Cutting Porcelain Tile by Hand

What You'll Need
Porcelain tiles
Manual tile cutter
Grease pencil
Spray lubricant
Soft cloth
Safety goggles
Dust mask

Cutting porcelain tile is necessary to make it fit in certain areas. Usually, tiles that fall in corners and along edges need to be trimmed to enable them fit in place properly. Although porcelain tile is extremely dense, choosing the right tools enables you to do a good job. For small projects that involve straight lines, a manual tile cutter can help you cut properly. This allows you to complete your tiled installations yourself which helps to keep costs down. Below are the steps outlined on how to cut porcelain tiles by hand.

Step 1 – Set up your Workstation

Identify a spacious site that can accommodate your equipment and materials. It should contain a flat work surface or table to lay out the tiles. It should also allow you to move freely. You can obtain a manual tile cutter from a home improvement store. Be sure to wear safety goggles before you cut. This will protect your eyes from tiny fragments of porcelain. It is also a good idea to wear a dust mask to prevent inhalation of dust and debris.

Step 2 – Mark the Tiles

Lay the tiles on the work surface and spread them out. Position them such that the under side faces upwards. Mark the areas where you intend to cut on each of the tiles with a pencil. Use a ruler to help you draw straight lines that will guide you as you cut. When properly marked, it allows you to cut the tiles more accurately and efficiently.

Step 3 – Position Tile on the Cutter

Move the handle of the cutter aside so that you can place the tile onto the machine. Secure the tile against the tile stop. This will keep it firmly positioned when you make the cuts. It also facilitates accuracy and helps you do a neat job.

Step 4 – Cutting the Tile

Gently push the cutter handle over the tile to score the tile on the surface. The indentation created serves as the initial point for you to begin your cuts. You only need to score the tile once before you proceed to complete the cut. Apply moderate pressure onto the cutter as you press into the tile. Keep up the pressure until you complete the cut. Be careful not to apply too much pressure when you operate the cutter. Excessive force will cause the tile to crack. Once you complete cuts on each tile, lay the tile aside and proceed to cut another.

Step 5 – Clean the Cutter

Spray lubricant onto the cutter. Wipe away dirt and fine debris with a clean, soft cloth. Keep the machine in a safe place. Clear the worksite and install the cut tiles where necessary. You may want to practice on a few tiles before you make your actual cuts. This will help you pick the proper technique so that you do not ruin too many tiles.