Tiles are arguably the unsung heroes of many kitchens and bathrooms. Their aesthetic impact coupled with their waterproof, easy to clean and long lasting properties mean they serve a function that not many other parts can.
Of course, they’re pretty solid and square components; you’ll need more than just a pair of scissors to fit into corners and around pipes, corners and curved arches. If you’re planning on doing a bit DIY tiling, learning how to cut tiles is a must.
Where to Start
The most obvious place to start is to determine what needs to be done before even beginning any tiling. Measure up the surface to be tiled and see how it corresponds to your chosen tiles. This should give you an idea of how many you’ll have to cut.
You’ll also need to assess the obstacles preventing a complete tile being laid. What shape is it? It is curved or straight? The answer will have a direct impact on cutting technique.
The simplest of all cuts, a straight slice doesn’t require too much DIY-savvy. In fact, most cases need just a handheld tile cutter and a straight edge.
Once you know the size of the gap that needs filling, mark it on your tile with the help of the straight edge. Remember to use a pencil or crayon and to leave a little additional space for grouting.
Being as careful and accurate as possible, place the edge along your markings. Hold it firmly so it doesn’t slip and use your cutter to score the marking in one continuous movement. You want to apply enough pressure to penetrate the glaze on the surface of the tile.
Place a pencil or crayon underneath your scored line and apply pressure to each side. If you press hard enough, your tile will snap into two pieces, cleanly and easily.
A little trickier, but highly accomplishable, cutting tiles into curves only needs to be as difficult as you make it. It’s much simpler than you might imagine and all you’ll need is paper or card, pencil or crayon and a tile saw.
Reach for a bit of paper or card. Cut it into the same shape and size as your tile and then snip out the shape that you want to cut your tile to. Place the paper or card on top of the tile and use it as a template to mark where to cut.
Take a clamp and ensure your tile is secure enough as to not move during cutting. A tile saw has a round blade which will allow you to change direction without being too fiddly so is perfect for producing arched shapes. Use yours to cut along the marking you made and if needs be, smooth the tile with a file.
Accommodating for Windows
Window recesses can be a bit troublesome to begin with. It won’t be long until you’re tackling them like a professional, though.
Sometimes rather awkwardly shaped, not to mention incredibly narrow, they do require a bit of care. You should tile the wall around the recess first, making sure that they match up with the recess. You should be able to use the same techniques applied to straight cuts to get your tiles ready to be laid.
The best place to start is in the centre of the recess. The tiles on the wall will give an indication of where you can apply full tiles. Do this first and work out towards the edges. Remember the methods used to cut your straight lines and apply them to fit into the edges of the recess.
Cutting Tiles Like a Master
With a few simple pointers and perhaps a few practice runs, you’ll soon be slicing tiles like it’s second nature. Simply choose your perfect tiles and cut them to suit your specific room. There’s a wide range of wall coverings to choose from so whatever your tastes, you’ll be able to customise whatever you like.
Remember though, if you can’t seem to get the grasp of it, you don’t have to keep trying. After all, it may be cheaper to hire a professional than to keep spending more money on tiles.
Lee Simpkin is General Manager at Tile Town (http://www.tiletown.co.uk/ ), suppliers and experts in all thing tiles.