a large tile being cut and snapped in a manual tile cutter

Tile Cutter

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 3/10/2021

Taking on a new tiling project can be both rewarding and intimidating for even the most experienced DIYers. That’s because there can be a lot of uncertainties when you’re getting started. For example, when you purchase tiles, they typically come precut and ready to install. However, there are situations where you may be required to trim tiles down to size or cut them into the shapes you need. Luckily, there is a fairly cheap and easy solution that should work for most tiling jobs - the snap tile cutter.

Definition

A tile cutter, which is sometimes referred to by its longer name, the tile snap cutter, is a tool used for cutting tiles to the proper size. Much like a glass cutter, the tool consists of a carbide wheel that moves along the surface of the tile, scoring it and creating a groove in a straight line. The tile is then snapped off at the groove, either by hand or with a clamp like tool. Tile cutters can come in different sizes and can be adjusted to work with a range of tile sizes and materials. They are often used in combination with wet saws for larger projects, such as floors, and for difficult areas that require tricky cuts.

What Is The Best Use For A Tile Cutter?

A tile cutter is a great tool for the right job. But they do have their limitations, which you should consider before starting your next project. If you’re going to be working in larger areas or with bigger tiles, you may want to think about acquiring additional tools to assist with cutting the tiles properly:

  • A tile snap cutter is ideal when working on smaller projects, such as kitchens or bathrooms. But larger projects may require the use of a wet saw to improve accuracy and reduce excessive labor.
  • A tile cutter can only produce straight cuts, which makes it ineffective for cutting other shapes. If you need to make rounded cuts or notches, you may need to invest in additional tools and saws.
  • As well, a snap cutter can leave the tile’s edges uneven, so the cut tiles should be placed along the bottom edge of the wall where they can be hidden by baseboards. If you’re looking to make near-perfect cuts, a wet saw is probably a better choice.
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