How to cut porcelain tiles – Top 10 methods – using different tools

There is a huge difference between porcelain tiles and normal ceramic tiles. Although porcelain tile is a type of ceramic tile, they look alike and share the same colors and sizes. But believe me, there are huge differences between them, and the same differences make it harder to cut porcelain tiles.

Porcelain tile is made from added sand to its clay mixture. Then heat and pressure are applied. The resulted tile is harder and denser than normal ceramic tiles. Unlike other ceramic tiles, it is less porous and its water absorption capacity is about 0.5% which is way less.

Porcelain tiles are popular in installations like wet rooms, kitchen walls, football grounds, outdoor, and gardening, etc. due to their durability and versatility as they can withstand very harsh weather conditions.

Porcelain tiles cutting problems

Cutting porcelain tiles are harder to cut than normal ceramic tiles. Especially when the time is short and the project requires cutting a lot of tiles. Normally, porcelain tiles require professional skills OR a professional cutter to cut them precisely.

Porcelain tiles cracked - problems with porcelain tiles. How to cut a porcelain tile with different tools.
Porcelain tiles cracked – problems with porcelain tiles

To cut porcelain tiles you may face some problems, especially shattering, splintering, or chipping. Even professional tilers have the same risks without a proper tiles cutter. So to reduce the potential risks of breaking the tiles, you need to choose the right kind of tools for them.

If your batch of tiles are regularly shattering, splintering, or chipping no matter what tool you use. You should ask the provider for a return as it sounds like the tiles have not been heated up enough.

The right porcelain tiles cutting tools

When it comes to deciding how to cut porcelain tile, there are many tools and methods to follow. But you should only pick the one that is easier for you and still get the job done. OR, you may end up chip your porcelain tiles or even break them up, or damaging your tool.

So it is important to use the right blade or scoring wheel to cut porcelain tiles.

For small and occasional work, you might be able to use tools that are not designed for porcelain tile cutting. But for real work, you should have a professional porcelain tiles cutter with you. As it’ll make your job easier and will help you work faster and efficiently.

In the below section, I am mentioning those tools and methods that are effective to cut a porcelain tile.

BTW, If you have jigsaw tool, you can use it to cut porcelain tiles. But you’ll need a special diamond blade for doing so. Checkout the best budget jigsaw if you are a small homeowner. If you are a pro, you can check the best jigsaw for professionals.

How to Cut Porcelain Tile with a Tile Cutter

Using a tile cutter to cut porcelain tiles, is a favorite among many peoples, especially woodworkers. A manual tile cutter is used to cut ceramic tiles. But the same can be used to cut porcelain tiles as well.

It is a faster tile cutting method among all the cutting tools and you can make many adjustments to the type of cuts you want to make depending on the tile type and size.

Following are the steps to cut a porcelain tile using a tile cutter

  1. Mark the porcelain tile where you want to cut it.
  2. Adjust and lock the guide of the tile cutter.
  3. Place the cutter on the edge of the tile, where you have marked it.
  4. Push down on the tile cutter and slide it across the marked tile.
  5. Press it down when reached to the end. It will break into two smooth pieces.
  6. You can now smoothen out the edges to reduce sharpness if required.

Videos for cutting a porcelain tile using a manual tile cutter

Watch the following video explain how to cut porcelain tiles using a tile cutter without chipping or breaking.

How To Cut Porcelain Tile-using a tile cutter
Porcelain tile cutting using a manual tile cutter.

Where to get a manual tile cutter?

You can get the manual tile cutter from the following link.

QEP 10630Q 24-Inch Manual Tile Cutter with Tungsten Carbide...
862 Reviews
QEP 10630Q 24-Inch Manual Tile Cutter with Tungsten Carbide...
  • Cuts porcelain and ceramic tile up to 24-Inches and 16-Inches diagonally
  • Straight edge adjustable measurement guide aligns tile for accurate cutting
  • 7/8-Inch titanium-coated tungsten-carbide cutting wheel for smooth and durable scoring
  • Easily cleaned with compressed air or soap and water if needed

How to Cut Porcelain Tile Using a Wet Tile Saw

Using a wet tile saw to cut porcelain tiles is the best way to cut tiles. With a wet tile saw, you can cut a portion of porcelain tiles as well. I.e. If you need to cut a square or rectangle or triangle from inside the porcelain tile, you can do that easily.

A wet tile saw is very precise and accurate, and you can cut different shapes easily. It can cut your tiles to exact measurements, and it will always be left with a smooth, straight edge.

If you are planning to do a lot of porcelain tiles cuttings, investing in a wet tile saw is strongly recommended for you. Also, it is worth mentioning, you should always get a wet saw with an adjustable blade, because it’ll help cut precisely, without producing any chipping.

The process is straightforward.

  1. Mark the area on the porcelain tile where you want to cut.
  2. Align the tile to the wet saw blade.
  3. Start the wet saw, and let it speed up.
  4. Move the porcelain tile slowly towards the running saw blade according to marking.
  5. Don’t be hurry, let the wet saw blade cut through the tile, instead of force cutting.

The main benefit of using a wet tile saw, is that it cuts very professionally, with smooth edges, without producing any chipping, and is fast.

Video of wet tile saw cutting porcelain tiles

How to cut Porcelain Tile using a Wet Saw
How to cut a porcelain tile using a wet tile saw.

Where to buy a wet tile saw?

You can buy a wet tile saw from the following url.

Delta 96-107 7' Cruzer Wet Tile Saw
108 Reviews
Delta 96-107 7" Cruzer Wet Tile Saw
  • Powerful 13 amp motor will cut through natural and man-made tile and pavers
  • 7 inch diamond cutting wheel handles stone up to 2 3/8 inches
  • Largest rip cutting capacity in its Class up to 24”
  • Heavy duty rip fence with positive stops at 0°, 22. 5° and 45°
  • Heavy-duty rail system engineered for exceptionally straight, accurate and smooth cuts

How to cut porcelain tile with WaterJet tile cutter?

Waterjet cutting technology is relatively new and advanced. But believe me, it produces the finest and most accurate results. Although, it might be not financially feasible for everyone. But if you get one, you won’t need any other tile cutter.

Waterjets are not common for home-usage. It is being used in industries to cut several hard materials. Porcelain tile is also one of those hard materials that it can cut very precisely.

Waterjets require some prior experience of using computer software. Because you’ll be dealing with the waterjet’s software. It is CAD Software, where you’ll design the actual cutting shape, and load it to your water jet machine to handle the rest.

Follow is the process of cutting a porcelain tile with a Water jet cutter.

  1. Create your required desing in a CAD software. Usually your waterjet may come with one itself.
  2. Upload the design into your waterjet system.
  3. Load a porcelain tile to the Waterjet.
  4. Choose your designed shape in waterjets’ built-in control panel, and run it.
  5. Wait till your waterjet finish cutting your desired complex shape in loaded porcelain tile.

Waterjets are expensive, but you’ll be able to cut any complex shape in your porcelain tile in a matter of minutes with perfect accuracy and without chipping. You can even start your own business for specially-designed porcelain tiles using waterjet.

Video of WaterJet cutting complex shape in porcelain tiles

Water Jet Cutting Porcelain Tile | RAK Ceramics

Cutting Porcelain Tile Using a Tile Nipper

Tile nippers are very handy for cutting curves and circular areas of a porcelain tile. Which are difficult to make with a wet saw. It is also pretty easy to handle than using any saw, especially if you are cutting some small pieces or sections of a porcelain tile.

Sale QEP 9 in. Compound Tile Nipper with Tungsten Carbide Tips...

The process of cutting porcelain tiles with a tile nipper is as below.

  1. Mark the area where you require to cut the porcelain tile and score it. You can use utility knife to score it.
  2. Starting from the edge of the porcelain tile, put the jaws of the tile nipper at the center of the marked line and apply some pressure. It’ll nip off the part.
  3. Do the same for the other edge as well.
  4. Now gradually nip off the middle pieces as well untill finished.
  5. Smooth the cutting edges by a rub brick.

A tile nipper is handy for making small, arc, and circular cuts in porcelain tiles. It works great, especially if you are repairing some tiles. You can also do regular long cuts using a tile nipper, but it’ll take more time as it is slow.

Video of using a tile nipper to cut porcelain tiles

How To Cut Porcelain Tile-With a Tile Nippers

Cutting Porcelain Tile Using an Angle Grinder

An angle grinder is a pretty handy tool for cutting different shapes in porcelain tiles. You can cut L-shape, circular shape, rectangular, square, or any other desired shape with it. Surely, some shapes require some exceptional tricks. But you’ll get a general idea.

Sale DEWALT Angle Grinder Tool, 4-1/2-Inch to 5-Inch, Trigger...

To cut a porcelain tile with an angle grinder, follow the following steps.

  1. Mark the shape on the porcelain tile, where you want to cut.
  2. Use a diamond wheel on angle grinder to cut porcelain tiles.
  3. Start the angle grinder, start cutting the tile on the marked lines.
  4. If the cutting area is on the edges of the tile, then place the tile on a table, where that edge is free to cut.
  5. If the cutting shape is on the middle of the tile, then put something underneath the tile to avoid damaging your table.

You should work outside, or in a garage while cutting and working with an angle grinder. Because it’ll produce dust. You should also protect yourself from that dust by using a mask and goggles.

Video of cutting porcelain tiles with angle grinder

How to Cut Porcelain Tile-using an angle grinder
How to cut porcelain tile using an angle grinder

Cutting Porcelain Tile with a Diamon Wheel Wet Tile Saw

Diamond wheel wet tile saw is basically used for cutting very tough and coarse materials. So a porcelain tile can be cut easily with it. The fixed diamonds on the edges of the blade facilitate the cutting.

It is like a table saw, but wet, and best for cutting straight lines, instead of circles.

The process is straightforward for cutting porcelain tile using a diamond wheel wet tile saw.

  1. Mark the area where you want to cut the porcelain tile.
  2. Adjust cutter guide on the Diamond Wheel Wet Tile Saw to make the cut straight.
  3. Fill up the water tank of wet tile saw at the bottom.
  4. Align the tile on the table and start the wet tile saw. Let it speed up.
  5. Slowly push the porcelain tile towards the blade, and let it cut slowly and smoothly.

To avoid chipping at the end of the cutline, make a small cut at the end side first by flipping the tile on the rigid side. Then cut the whole porcelain tile from another side to this point. Check the video below for this tip.

Where to get the diamond wheel wet tile saw machine

Follow the following link to get one for yourself.

Skil 3550-02 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw with HydroLock Water...
5,142 Reviews
Skil 3550-02 7-Inch Wet Tile Saw with HydroLock Water...
  • Hydro lock water containment system keeps water contained near the blade and reduce clean-up time
  • Sliding side extension provides support for tiles up to 18 x 18-inch
  • Aluminum table top is a durable, rust-resistant surface
  • Adjustable rip fence with miter gauge for accurate straight and miter cuts
  • Bevel cuts tile at 0, 22.5 and 45 degrees, giving flexibility for different cut types

Video explaining a diamond wheel wet tile saw cutting porcelain tile

How to cut tiles using a diamond wheel cutter
Cutting Porcelain Tiles With A Diamond Wheel Wet Tile Saw

How to Cut a Porcelain Tile with a Dremel or Drill Bit

Dremel and Drill are very handy for making holes in porcelain tiles. You can even cut straight lines with a proper saw bit, but these are specially for making holes.

There are diamond bits for cutting holes in porcelain tiles because porcelain tiles are tough. These bits ensure the quality of cuts as well as last longer than normal bits. These bits come in different sizes.

The Steps for cutting holes in a porcelain tile using a Dremel or drill are below.

  1. Stick a piece of tap on the tile, where you want to mark and cut the hole in it.
  2. Choose a proper diamond bit according to your required hole size.
  3. Start the dremel or drill and start cutting on an angle to make a starting hole.
  4. Now align the tool, and start drilling at 90 degree.
  5. Cut slowly, let the bit do the work.
  6. Once complete gentally pull up the bit and clean the dust.

During cutting a porcelain tile, your diamond bit may become very hot. To avoid this, you can use water to cool it down.

Video of cutting hole in porcelain tile using a drill

How To Drill Large Holes In Porcelain Or Ceramic Tile
How To Drill Large Holes In Porcelain Or Ceramic Tile
drill porcelain tile - porcelain tile drilling
Drilling in Porcelain Tiles without guide holes

Cutting Porcelain Tiles with Jigsaw

Jigsaws are a very handy tool for almost all professionals as well as DIYers. You can use it to cut different types of materials. Cutting tiles with a jigsaw can also be done but with the right blade.

You need different blades for different materials. I.e. Different blades are used for wood and other soft material, as well as for metals and hard materials.

For cutting tiles with a jigsaw, you need a diamond blade. Because tiles are hard especially porcelain tiles so you need to get a hard diamond cutting blade.

Follow the following steps to cut a porcelain tile with a jigsaw

  1. Mark the shape on the tile which you want to cut out. So you know where to cut.
  2. Lock the tile on a table in a position so there is enough space for jigsaw blade underneath it.
  3. Start the jigsaw, let it speed up, and start cutting from an edge of the tile.
  4. Cut slowely on the marked shape.
  5. You may need to lubricate the blade, or use water to cool it down. You can cut in parts as well.
  6. If you have a shape inside of a tile, you’ll need to drill a starting hole first.

Cutting a porcelain tile with a jigsaw with a diamond blade produces very good results. It doesn’t produce any chipping or cracking. But it is a slow process, and only suitable for very small work.

Conclusion

Porcelain tiles live for the life of the home you are living in. So make sure you have cut it right to the point where you need it.

In this guide, almost all of the methods you can cut a porcelain tile are mentioned. Some require more investment than others. So depending on your need, you should choose the right tool for you.

Also, there is no need for any other expert. If you follow these methods, believe me, you can cut any tile without chipping.

If something is skipped or not mentioned in this ultimate porcelain tile cutting guide, please let us know in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are porcelain tiles difficult to cut?

No, they are easy to cut, but you need a proper tool to cut them smoothly. You can use a manual tile cutter, wet saw, tile nipper, diamond wheel wet tile saw, jigsaw, and advanced technology like a waterjet to cut porcelain tiles.

How do you cut porcelain tile by hand?

Actually cutting a porcelain tile with a tile nipper is known as cutting it by hand.

How can I cut porcelain tiles without chipping them?

It is simple. You can avoid chipping while cutting porcelain tiles by following the below methods.
1. By using a wet saw.
2. By sticking tape on the cutline while cutting by a saw.
3. By not cutting fast especially when you reach the endpoint.
4. By using an advanced waterjet cutter.

Can I cut porcelain tile with a snap cutter?

A manual tile cutter is good enough to cut porcelain tile. It takes not much time to cut because it uses the “score and snaps” technique. We can have our tile cut in any size and pattern by using a tile cutter.

What is the best blade to cut porcelain tile?

Always use a diamond saw blade to cut a porcelain tile. Because it is a tough material and can break your normal saw blades. So get a diamond saw blade.

Some say that RUBI Diamond Blades are of good quality for cutting porcelain tiles. Customers’ reviews are good about it.

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Last update on 2021-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. Note: Jigsaw Expert may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

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