If you do not have a manual tile cutter, it is possible to score tiles, nonetheless, and eventually cut them. Alternative methods for scoring tile include using a:

  • Tile Scriber or carbide-tipped pencil
  • Handheld Tile Cutter
  • Glass Cutter
  • Angle Grinder or rotary tool

Cutting Tiles without a Tile Cutter

Can a tile be cut without a tile cutter? It most certainly can! A carbide-tipped pencil can be used or a glass cutter. Follow this step-by-step guide.

 A carbide-tipped pencil can be used or a glass cutter

How to Score and Snap Tile without a Tile Cutter

To cut a tile by hand, you can use a tile scriber, a pencil with a carbide tip, or a glass cutter.

Necessary Tools

  • Tile scriber, carbide-tipped pencil, or glass cutter
  • Erasable marker or pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Measuring tool

Step 1: Measure

Measure the tile’s glazed side to identify where the cut must be made.

Step 2: Marking

Using a straight edge, mark the tile with a pencil or erasable marker for the cut you plan on making.

Step 3: Score the tile

Position the scriber or carbide-tipped pencil at the beginning of your marked line. Press down gently and firmly on the tile at both the beginning and end of the line creating a score at both ends.

Score the entire line you have marked using a carpenter square to guide by running the scriber along with the tile. If using a pencil, you may need to repeat the scoring.

Score the entire line you have marked using a carpenter square to guide by running the scriber along with the tile

Step 4: Cut the tile

The scored line should be on the glazed side of the tile and this side should face upwards. The tile should be positioned in such a way that a part of the tile is partially extended over the work surface’s edge.

The piece you plan to use should be flat on the table surface. The piece you do not want to use should be extended over the work surface’s edge along the scored line. Press downward firmly on the overhanging piece, it should snap off easily along the scored line leaving a clean break.

Step 5: Smooth

The tile edge can be smoothed with a file or sanding stone.

This method can be used to score ceramic tile as carbon-tipped instruments will score any type of tile glaze.

Using a Handheld Tile Cutter – How to Score and Cut Tile

Necessary Tools

  • Handheld Tile Cutter
  • Erasable marker or pencil
  • Safety glasses

Step 1: Measure

Measure the tile to identify where the cut should be made.

Step 2: Marking

Using a straight edge, mark the tile with a pencil or erasable marker for the cut you plan on making. You can use a carpenter square for accuracy.

Step 3: Score the tile

Handheld tile cutters have a small wheel. Using the wheel, run it along the line you have marked to score the tile using gentle pressure. Score the edges, both the beginning and end edges of your line.

Step 4: Cut the tile

Once you have scored your tile, place the edge of the tile with the scored line in the handheld tile cutter and press firmly.

Using one hand, hold one side of the tile and squeeze together the handles of the tile cutter with the other hand. The scored tile should snap easily into two pieces along the scored line.

Step 5: Smooth

The tile edge can be smoothed with a file or sanding stone.

Using an Angle Grinder or Rotary Tool – How to Score and Cut Tiles

Angle grinders and rotary tools are not only used for sanding or polishing, but for cutting as well. If you use a diamond blade, you will be able to cut shapes, curves, circular designs, squares, and more.

Necessary Tools

  • Tile
  • Angle grinder or rotary blade
  • Diamond blade
  • Erasable marker or pencil
  • Clamp preferably with rubber to protect tiles
  • Safety glasses
  • Dust mask

Step 1: Measuring

Measure the tile to establish where you wish to cut.

Design the shape of the cut with an erasable marker

Step 2: Mark

Design the shape of the cut with an erasable marker or pencil on the glazed side of the tile.

Step 3: Position the Tile

Using a clamp, secure the tile face up onto the work surface.

Step 4: Score the Tile

Wear a dust mask. Wear safety glasses. Plug in and turn the angle grinder on to begin. Place it on the tile and pull it along the marked line to score the tile.

Step 5: Cut the Tile

Continue making deeper cuts along the scored line until you have cut through the tile.

Cutting Ceramic Tile Without a Manual Tile Cutter

Necessary Tools

  • Glass Cutter
  • Erasable marker or pencil
  • Wire clothes hanger
  • Tile
  • Safety glasses

Step 1: Measuring

Measure the tile to establish where you wish to cut.

Step 2: Mark

Using an erasable marker or a pencil, mark the cut on the glazed side of the tile.

Step 3: Position the Tile

Place the tile face up onto the work surface.

Step 4: Score the Tile

Wear safety glasses. Begin scoring the tile with a glasscutter along your cut line.

Step 5: Cut the Tile

Place the wire clothes hanger on the work surface. Place the tile on top of the wire hanger. It should be centered and lined up with the score mark. Press down on both sides of the scored tile. Now pressing gently, the tile should break along with your previously scored line.

Step 5: Smooth

The tile edge can be smoothed with a file or sanding stone.

A Final Thought

There are many reasons to use one of these methods. The project you’re doing may only require a few tiles, or you may not want or need to make a long-term economic investment by buying or even renting specific tile cutting equipment. Whatever your reasons, and whatever your needs, these methods can help you get the job done without great expense.

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