How to Cut Masonry Clay Tile

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Clay tiles are strong, durable tiles suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, as flooring and as a decorative wall surface. When laying a surface using clay tiles, you'll find that they often must be cut to fit. Two primary methods are used to cut clay tiles successfully, depending on the type of clay tile being used. For more decorative tiles, you can use a tile cutter, but when dealing with the unglazed tiles often used as flooring, a wet saw will be necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiles
  • Single rail ceramic tile cutter
  • Wet saw
  • Clay tiles

Glazed Tile

  • Mark a cutting line across the surface of the tile where you intend to make your cut.

  • Place the glazed clay ceramic tile onto the tile cutter with the marking on the tile lined up with the arrow on the cutter that points the way to the scoring wheel.

  • Move the guide piece on the cutter against the tile, securing the tile into place.

  • Place the scoring wheel on the edge of the tile that's furthest from you. Line the scoring wheel with the marked cutting line and pull the scoring wheel across the tile surface, applying an even, firm pressure throughout the cut. The scoring wheel should leave a deep scratch in the tile's surface along the marked cutting line.

  • Place the handle of the tile cutter at the top of the tile against the scored line and press firmly against the handle, breaking the tile at the scored mark.

Unglazed Tile

  • Mark a cutting line across the tile's surface for guiding the saw and place the unglazed clay tile onto the wet saw's tile platform with the mark in line with the saw blade.

  • Start the water running down the saw blade and wet the surface of the tile. The water will cool the blade as it cuts through the tile, preventing either the blade or the tile from breaking when making the cut.

  • Move the tile beneath the wet saw masonry blade, cutting through the tile. Keep the water running along the blade during the entire cutting process.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can rent a tile cutter or wet saw from a home improvement store or equipment rental shop.
  • Tiles may fracture or splinter during the cutting process, so wear protective gloves and goggles for safety.

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