When it comes to cutting tiles, the best tool of choice is definitely the wet saw. It makes a clean cut because of the hardness of its blade but not all of us have the luxury to afford the wet saw. A good tile saw can save lots of your time.
There are other tools available that will do the tile cutting without breaking your bank. A glass cutter, manual tile snipper, rotary tile cutter, angle grinder, and tile scribes are a few of the tools which are able to cut tiles in a cost-efficient way.
In some cases, some of these tools can be faster and more efficient than the more expensive wet saw. In this article, we will learn about the alternatives to a wet saw for cutting tiles.
Safety measures before you proceed with the cut
You must adhere to the following safety measures before you proceed with cutting using any of the above-mentioned tools:
- Always remember to wear protective clothing and other safety gear to prevent fatal injuries. Wear gloves and goggles to protect hands and eye injuries.
- Remember to stay focused while you are cutting with these tools. A single second of distraction can cause serious accidents.
Using a glass cutter
The glass cutter is perhaps the cheapest and most popular alternative to the wet saw. It is cheap, fast, effective, and widely available. Before proceeding with the cut, make sure you have the following things handy:
- A temporary marker pen
- Damp cloth
- Protective gears; i.e: gloves and goggles.
- Any kind of smoothening tool
Step-1: Gearing up
The first step is to wear your protective clothing and gears. Cutting tiles will create lots of debris and you won’t want them to get into your eyes and cause damage. Googles will prevent your eyes from getting damaged while the proper gloves will protect your hands from getting accidentally cut. Any sort of fabric gloves will do the job just fine.
Step-2: Making marks on the tile
Take a temporary marker pen and draw a line in your tile to mark where the cut will be made. Mark these lines carefully for an accurate line. For precise lines, you may use a square ruler. But if you cannot draw an accurate line, you can always remove them as the lines are not permanent.
Now that you are all set and marked the tiles for the cut, it’s time to make a partial/guiding cut on the tile surface. This action is called scoring the tile. You have to score the tile along the markings that you made with a temporary marker.
Hold the cutter with a firm grip and drag it along the marked line for a partial cut. Be very mindful while doing this step as the slightest mistake will waste the tile.
Step-4: Putting a wire through the partial cut
Follow this step very carefully as it is really crucial. Take a wire which is as long or longer than the cutting line and place it in the partial cut or the scored line. (check out this article: Simple & Easy Rock cutting Guide using tile saw.)
Step-5: Snapping the tile
Now, comes the most satisfying part of snapping the tiles. Put the tile on a solid surface, strong enough to withstand the breaking or snapping force. Now, put pressure on the tile from both sides until it snaps.
Don’t forget to wear the fabrics gloves before this step. Without the gloves, the splinters from the snap can cause fatal cuts. If the applied force didn’t snap your tiles, it means the scoring lines were not deep enough.
If this happens, you have to go back to step 3 and score again using the glass cutter.
Step-6: finishing it up
The final step is to give the rough edges a smooth finish with appropriate smoothening tools. You can use a robbing stone or concrete slab to smooth or sand the edges. (Learn here Different Ways to Cut Glass Tiles.)
Using an angle grinder
An angle grinder is another possible alternative to a wet saw when it comes to cutting tiles. It is used to make angular cuts like L-shaped, square, circle and straight cuts. If your cut involves lots of shapes, curves, and angles, this is the right tool for you.
Step-1: Marking the shape on the tile
The first step is to draw your desired shape on both sides of your tile with a marker or a pencil.
Step-2: Feeding the tile into the angle grinder
After you are done with drawing the shape on both sides of your tile, you must slowly start to feed the tile on the angle grinder.
Remember not to put too much pressure while feeding the tile to the grinder. For an accurate cut, keep turning the tiles after few small cuts. This process will help you maintain control over the cutting process.
Step-3: Smoothening the edges
Once you are finished with the cut, smoothen the rough edges with sanding tools.
Using a tile cutter
A manual tile cutter is a cheap alternative to a wet saw. It offers more control to the user while making the cut.
Step-1: Adjusting the guide of the tile cutter
Before proceeding with a cut, the first thing that is needed to be done is to adjust the guide of the tile cutter according to the tile. This step is crucial as it fixes the tile properly with the tile cutter.
Step-2: Marking and scoring
Once the tile is attached to the tile cutter properly, it’s time to score the tile. First, mark a cutting line using a washable marker or pencil. Then position the tile cutter on the edge of the tile then drag the tile cutter. Once the whole tile is scored, press down firmly on both sides of the tile to snap it into pieces.
Using a wet wheel
Wet wheel is a cutting tool that has diamond attached to its blade. Wet wheels are mainly used to cut through really hard materials. Its diamond-edged blades ensure clean cuts every time.
Wet wheel machines are mainly of two kinds; one is the wet wheel and the other is the diamond-edged tile cutter. Below is a step-by-step instruction on how to cut tiles using a wet wheel.
Step-1: Placing support under the tile
First, put any kind of solid support underneath the tile so it does not break off in the middle of the process. You can use a plywood piece to support the tile.
Step-2: Making the cut
Now, guide the tile gently along the wheel to make the cut. You must keep adjusting the edges of your tile until the tile is completely cut. Don’t use excessive force when cutting using a wet wheel because the extra sharp wheel will shatter the tile.
Using a drill bit
Drill bits are unusual but quite effective when it comes to cutting tiles. Drill bits are mainly used to drill screw holes in tiles. You can use different-sized drill bits for smaller or bigger holes in your tiles. Below is a step-by-step guide showing how to drill holes in your tiles using drill bits.
First, mark the place where you want to drill a hole in your tile using either a pencil or a temporary marker.
Step-2: Fix the tile into place
Fix the tile into place so it does not slip and wastes the tile.
Step-3: Drill slowly
You have to drill slowly into your tile while using a drill bit. Make slow and repeated drills in order to avoid overheating.
Using a carbide-tipped pen
Another popular and economical alternative to the wet saw is a carbon-tipped pen. As the name suggests, this pen has a carbide tip. Now, let’s look at a step-by-step process of cutting tiles with the help of a carbide-tipped pen.
Step-1: Marking the tile
The first step is to draw a straight line in your tile. This line will indicate where you will make the cut. You can use a ruler or a square to draw a flawless straight line.
Now, you have to score on top of the marked line using the carbide-tipped pen.
After you have scored the line on your tile, snap the tile by pressing it from both sides. It’s recommended that clippers should be used to make a cleaner cut.
Even though the wet saw is the most popular option when it comes to cutting tiles, it is not possible for everyone to get their hands on this tool due to many factors. The cost of the wet saw is one of the major factors why most of us cannot afford it.
This is why we have looked upon these amazingly cheap yet equally effective tools which can do the job of cutting tiles as well as a wet saw without breaking the bank. (There is a lot of harm if you don't know the perfect size of the tile saw your going to buy.)
Hopefully, after going through this write-up you will find some economical alternatives to the wet saw. Stay in touch with us for more information on different kinds of manual or power tools.