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How to Use Tile-Cutting Tools

Learn the basics about tileworking tools and their functions.

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use tile nippers to cut tiles for small places

Step 1: Use Tile Nippers for Cutting Corners and Shaping Tile

Use tile nippers to remove small pieces of tile one bit at a time. This tool is useful for shaping tile around faucets and for cutting off corners.

use tile nippers to cut tiles for small places

Step 2: Use a Tile File to Smooth Rough Edges

A tile file is a strong sanding tool used to smooth the rough edges of a piece of tile after it's been cut.

a file is used to smooth rough edges of cut tile

Step 3: Use a Tile Cutter to Make Smaller Pieces

A tile cutter (Image 1) cuts through tile in two steps: First, its round blade is pushed across the tile to score a line where the tile is to be cut (Image 2). Then the foot to the back of the blade is clamped down onto the tile to cut through the scored line (Image 3).

Step 4: Use a Coping Saw to Cut Through Softer Tile

A coping saw with a rod blade can be used to cut through softer tile, such as Mexican tile. Because the coping saw cuts in small strokes, it's especially handy for cutting irregular shapes.

Step 5: Use a Carbide-Tipped Masonry Bit to Drill Through Tile

To drill through tile, use a carbide-tipped bit or a masonry bit. To protect the tile when drilling, place a tiny ball of plumbers' putty on the spot where you want to drill. Use an eyedropper to apply a small drop of water to the center of the putty ball. The wet putty acts as a shield for the rest of the tile as you drill the hole.

drilling a hole in tile requires special attention

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