. You can find it in stores, at starting at 300 or more, depending on the size, quality and extra features, like a rotating base and a built-in ruler for easy cutting of tiles at a 45-degree angle. At the same time, it is better not to buy the cheapest models, they will often break the tile incorrectly, due to poor pressure on a flimsy base.
- The tile is inserted into the tile cutter, and the markings on it are aligned with a special marker.
- The handle is pulled down and held in the direction away from you. It should be run at the same speed and even pressure, so that the roller cuts the glaze to the same depth. It is enough to move it once with the roller. If you drive it several times, the break can be bad.
- Next to the roller there are special feet that come down and break the tile into 2 parts, after a sharp push on the lever. All tile cutters have a metal shoulder on their platform and soft pads on the edges. When you press the edges of the tile with your feet, it will create the maximum tension in the place of the cut, if it’s properly aligned with the pad, and it will break off evenly.
It is difficult to explain this with words, so it is easier to watch a video that shows how to cut tiles with a tile cutter correctly:
Quality tile cutters allow you to cut even 10 mm thick tile without any problems. And it doesn’t matter what angle you cut it at: even if it’s 45 degrees, even if it’s 30 degrees.
How to cut tiles in an “L” shape
Since the tile cutter can only cut tiles straight, many people have trouble with L-shaped notches. The easiest option is to divide this tile into 2 rectangular pieces, but then you get an extra ugly seam that will be conspicuous.
But this can be avoided if the short side is trimmed with an angle grinder, and then the long side with a tile cutter.
Step-by-step instructions on how to make L-shaped cutouts in tile
You can also cut the outer corners in the same way. When marking them, you need to subtract about 4-5 mm, for the grouting seam 1.5-2 mm and a small indentation from the wall.
The second way: any method available to you makes a cut on the glaze, and the excess is gradually broken off with pliers. Any irregularities should be treated with sandpaper. This option will even allow you to get a rounded notch to join the risers.
How to cut a porcelain tile
Porcelain tiles are considered to be the hardest material to make floor tiles from. It can be trimmed in the same way as a regular tile.
Sometimes simple floor tiles are more difficult to cut than porcelain tiles. There is a hardened tile, which after cutting with a tile cutter is almost not visible notch on the glaze. And even the diamond disc on the angle grinder does not take it. the notch turns out jagged, as after a tractor. In such cases, you need to use an angle grinder, and file a groove of 2-3 mm from the back side to mark the place of the break.
Electric plate cutter
The electric device does not have the disadvantages of the mechanical one. Thanks to it, a very qualitative cut is achieved. It allows you to work with thick and dense porcelain stoneware without compromising on quality. In addition, it is able to cut thin pieces of ceramic; in the case of a mechanical tool, even with a new roller and lubricated runners, there is no guarantee of a positive result.
An electric tile cutter is not as fast as a manual one, but this hardly matters where perfect quality is needed. The only drawback is the relative high cost. However, the price is comparable to a quality imported mechanical tool.
What an electric plate cutter is?
Cutting with a diamond wheel is accompanied by a large amount of dust, so the machine has a hydraulic system that cools the cutting element and prevents the active spraying of ceramics. Models differ in terms of water supply. In one case, it is a reservoir of liquid, in which part of the circle is permanently immersed, in the other wetting is carried out by running water. The liquid must be changed periodically to avoid the accumulation of waste that contaminates the diamond element. The latter should also be washed regularly, otherwise the cutting particles get clogged.
Electric tile cutter with water cooling.
The machines also differ in the cutting system. Some tile cutters have a moving wheel and a stationary table, while others have a fixed cutting element and tile feeding by the movement of the mill. In any case, the preparation of porcelain stoneware for cutting is similar to that described in the section on mechanical tools.
Cutting at a 45-degree angle on an electric tile cutter.
When using an electric plate cutter, it is possible to shape cut porcelain stoneware. Twisting cutting mechanism is not up to the teeth, but the angle. within the power. The advantage of many models include the possibility of trimming at an angle of 45 degrees. Today depart from the decorative tile corners, preferring monolithic tiling. Without a machine in this situation you can do without, but it is very difficult and impractical.
Working with an electric tile cutter
Electric tile cutters of different types work the same way, so the technology of cutting tile materials with their help is similar. Working with an electric tile cutter is not particularly difficult, but you must be careful and attentive. Manual models are more difficult to handle: the evenness of the cut depends mainly on the skills of the worker.
To properly use a tile cutter of the electric type, it is necessary to adhere to the following rules:
- The cooling system must be switched on before working;
- Preliminarily put a marking on the surface of the workpiece;
- Fix the tile on the desktop;
- After you must carefully advance the tile to the disk or vice versa (depending on the model of the operated machine), constantly monitoring the force of the pressing;
In addition to straight cutting, various shapes are also cut out with electric glass cutters. In this case, the process takes place in the following sequence:
Using a power tool allows you to cut tiles into thin strips, a few millimeters wide, and the cut is even.
In principle, there is a fairly large list of ways, how and with what you can cut ceramic tiles. We will not go into the details of each option, we will simply indicate them.
How to Use a Manual Tile Cutter Beginners Guide
You can use an ordinary glass cutter for this. After all, the main thing is to cut through the glaze layer with which the tile is covered. Therefore, on the line you must pass the glass cutter, strongly pressing it to the surface. In this case it is recommended to use a guide support, on which the tool will, resting on, move along the cut. You can use an ordinary metal or wooden ruler for this.
As a cutting tool, you can use an angle grinder. It is put on a cutting diamond disk, which is made the cut. However, it should be noted that this option is not the best, because practice shows that it is very difficult to make an accurate cut with this tool. Here you need a steady hand and a sharp eye, and the experience of carrying out this type of work is required. It is also necessary to pay attention to the fact that the angle grinder to cut the tile should be from the back side. At the same time do not cut all the way to the end, you just need to make a groove on the tile. Then the hands are used to make the cut.
Tile Cutting Tools
If there is a need to cut a tile not in a straight line, but rounded, you can do it as follows.
- A curved line for the trimmer is applied.
- A groove is made along it with a sharp object, for example, a well-sharpened nail, which destroys the glaze.
- Now it is necessary to bite off pieces of ceramics with pliers, bringing the line for the trimmer cut to an even circle.
- Be sure to finish the cut with sandpaper or emery board.
All alternative methods can not be called quality. And they all require refinishing of the cut. Therefore, it is necessary to learn how to properly cut tiles with a tile cutter and be sure that the quality of the end result will always be at a high level.
Advantages and disadvantages of handheld tile cutters
Like any other tool, the hand-held tile cutter has positive and negative qualities that must be taken into account when choosing a device for cutting tiles.
Among the advantages stand out the following characteristics:
- Independence from electrical networks;
- Can be used at any temperature and humidity;
- low weight
- low cost.
What tools can be used to perform the task?
Before answering the question posed, it is important to learn to identify the properties of floor tiles that can cause some difficulties during the execution of the indicated works. Let’s outline the main.
- So, for example, it is necessary to pay attention to the strength of the material. Since the floor. a surface that is subjected to more stress than the wall, for its tiling choose a tile with high strength characteristics. That’s why cutting floor tiles is much more difficult than cutting wall tiles.
- The structure of the floor tiles is much thicker.
- The front side of such a tile almost always has anti-slip properties. That is why this kind of material is easier to cut than glossy wall tiles.
- Measure and cut the floor tiles with a complex pattern is much harder than the product with a simple smooth surface.
All this must be taken into account when choosing a suitable tool. So what to cut the floor tile at home? Tools of various shapes and designs are suitable for the task at hand. It can be:
Abrasive waterjet cutting deserves special attention, but we will talk about it at the end of the article. Each tool has its own principle of work, its own advantages and disadvantages of choice, so it makes sense to consider each option in more detail.
The ordinary trimmer
For cutting wall and floor tiles there is a special tool. It is called a tile cutter. There are two versions of its design on sale: manual and electric.
Manual tile cutter
Only straight cuts can be made with a handheld tile cutter. Its line for the trimmer can be carried out in a strictly straight direction or on the diagonal of the module. The manual model is easy to use, but in order to properly cut tiles, it is necessary to study the device of the described tool. Its main part is the base.
On it are attached to the slides, similar to the tubes. On them is carried out with the help of rollers the sliding of the carriage, made of hard metal. Cutting tiles is carried out as follows:
- On tiles, a preliminary marking is applied, a line is drawn for the trimmer of the cut.
- After that, the tile is placed on the base, so that the line for the cut trimmer falls exactly on the place of movement of the carriage.
- A roller is placed on the line for the cut trimmer.
- The movement of the handle produces a straight cut.
Please note! The handheld tile cutter makes only one cut. You can’t correct something by trimming it. The tile will simply break while inside the tool.
If you choose this method, it is important to always check the sharpness of the cutting element before working. If purchased professional equipment, the cutting device is removable, so if you want a blunt roller is not difficult to change.
Manual tile cutter makes only a cut on the tile, but it is easy to break the module on the made line. It is important to do this operation correctly. A knoll on the base of the tile cutter, straight in the direction of the cut, helps make the job easier. It slightly lifts the ceramic piece clearly above the marked line. After the first operation, the knoll becomes the guide for breaking.
At the front of the roller there is also a moving hinge, which has a t-shape. When breaking, this hinge must be aligned exactly in the middle of the cut line of the floor tile. Then, when you press the lever, it will press on the blade, and facilitate the process of breaking the tile.
Pay attention! Use a handheld tile cutter when the floor tile has small dimensions. For cutting large tiles, it is better to use an electric tile cutter.
What is an electric tile cutter? This is a professional equipment, to work on which you can, having certain skills and abilities. By design and operation, this tool is completely similar to a standard circular saw, with only one difference. In our case, other discs are used, the design also provides for the presence of water trays.
The use of an electric tile cutter becomes justified when it is necessary to cut hard floor tiles of large sizes, when it is necessary to perform a large amount of work. The electric tile cutter can easily handle it. In addition, with the described element it is easy to perform a very accurate cut with a rounded or oblique cut. Such an operation helps to neatly decorate the outer corners of tile cladding.
How the electric tile cutter works? The construction of the tool is very simple. A level base. The disk is fastened exactly in the middle of the base, its upper half is elevated above it, and the lower part of the disk is lowered into the tray. Before you begin, fill the tray with water, so that the bottom is covered by 3 cm. A line for a trimmer is used to make a pre-cut on the tile. Then the tile is placed on top of the machine. The top of the disc is protected by a metal handle. It rises and allows you to control the course of the cutting element. The tile is pressed tightly to the blade and is neatly brought under the disk. It rotates and makes the cut.
Using a tile cutter with some experience is quite easy. Its use in home conditions has one major disadvantage. Costs such professional equipment is quite expensive. Buy it in order to lay a tile floor in the bathroom, of course, is not worth it. But if you want you can always rent an electric tile cutter from specialized companies. Many repair teams also provide services to rent the tool. In the absence of such options, it is worth considering other options.
Which tile cutter is right for you
To understand how to use a tile cutter, first of all you need to understand what kind of tool is suitable. All devices are divided into 2 classes. household and electric. The latter are more powerful and are used mainly for industrial purposes.
As for household, these are handheld devices that are suitable specifically for home use. There are 3 classes of such tools:
- With a cutting roller. these are often used in conjunction with a sawing station.
- Another way to properly cut tiles with a tile cutter is to use devices on bearings. They are good for ceramic pieces with a thickness of more than 16 mm.
- Mechanical ones are equipped with a rigid carriage, which allows you to perform a more precise cutting.
It is important to understand that all these models can cut a strip from the edge with a width of at least 10 mm. If you need to understand how to properly cut a tile with a manual tile cutter, so that literally a few millimeters remain, you should use cutters. They provide more accurate results.
Safety precautions when working with tools
The manual tool is less dangerous than its electric counterpart. No dust or sharp, hard particles of the processed material fly out from under it. No need to use goggles, respirator. Many craftsmen don’t even use gloves. However, you can not neglect safety measures at all.
Some types of tiles have a glossy coating. When cutting and breaking tiles, this layer crumbles and falls off in small sharp particles. While working with such materials it is a good idea to wear glasses and gloves.
When working with hand tools do not always use personal protective equipment, but it is not recommended for your own safety
Before you use a manual roller tile cutter, check its performance. It is better to spoil a piece of unnecessary tiles than a new piece. Before you start cutting, prepare the workplace. Do not let anything get in the way under your hands. The table is cleared of unnecessary things. Prepare a place to put the necessary and unnecessary workpieces.
The handheld cutter is considered safe because of the lack of rotating mechanisms at high speeds. All movements are done by the man himself. However, there is a risk of injury. Often while cutting, the hand holds the workpiece so it does not move. You need to find its proper location where the cutter is missing when cutting.