Cutting Ceramic Tile: How to Cut Tile into Different Shapes

What You'll Need
Tape measure
Wet saw
Tile nippers
Tile saw
Wax pencil

When it comes to cutting ceramic tile, you cannot always simply make a straight cut all the way across. Sometimes, you will find that you need to make an irregular cut at some point. Making different cuts on ceramic tile takes some patience, so you do not break the tile into pieces during the process. Here are the basics of how to cut tile into different shapes.

Step 1 - Measuring

When you need to fit a tile into a gap on the floor, get your tape measure and find the dimensions of the gap. If you are making a straight cut, you should simply be able to transfer those measurements onto the piece of tile and mark it with your wax pencil. If you are making an irregular shaped cut, hold the tile up to the area and draw the cut on the front of the tile. This will give you a guideline to use when you are making the cut.

Step 2 - Straight Cuts

The most common type of cut with tile is a straight cut all the way across the surface. For this type of cut, you can simply use a wet saw or a handheld tile saw. Cut the tile all the way across and then you can set the piece into its place.

Step 3 - Straight Corners

In many cases, you will need to cut out a corner out of the tile to make it fit around a wall. If this is the case, use a handheld tile saw for the process. Get your tape measure and determine how much of the tile you will need to cut out of the corner. Transfer those measurements onto the tile and mark the outline of the cut with your pencil. Then, use your handheld tile saw to make the longest cut first. Finish it off by making the second cut.

Step 4 - Making Template

If you have to make curved cuts or irregular cuts, you will first want to make a template. To do this, get a piece of cardboard and lay it near the obstruction. Use some scissors to cut the cardboard to the exact shape that you need cut. Then you can use this piece of cardboard as a template to help you make your cut on the tile. You can transfer the exact shape from the template to the tile by marking on the tile with a marker or wax pencil.

Step 5 - Curved Corners

If you have to make a curved corner in your tile, this is possible by using a tile saw and tile nippers. Draw the outline of the cut that you need to make on the front of the tile. Then, cut the majority of the excess tile out with your tile saw. At that point, you can use the tile nippers to break off small pieces of tile until the curve is formed. 

Step 6 - Irregular Shapes

If you need to make an irregular cut in the tile, trace the outline of it on the front of your tile with the wax pencil. Then you can cut off any excess with the tile saw. Finish creating the shape that you need with the tile nippers.